Net Zero and Science-Based Targets


The Paris Agreement target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the UK and European Green Deals call for a deep decarbonisation of economic activities. If humankind wants to limit global warming at 1.5 °C, the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere must be reined in, and fast.

There is no commonly agreed definition of net zero. Oxford Languages puts it as ‘a target of completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, to be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.’ That is to say, if you are serious about net zero, then you need a Science-based Target (SBT).

SBTs provide companies with a clearly defined path to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals. More than 2,000 businesses around the world are already working with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

There is some debate as to whether businesses should be legally required to set SBTs. With more than 90% of global GDP now covered by net zero targets set nationally or regionally, such a requirement may not be so far away.

Commiting to science-based targets (SBTi)

A step by step process

Science Based Target Initiative submission

Since 2015 more than 1,000 companies have joined the initiative to set a science-based climate target. In 16 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), at least 20% of companies that have a high impact on global emissions are now part of the SBTi.

Having developed science-based targets for other clients using the SBTi framework and methodology, Alfa Energy knows how tough it can be to meet the requirements of the verification process. We can help you to not only meet the initial requirements for verification, but also carry out the on-going annual disclosure which ensures stakeholders are aware of the progress that your company is making towards its net zero target.

Working recently with The Carey Group, we drew on knowledge of the GHG Protocol to help the company complete the SBTi target verification process.

Specifically, we worked with The Carey Group to:

  • Create an initial statement of intent to declare the company’s commitment to net zero.
  • Create the emission baseline following a methodology accepted by the SBTi.
  • Create a target that meets the requirements. We developed two emission reduction targets, one for scopes 1 + 2, and one for scope 3 which meet the criteria for verification.
  • Completed the full submission form and liaise with the SBTi on the verification process.
  • Support on communication of commitments to stakeholders, including incorporating progress into annual statements.

To learn more about how Alfa Energy worked with The Carey Group to establish a net zero strategy, please click here.

Click here to listen to our Resonance podcast episode where we talk to Anna Baker, Head of Sustainability at The Carey Group to hear about the group’s wider mission to embedding sustainability within the industry.

At Alfa Energy, we help companies to align to net zero and prepare for what is to come on a mandatory basis. To kick things off, we can help your company to gain external verification of its baseline emissions and methodology. To learn more, click here.

Alfa Energy Group

Alfa Energy Group, an Edison Energy company, is an international energy, sustainability and technology consultant partner with 250 employees over 3 international locations. For over 25 years, Alfa has been servicing its clients’ needs through energy and water management, sustainability, and compliance consulting, and an intuitive ecosystem of user-driven energy, water, and carbon management software platforms. With coveted awards, an international industry-wide recognition, and clever simple solutions, today Alfa is partnering with clients to establish and deliver pivotal net zero strategies. Through smart energy management, the expertise and diligence of its people, transparent processes, and data management, Alfa continues to lead through its recognised gold standard of service delivery.