Net-Zero targets on portfolio emissions connected only to asset classes currently optional or out of scope

Dear SBTi Community,

I would like to raise the question of a retail bank, as regards the setting up of Scope 3 net-zero targets related to its portfolio, in the case where this is composed only of activities that – according to the Finance Sector SB Targets Guidance – are currently either optional or out of scope.

If that was the case, should this bank, preferably:

  1. commit to SBTi and define the boundaries of its Scope 3 – Portfolio Targets consistently with the current Standard, i.e., including optional asset class only (e.g., residential mortgages)?
  2. or, rather, wait for an updated SBTi guidance/standard that includes at least one asset class of its portfolio within those required (i.e. not optional/out of scope) for target setting (e.g. sovereign debt securities or investment advisory services)?

Thank you.

Thanks for posting.

FIs are strongly encouraged to take climate action and set science-based targets as soon as possible. Since target-setting methods are already available for optional asset classes, FIs would be able to submit targets for validation even if they do not have any activities that are currently considered required.

Hi Howard,
In such a case where the FI’s activities relate only to the optional asset classes - would the 67% coverage apply then to the optional activites? And if not, how can they select or determine a threshold that is sufficient?

If an FI is involved solely or mainly in optional asset classes, it should contact the SBTi to discuss a minimum target coverage boundary of these asset class(es) for the portfolio targets to be considered credible.

Hi Howard, I have the same question re targets for a financial institution that only has optional asset classes.
Your reply above advises to contact SBTi. However I have already contacted SBTi via the website contact form, and they have redirected me to this platform. Can you kindly advise?
Our question is below.
We are a UK based SME lending platform, and as such SME loans are our only asset class activity. Although not a bank we are regulated and as such would classify as a financial institution and would need to follow SBTi’s Financial Sector Science-Based Targets Guidance. Under the guidance (V1): SBTi considers SME lending as an optional activity for inclusion in scope 3 (3.15) SBTs, and states in the guidance (V1, p.54): " Table 5.2 is all-compassing and may not apply to certain financial institutions. If an FI invests solely or mainly in optional asset classes, they should contact SBTi to discuss a minimum target coverage boundary of these asset class(es) for the portfolio targets to be considered credible." I note that this also does not seem to have changed in the V2 draft. We are therefore contacting SBTi to get some guidance as to how we should approach this in order to start setting SBTs. Thank you