Setting an Emissions Target

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can seem daunting, but there are time-tested and cost-effective strategies designed to help address this challenge.<br>

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can seem daunting, but there are time-tested and cost-effective strategies designed to help address this challenge.

There are innumerable ways to reduce or avoid emissions in your operations or supply chain and Project Gigaton is designed so that every supplier can participate, no matter what type of product you sell. The first step is setting a goal and you can do this via one of two ways:

  1. For suppliers just getting started on their emissions reduction journey, setting a target in one or more of six key areas – Energy, Waste, Packaging, Agriculture, Forests, or Product Use – might be the right place to start. Each of these pillars was chosen because of the meaningful and practical opportunities to prevent greenhouse gas emissions across many different supplier industries and products.
  2. For companies that have worked on sustainability for some time, or for those ready to progress towards a broad emissions reduction strategy, consider settings an emissions reduction target that captures your work across many areas.

According to a joint report published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), U.S. businesses that commit to annually cutting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can collectively reap as much as $190 billion in annual savings from reduced energy bills, increased productivity, and other associated benefits. Similar opportunity exists around the world.

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So, what type of emissions reduction goal(s) should your company set? While we encourage you to aim for an ambitious Science-Based Target, your goal should reflect the maturity of your company’s sustainability program.

For example, you could commit to:

  • Cut carbon intensity per revenue in half by 2030.
  • Achieve a 20 percent absolute reduction in emissions by 2030.
  • Achieve a science based target by reducing absolute emissions 35 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Again, these are just examples. You’ll need to determine the scope, timeline and type of goal that makes sense for your company and products.

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After joining Project Gigaton, you’ll be asked to report on your progress annually so the impact can be recognized and attributed toward the Project Gigaton target. The following are guides to help you set an emissions target, and calculate and report emissions saved annually:

  • Practical guidance on developing a program and setting an emissions target.
    As you consider your goal, make sure to check out the Project Gigaton Calculators, which may help you identify potential goal areas in each pillar and estimate the emissions impact of your work.

    Every company is in a different stage of the emissions reduction journey, and companies can set a target focused on your own operations or your supply chain. It’s often easiest to start by focusing targets on your own operations, then build toward a value chain goal. Your “own operations” includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (see figure below). Scope 3 includes your “value chain”.

    Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by your company such as factories, office buildings, and company-owned fleet vehicles.
    Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions resulting from the generation of purchased energy, primarily electricity.
    Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions resulting from upstream activities such as production of goods and services purchased by the company, as well as downstream activities such as consumer use and disposal of products sold by the company.

    Strategy frameworks such as the Carbon Productivity Portfolio can be useful when developing your company’s emissions reduction plans and goals. Organizations like Climate Corps Graduate Fellowship Program and many consulting firms offer professional and technical services to help you develop goals and expand your program.

    SusHub Emissions graphic
    Tools such as the Carbon Target and Profit Calculator can also be used to quickly estimate the potential value of goals for your company. Reviewing case studies can provide additional insights into how other companies think about goal setting and their implementation plans.

    While your goal should reflect the maturity of your company’s sustainability program and can take many forms and timelines, we encourage you to aim for an ambitious Science Based Target.

    Targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are considered “science-based” if they are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre- industrial temperatures, as described in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5).

    When it comes to setting Science Based Targets (SBT) there are several methods available to you. The method a company chooses to use depends on its particular circumstances. Find out more about the different methods here or even go straight to the complete SBT manual to begin setting your own SBT.

    Several organizations work with businesses in their efforts to build or improve emission reduction strategies. Some of these organizations include:

    Climate Disclosure
    WRI GHG Protocol Corporate Standard
    CDP
    EPA Center for Corporate Climate Leadership

    Strategy
    WWF
    EDF
    Science Based Targets

    Policy
    We Mean Business
    Low Carbon USA

    Video Primers
    3% Solution
    Low Carbon Lesson
    Science Based Targets
  • Are your goals SMART?
    Are your goal(s) SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time limited? Watch this video to learn how to set formal, specific goals that lead to substantially better returns.
  • How to calculate and report emissions saved.
    Each year, you’ll be asked to submit data points to Walmart based on the Project Gigaton pillars you’ve joined (Energy, Waste, Agriculture, etc.). For every pillar you report to, you’ll be asked to submit the impact of improvements you’ve achieved in the reporting year. There are three options for submitting data to Project Gigaton reporting:

    Option 1: For companies that need help calculating the greenhouse gas impact of their initiatives, let the Project Gigaton Calculators help! These calculators are available to help you report your progress during the annual Project Gigaton reporting period. They may also help you identify and estimate the emissions impact of future Project Gigaton goals.

    Option 2: If your company already reports to the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire each year, your disclosure can be leveraged to report emissions reductions to Project Gigaton. To report to Project Gigaton using your CDP disclosure, you must grant permission through your company’s Project Gigaton account for Walmart to use your CDP data and all CC4.3b fields must be completed in your CDP disclosure. If you haven’t received a request to disclose from CDP but would like to volunteer to do so, or have questions about disclosure, please contact respond@cdp.net.

    Option 3: For companies that do not use the Project Gigaton Calculators or report their emissions reductions to the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire each year, you can still report your already calculated aggregate greenhouse gas emissions reductions to Project Gigaton.

For additional questions about Project Gigaton, refer to our FAQs.

Need a deep dive into calculating emissions? Check out our Project Gigaton Accounting Methodology.

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