Why set SBTs?

Cities are the largest driver of environmental impact globally, with an estimated 57% of the global population already living in cities and this number is projected to rise to 68% by 2050. Both the direct and indirect impact of cities need to be aligned with Earth’s limits to ensure the stability and resilience of our planet, as well as human well-being.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework set a global goal of ‘halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.’ This goal, intertwined with the carbon neutrality/net-zero emissions objective, forms a ‘double compass’ guiding humanity towards a sustainable and secure future.

In this landscape, regions and cities are emerging as essential catalysts for change. These targets for cities are essential for guiding efforts in line with the Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries, released by the Earth Commission.

Currently, cities are confronted with many options for addressing negative environmental impacts, but guidance on how to choose among them is lacking. Application of existing frameworks to the diversity of city contexts is challenging, resulting in cities commonly having to invent their own approach. There is a real need for global alignment on a legitimate approach that allows cities to assess their own impact areas and to set feasible yet meaningful targets so they are set up for success.