Science-Based Targets

A number of real estate companies use science-based protocols to establish portfolio-wide emissions reductions targets. As the buildings sector makes progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet global climate goals, The Roundtable and Nareit have submitted joint comments about specific, proposed guidance that would create “unworkable and unattainable” GHG standards.

There is no mandate in the U.S. at the federal level for real estate companies to set science-based emissions targets. However, anticipated rules from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are expected to require registered companies to report to investors on material climate-related financial risks. Those disclosures could include corporate efforts to reduce emissions.


For years, The Roundtable, its members, and partner industry organizations have worked to make substantial progress on voluntary efforts underway at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that recognize advances in low-carbon buildings and portfolios. (See our policy issue webpages on EPA’s ENERGY STAR programs or search in the top navigation above.)

The Roundtable also convened a working group of its Sustainability Policy Committee (SPAC) to review and assess recent, draft guidance from the Science-Based Targets initiative (“SBTi”), a body with global influence. Nareit conducted a similar process with its members. These efforts resulted in the organizations’ unified position, which concludes that key elements of SBTi’s proposal, if finalized, are unworkable and unattainable for our industry.

A final version of SBTi’s buildings sector guidance is expected this fall. The Roundtable will continue to track the issue, coordinate with Nareit and other allied groups, and educate policy makers as this matter develops.


The controversial SBTi draft guidance was developed by an advisory group comprised largely of academia and environmental organizations — with minimal representation from real estate developers, owners, and financial institutions who make the investments to improve energy efficiency and lower emissions.

SBTi would require building stakeholders to set emissions targets for sources and operations they do not control, based too heavily on estimates and speculation as opposed to actual, verifiable, and actionable data.

Key aspects of SBTi’s proposal counter voluntary efforts underway at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that recognize advances in low-carbon buildings and portfolios. Moreover, varying and often conflicting climate mandates on buildings are proliferating at the local level.

SBTi’s proposed approach should not gain traction in regulatory building performance standards imposed by cities and states. Key points are summarized in the detailed Roundtable-Nareit comments.

For more information and recent updates, reference our resources below or search using the bar at the top of the page.



Clean Energy Tax Incentives
Reporting on Climate Risks
EPA's ENERGY STAR Certification for Buildings
EPA's ENERGY STAR Tenant Space Recognition
Building Performance Standards
Science-Based Targets
“Healthy Buildings”