This evolving field of SBTi is full of terms and acronyms that can be off-putting to the casual reader. We decided to put together a (hopefully) helpful list of terms and explanations that will help you make sense of it all.
Let us know if we’ve left anything out – this list is going to keep on evolving over time. 

1.5°C of warmingAccording to the latest climate science, global temperature increase needs to be capped at 1.5°C of warming above pre-industrial levels to ensure a climate-safe future.
AbatementActions that a company takes to prevent, reduce, or eliminate GHG emissions within their value chain.
AnthropogenicAn action derived from human activity, often used in the context of human-caused pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change.
Beyond value chain mitigationMitigation measures or investments that occur outside a company’s value chain. This includes actions outside a company’s value chain that reduce, avoid, or remove and store greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
Carbon neutralIn general, carbon neutrality is the claim by companies that they are counterbalancing CO2 emissions (not all GHGs) with carbon offsets without having reduced emissions to align with a 1.5°C future or net-zero. Carbon neutrality and net-zero are often used interchangeably but they do not have the same meaning.
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR)According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): “anthropogenic activities removing CO2 from the atmosphere and durably storing it in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products”. The removals are either nature-based, geological or hybrid.
Carbon sinkA process or mechanism (usually in nature) in which GHGs are removed from the atmosphere and stored.
DecarbonisationThe process in which carbon emissions from electricity, industry and transport are reduced or ‘abated’.
Greenhouse gases (GHGs)Atmospheric gases that absorb and emit radiation/ heat and typically include the following gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCS), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
GHG inventoriesGHG inventories is a quantified list of a company’s GHG emissions using pre-defined emission sources. Typically, this includes information on Scopes 1, 2 and 3.
Long-term science-based targetsAccording to the SBTi: “GHG reduction targets that are in line with what the latest climate science deems is necessary to reach net-zero at the global or sector level in 1.5°C pathways before 2050.”
MitigationHuman-led actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or improve the sinks of greenhouse gases.
Near-term science-based targetsNear-term targets set out how quickly and by how much companies aim to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the next five to ten years to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures.
Net-zeroA state of balance between anthropogenic emissions and anthropogenic removals. Net-zero CO2 emissions and net-zero GHG emissions differ whereby the latter also includes non-CO2 GHGs.
According to the SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard, companies should set ambitious short-term and long-term targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which should equate to halving their emissions by around 2030 and abating approximately 90% of their emissions before 2050. The emissions that cannot be removed shall be neutralized to achieve net-zero by 2050.
NeutralisationAs defined by the SBTi: “Measures that companies take to remove carbon from the atmosphere and permanently store it to counterbalance the impact of emissions that remain unabated.”
Offsets/ carbon creditsA reduction in GHG emissions or an increase in carbon storage that occurs beyond a company’s value chain. As defined by Schneider et al. 2020: “An emissions unit that is issued by a carbon crediting program and represents an emission reduction or removal of greenhouse gases. Carbon credits are uniquely serialized, issued, tracked, and cancelled by means of an electronic registry.”
Paris AgreementThe Paris Agreement is an international treaty on climate change that was adopted in 2015. Importantly, it sets out the aim to pursue all efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C that underpins the goals of the SBTi.
Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi)The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The SBTi focuses on corporate-led climate ambition through the mechanism of setting ambitious emission reduction targets in line with the latest climate science.
Science-based targetsScience-based targets are emission reduction targets that specify how much and how quickly companies aim to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to align with the latest climate science (capping warming at 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures), as set out in the Paris Agreement.

Scope 1
Direct emissions that are from sources that are owned or controlled by a company.

Scope 2
Emissions from purchased electricity, heat and steam that is used in company operations.

Scope 3
Indirect emissions that are a result of the operations of a company but are from sources not owned or controlled by the company e.g., activities of suppliers and customers.
Value chain emissionsDepending on the context, this can mean a company’s Scope 3 emissions, although the typical usage of the term includes a company’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.