The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is expanding its capacity for target validation services and has confirmed it now holds charitable status as an organisation. This enables the initiative to accept donations, providing financial support for its efforts to accommodate the growing number of corporate organisations seeking standard-setting and target validation services.

As initiatives like the EU Green Claims Directive become a main part of the net zero narrative, businesses must increasingly back up their progress with science-based targets. From 2021 to 2022, SBTi-aligned climate pledges increased by 87%. From 2022 to 2023, these corporate commitments increased by 100% year-on-year.

For extra support, the SBTi applied for charitable status. It was confirmed and awarded by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, after separating with its founding partners – CDP, the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, and WWF) – though it will continue to work alongside them. The charitable status allows the SBTi to receive donations, such as those from the IKEA Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund, who contributed $36 million to the subsidiary. This funding can be directed towards supporting the mission of driving climate action.

Jessica Anderen, IKEA Foundation chief executive, said: “The SBTi’s transformation into an independent entity will strengthen the organization’s ability to drive ambitious corporate climate action. The IKEA Foundation is proud to support the SBTi and looks forward to seeing its contribution to rapid, deep, informed corporate decarbonisation.”

SBTi’s 2024 Agenda: Streamlined validation and sector-specific standards

The SBTi’s new subsidiary will help to expedite the validation process, building on the momentum of 2023’s 100% year-on-year increase in corporate commitments. Once an organisation declares its intent to establish SBTi-verified targets, they will have a 24-month window for completion.

With more pressure being put on organisations to comply with climate targets, the SBTi is also setting out a new series of reforms and priorities. The initiative aims to develop sector-specific standards for six key industries, namely oil and gas, electric utilities, automotive, chemicals, insurance, and apparel. The SBTi will trial a hybrid model for creating these standards, collaborating with external organisations to pool expertise.

The subsidiary will soon announce key personnel, including quality managers, and establish a Validation Council comprising external experts to ensure decision-making independence.

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