Science Based targets Initiative update to the SME route – 1st November 2023

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a framework which promotes best practice in emission reduction and net-zero targets in line with the latest climate science. Since its establishment in 2015, over 1,000 companies have joined this global initiative.

Previously, the route for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) had less stringent requirements for target setting than the standard route, meaning organisations with less than 500 employees could pursue a streamlined option. However, the criteria for this SME route have now been adapted to increase the number of companies adopting the standard (non-streamlined) route, which will contribute to scaling up the impacts of SBTs globally.

As of 1st January 2024, the SBTi will consider a Small & Medium enterprise (SME), if all the following are true:

  • Have <10,000 tCO2e across scope 1 and location-based scope 2 emissions
  • Do not own or control maritime transport vessels
  • Do not own or control power generation assets
  •  Are not classified in the Financial Institution Sector or Oil & Gas Sector
  • Are not a subsidiary of a parent company whose combined businesses fall into the standard validation route

And two or more of the following must be true:

  • Employ <250 employees*
  • Turnover of <€40 million* (£34,676,200)
  • Total assets of <€20 million* (£17,335,947)
  • Are not in a mandatory Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) sector

*Aligned to the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) SME criteria

The fees for SME SBTi validation will also increase from $1,000 to $1,250. These changes only affect companies looking to register through the SME targeted validation route for the first time or those wishing to resubmit targets as part of a recalculation.

If you would like to know more about the changes and how these may affect your company, or have any further questions around setting Science based targets, more information can be found either by contacting or the SBTi website here.

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