The Science Based Targets initiative, created by some of the most potent and committed NGOs in the world along with the United Nations Global Compact, can be an incredibly powerful force for carbon reduction once enough companies sign on.

In his excellent blog for The Conference Board, Dr. Uwe G. Schulte laid out the simple steps for setting Science Based Carbon Targets (SBTs).

  • First, the company must complete a commitment letter
  • Next, it must develop a target
  • Third, that target must be submitted for validation
  • Finally, once accepted, the target must be announced

Items 1 and 4 are not exactly challenging. Write a letter, submit it and publicize your commitment. Yawn. Any large corporation can do that without breaking a sweat. Item 3 is also something companies are good at: a goal is laid out and they set the machinery in motion to achieve it.

No, it is the second step that many companies find so vexing, so irritating, so downright bothersome that they throw up their hands and say, “What a pain in the neck. Forget this.”

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But is that the wise choice? Dr. Schulte lays out the pros and cons approximately this way:

Pros:  The targets will be independently approved; they will have a positive effect on stakeholders, NGOs and investors; and they will make it much easier to have the internal discussion about the right targets.

Cons:  The target-setting method is complex and companies have had numerous problems identifying the correct data; and the process requires considerable time and resources.

But what if the hard part were removed? What if setting a target were actually easy, could be done, say, 95% faster than with traditional approaches — would that change the equation here? You bet it would!

Our Science Based Target Setting & Tracking Tool — it’s a mouthful, but a tasty one! — was designed for exactly this purpose. Because the ‘hard part’ should be achieving the targets, not setting them. The Valutus tool saves you time and money, and, most importantly, makes it far more likely your organization will be willing to set SBTs. Here’s a brief video that takes you through the tool’s various capabilities.

Here are some other things it does — instantly and comprehensively — that streamline and enrich your goal-setting process.

  • The tool enables you to visualize both individual and cumulative effects of carbon reduction initiatives, graphically displaying the “wedges” created. This makes it easy for everyone to see and understand how your plans compare to what is actually required
  • It also makes building support for the targets much easier, by displaying both the current and the required emissions trajectories graphically, and enabling instant modifications and visualizations 
  • It’s completely interactive and lends itself to the what if? questions, such as, What if we used intensity targets instead of absolutes? Or, What would happen if we started in 2022 instead of 2020? How about if we wanted to set a 2030 goal, or a 2025 one?

Answering these questions usually consumes a great deal of valuable time, but with the Valutus tool, you have the answers the moment you ask them.

Tracking and updating is also greatly simplified. Once your targets are set, you then have to track progress and actual emissions. It takes time, year after year, to manually enter the actuals, recalculate both your current trajectory and the one required to meet the goal, and to create fresh visuals to illustrate your progress. With the Valutus tool, however, none of that is necessary. Simply enter one number each year and the rest happens automatically — and instantly.

We believe companies can best serve the world, and their own long-term interests, by committing to deep carbon reductions, and the SBTs are tailor-made for this purpose.

Overcoming some of the barriers — notably time and money — will help accelerate this critical activity.