Target setting

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Target setting

Setting rigorous carbon reduction targets is a crucial step on the journey to a decarbonised future and shows you are prepared to take strong climate action. We are a global leader in helping organisations set goals aligned with the internationally recognised Science Based Targets initiative. 


A carbon reduction target establishes a framework for climate action and allows your organisation to report quantified progress towards reducing your emissions and meeting your goals. We follow standardised methodologies to provide structure and credibility to your carbon reduction targets, so you can communicate your climate ambition and advance your action.  

The benefits 

  • Credibility and reputation. Following a robust target setting approach is a prerequisite for leading climate action.  
  • Engage internal and external stakeholders. Create 'buy-in’ with your stakeholders, so your organisation can achieve its targets. 
  • Drive innovation and improve financial standing. Quantified pathways to emissions reduction will drive innovation and shape your long-term organisational strategy. 
  • Build resilience against market turbulence and regulation. Reducing emissions in line with robust targets reduces exposure to future carbon emissions-related risks and regulation, including energy price shocks.  

How we can help   

Our team of independent experts will help your organisation set robust carbon reduction targets in line with the latest climate science, meeting organisational needs and raising the ambition to align with Net Zero. 

Specific areas where we offer expertise include: 


We help you meet the requirements of the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) and tailor our approach to meet your specific business needs. We have helped more than 200 companies, across sectors including food and drink, transport, retail, utilities, manufacturing, finance, and real estate, set science-based targets and are members of the Technical Advisory Group of the SBTi. 

Our experts will guide you through the process, including:  

  • Engaging with stakeholders to ensure buy-in across the organisation. 
  • Completing Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon footprints. 
  • Advising on the requirements of Net Zero targets. 
  • Modelling carbon reduction targets across Scope 1, 2 and 3, using methodologies such as the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach or the Absolute Contraction Approach for near- and long-term targets. 
  • Developing an implementation plan to assess target feasibility for Scope 1, 2 and 3.  
  • Supporting you with your target submission to the SBTi. 

What is a science-based target?

Targets are considered science-based if they align with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement: to limit global warming to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5C. 

To reach Net Zero emissions by no later than 2050, we need to see emissions reductions on a massive scale in the near-term aligned to 1.5C, and a 90%* reduction in the long-term.

Leading this area globally is the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a partnership of organisations that supports companies to set targets using different methodologies, and then validates those targets. 

Science-based targets have become the globally accepted standard for companies setting carbon reduction targets in both the near- and long-term. They help build your brand reputation, drive ambitious climate action and offer greater engagement. 

*Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA) pathways may vary.

Learn more about science-based targets

Cities and regions

For over 20 years, cities, regions and public bodies have partnered with us to set carbon reduction targets. We help organisations gain internal ‘buy-in’ and momentum through stakeholder engagement, define carbon emission baselines and model robust target pathways.  

Using best practice approaches, we establish credible carbon reduction targets and carbon budgets for both organisational and area-wide decarbonisation. Whether these targets align with the SBTi’s Net Zero criteria, or go further and faster, we help you through the necessary steps to establish a robust and appropriate carbon reduction target. 

Financial institutions

As intermediaries, financial institutions play a key role in steering corporates towards Net Zero. The SBTi framework for financial institutions allows them to set science-based targets that track alignment of lending and investment portfolios with the Paris Agreement and facilitates engagement with corporates. 

We help financial institutions throughout the target-setting process, from the high-level commitment stage to setting ambitious and achievable goals, including feasibility assessment and implementation support.

Why the Carbon Trust?   

We are a global leader in helping organisations to set decarbonisation targets. We have worked in this area with more than 200 companies worldwide across sectors, including food and drink, transport, retail, utilities, manufacturing, finance and real estate. We are also members of the Technical Advisory Group of the SBTi. 


View our end-to-end service offering for climate action and Net Zero transition planning