Science-Based Targets: A Key Tool of Our Decarbonization Strategy

July 25, 2023 EcoVadis EN

The latest climate science from the IPCC – described by the UN as “code red for humanity” – shows it is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, but we are dangerously close to the threshold. At EcoVadis, we believe that private sector action is crucial to preventing the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We are committed to doing our part to limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement. 

Within this context and driven by our purpose to “guide all companies toward a sustainable world”, we provide companies with the insights and support they need to accelerate their decarbonization journeys. We strive to lead by example and have set ambitious targets for our own operations and supply chain. Science-based targets are a key component of our strategy and we encourage the companies in our network to set their own targets aligned with the latest climate science.

Our Science-Based Targets

Scientists have emphasized the importance of rapid and deep decarbonization to halve global emissions before 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. To further this aim, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has developed the global standard for climate target setting. EcoVadis is proud to announce that SBTi recently approved our near-term science-based emission reduction targets in line with a 1.5°C trajectory. 

EcoVadis has committed to:

  • Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. 

  • Increase our annual sourcing of renewable electricity from 22% in 2019 to 100% by 2030. 

  • Reduce Scope 3 emissions by 55% per unit value added by 2030 from a 2019 base year. This includes emissions from purchased goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy-related activities, upstream transportation and distribution, waste generated in operations, business travel and employee commuting.
Learn more about the Science Based Targets initiative here.

Our Actions to Reduce Emissions

We’ve developed ambitious reduction plans in line with industry best practice to work toward our science-based targets. Here are some of our key emissions sources and the actions we’re taking to reduce them. 

Energy Consumption in Our Offices (Scope 2)

To reduce energy consumption in our offices, we conduct energy audits and raise awareness of energy-saving behavior among our employees. Additionally, we are working with our landlords and co-working providers to transition all of our offices to renewable energy as soon as possible. In 2022, we reduced emissions from energy consumption by 33% compared to 2019 and reached a 53% share of renewable energy use.

Purchased Goods and Services (Scope 3)

Purchased goods and services is our largest emissions category, representing 56% of total emissions in 2022. To reduce our supply chain emissions, we include GHG criteria in the RFP process – including mandatory carbon management assessment and GHG emissions disclosure – and support our suppliers in setting their own targets. By the end of 2022, 12% of our suppliers had set science-based targets. 

Business Travel (Scope 3)

Business travel is our second-largest emissions category, accounting for 24% of total emissions in 2022. We aim to reduce travel emissions by focusing on virtual collaboration and prioritizing trains over planes wherever possible. We have also established a carbon budget for each department to monitor and manage our travel emissions on a monthly basis. By the end of 2022, we reduced business travel emissions per employee by 34% compared to 2019.   

Employee Commuting (Scope 3)

Emissions from employee commuting represented 7% of our total emissions in 2022. We reduce our commuting emissions by promoting a hybrid work model and selecting office locations in cities with good public transport. By the end of 2022, we cut our commuting emissions per employee by 66% compared to 2019. 

Capital Goods (Scope 3)

Our capital goods, mainly IT equipment, represented 7% of total emissions in 2022. We aim to reduce those emissions by increasing the lifetime of our IT equipment from three to four years and purchasing refurbished products where possible. By the end of 2022, we reduced emissions from IT equipment per employee by 34% compared to 2019.

Emission Reporting
We calculate our annual Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in accordance with the GHG Protocol standards. Learn more about our GHG emissions calculations and reduction progress in our Sustainability Report.

What We’ve Learned on Our Target-Setting Journey

We’re still in the early stages of our decarbonization journey and are committed to continually improving our efforts. Throughout our target-setting and roadmap-building process, we’ve had significant learnings that we’d like to share with any company looking to take action. 

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of your GHG emissions.

As a first step, we calculated our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions using the GHG Protocol. Repeating this step over multiple years has enabled us to gain an in-depth understanding of our emission sources and areas with significant reduction potential. This process is crucial to developing ambitious yet achievable targets. 

  • Engage stakeholders and be ready to make significant changes to your approach.

Having our SBTi targets approved required us to make ambitious commitments that required making significant changes to the way we operate and manage our supply chain. This is why we engaged all stakeholders early on in the target-setting process. In our case, this meant involving internal stakeholders across a wide range of functions – from procurement to HR. Getting executive buy-in was a crucial part of the target-setting process, and we also consulted external stakeholders such as investors and suppliers. This high level of stakeholder engagement will facilitate the implementation of even more ambitious reduction actions in the future.

  • Embrace uncertainty and remain agile.

Along the way, we faced many uncertainties arising from imperfect data and an ever-changing sustainability landscape. Navigating these uncertainties has required us to remain agile and accept that we will have to revisit decisions, communicate transparently with all stakeholders and continually adapt our approach in light of new information.

While the road to developing our science-based targets and having them verified by the SBTi hasn’t always been easy, it’s helped us develop an effective roadmap for decarbonization. The process may seem daunting, but nearly 1,000 companies in our network have now set SBTi targets of their own, demonstrating to stakeholders that they are committed to taking a scientific and transparent approach to climate action. Have a look at SBTi’s valuable resources for more on how to get started. And if you’re looking to accelerate the decarbonization of your operations or supply chain, learn more about how our Carbon Action Module can help.

About the Author

EcoVadis EN

EcoVadis is a purpose-driven company whose mission is to provide the world's most trusted business sustainability ratings. Businesses of all sizes rely on EcoVadis’ expert intelligence and evidence-based ratings to manage risk and compliance, drive decarbonization, and improve the sustainability performance of their business and value chain. Its AI-powered risk mapping, actionable scorecards, benchmarks, carbon action tools, and insights guide a resilience and improvement journey for environmental, social and ethical practices across 200 industry categories and 175 countries.

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