SBTi to enable automakers to verify climate targets in line with 1.5C

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has released updated guidance on how the automotive sector can set credible climate targets in line with 1.5C, with a specific focus on the emissions generated during driving.

SBTi to enable automakers to verify climate targets in line with 1.5C

Tailpipe emissions account for 75% of the road transport sector’s emissions by the SBTi’s estimates. Given that its verification of near-term 1.5C-aligned targets requires companies to meaningfully reduce their absolute Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, OEMs require specific guidance, hence this week’s change, which ends a temporary pause on the validation of targets from automakers.

The SBTi has confirmed that companies wishing to align with its forthcoming target-setting standard for the automotive sector will need to pledge to end petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2035 in developed nations and by 2040 globally.

Several nations have already set bans on new petrol and diesel car and van sales, like the UK, while others such as the US are taking a more moderate approach by setting milestones for the proportion of new sales accounted for by electric models and tightening emissions mandates.

Firms will also need to improve their measurement of emissions from the use-phase of sold vehicles and will likely need to set specific goals to reduce them.

SBTi co-founder Alberto Carrillo Pineda said: “As a major emitter of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, automakers hold a pivotal role in driving the transformation to a net-zero economy and cleaning up the air in our cities… our updated Land Transport Guidance reflects the scientific imperative for this critical transformation.”

The initiative has described the update as “minor” and as necessary to “harmonise” forthcoming sector-specific guidance with its general criteria.

A specific standard for the automotive sector is under development and initial drafts will be open for public consultation later this calendar year.

Businesses are being encouraged to validate their targets before the Standard comes out, with assurances that they will continue to be valid for five years.

The news from the SBTi comes days after it unveiled what it described as “minor” updates to is Corporate Net-Zero Standard, providing clarity on the scope of the Standard and how businesses can certify.

The Standard launched in 2021 and requires businesses to commit to reducing absolute emissions across all scopes by at least 90% by 2050 or sooner.

Electric vehicle marketing

In related news, Volkswagen Group UK was this month ordered to stop running an advertising campaign which may have exaggerated how rapidly one of its electric car models – the Audi Q8 e-tron – can be charged.

The campaign first aired on TV streaming service ITVX in 2023. It stated that the vehicles can “charge in approximately 31 minutes” using ultra-rapid chargers at UK-based service stations.

Viewers were also made aware of the vehicle’s maximum range of 330 miles.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled that viewers would likely be mislead in believing that they could add 330 miles of range to their vehicle’s batteries within 31 minutes even if charging at home, using a less rapid charger.

“We considered that the overall message of the ad was rendered ambiguous and concluded, therefore, that it was likely to mislead,” the ASA said in a statement.

Comments (1)

  1. Andrew Brown says:

    Well done ASA. When will car makers especially Volkswagen stop this type of advertising. The same goes for subtly implying that you need the most powerful and thus environmentally bad EVs when most people in the world will go electric when they are affordable and sufficiently powered for modern day driving

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie