As of December 2023, 53 per cent of European companies and financial institutions have validated science-based targets, report finds.

According to the report from SBTi, 4,205 companies had science-based targets validated by SBTi by the end of 2023, an increase of 102 per cent compared to 2022 figures. The overall market capitalisation for companies in the global economy with science-based targets equated to 39 per cent by the end of 2023, up 2 per cent from the previous year.

These statistics represent 2,125 companies who set science-based targets for the first time in 2023, with 142 of the remainder updating their targets. This represents a steep upward trajectory. In 2020, just 546 companies had validated science-based targets, and the figure has roughly doubled year-on-year.

In terms of the geographical breakdown, Europe leads the way with 53 per cent of SBTi validated targets coming from countries within this region, followed by 27 per cent across Asia, and 14 per cent across North America.

Focussing in on specific countries, the UK, US and Japan have the highest numbers of companies with approved targets. Japan leads the way with 768 companies having validated targets by the end of 2023, followed by the UK with 693, and the US with 465. In terms of growth, India has experienced the largest uptake in science-based target commitments, with an increase of 214 per cent from 43 to 135 companies.

Taking a dive into the sectors and industries setting these targets, the services and manufacturing industries are leading the way. Overall, manufacturing and services industries saw 741 and 568 companies respectively setting targets in 2023, accounting for 58 per cent of all companies that year. Biotech, healthcare and pharma sectors have experienced the greatest proportion of year-on-year growth for target setting, while the materials industry slipped down the growth scale from first to eleventh place. 

Opinion: The importance of setting science-based targets

Science-based targets are a way for organisations to align their sustainability goals with the advice and research laid-out by climate scientists. For the most part, this means aligning your environmental targets with the Paris Agreement.

SMEs can benefit from setting these targets in multiple ways. Firstly, it sends the signal that you take net zero matters seriously and are committed to reducing your greenhouse gas emissions. Secondly, it gives your organisation a clear scientific climate goal which can help to inform more accurately on environmental strategy. Finally, it can improve your competitiveness. Climate-conscious organisations want climate-conscious partners in their supply chain. Having science-based targets is a clear indicator that you are striving for environmental progress.

Katie Pepper, Carbon & Sustainability Consultant



Are you interested in setting science-based targets for your organisation but don’t know where to start? Our Net Zero Toolkit guide gives a comprehensive overview of science-based targets, what they are, and how to accurately set them.


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