Setting SBTi-based goals

Case study on N-SIDE x Tapio’s collaboration


Reading time : 6-7 minutes



  1. Overview
  2. Goals
  3. Challenges and solutions
    1. Understand – Carbon footprint calculation and analysis
    2. Act – Creation of the climate strategy
    3. Engage – Communication and engagement of the ecosystem
  4. Highlights of the collaboration
  5. Why commit to the SBTi targets?



1. Introduction


  • Sector: software development for energy and life sciences industries
  • Mission: Increase industrial efficiency through software and services that drastically reduce the waste of natural resources, facilitating the transition to a more sustainable world
  • Location: Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium) and Boston (USA)
  • Mission type: carbon footprint calculation, definition of reduction targets following the SBTi protocol, creation of a reduction strategy, contribution to a sustainable project
  • Carbon footprint: 1694.44 tCO2e (October 2021 – September 2022)
  • Reduction target: 42% of scopes 1 and 2 before 2030




N-SIDE is a company that helps organisations in the pharmaceutical and energy sectors make better decisions and optimize the use of critical resources. N-SIDE offers solutions to notably reduce waste in clinical trials and accelerate the transition to renewable energy in the energy sector.

Sustainability has always been in N-SIDE’s DNA, and, just like Tapio, it uses technology to accelerate the climate transition.



2. Targets


The factor that led N-SIDE to contact Tapio was its need to understand better how to accelerate its decarbonization. Before working with us, the company had already carried out carbon reports. It implemented measures, in particular, to reduce the carbon footprint linked to mobility, which was, and still is, the primary source of their emissions. Through the collaboration with Tapio, N-SIDE aims to go further and implement more actions.

To this end, N-SIDE has decided to join the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This initiative helps companies set targets based on science to keep the rise of global temperatures below 2°C, or even better, 1.5°C, compared with pre-industrial levels.

N-SIDE has set short-term reduction targets, which means it is committed to an absolute 42% reduction of scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, compared with those of 2022, the chosen reference year. For context, an absolute reduction in a company’s footprint implies a net decrease in its greenhouse gas emissions relative to a reference year. This means that, even if N-SIDE forecasts growth in the coming years, they are committed to reducing their emissions relative to their base year.



3. Challenges and solutions


Tapio’s approach consists of dividing the mission into three stages:

  1. Understand the impact of the company by calculating and analyzing its carbon footprint;
  2. Act to reduce this impact through an emission reduction strategy;
  3. Engage the ecosystem (employees, distributors, clients, etc.) to reach a deeper level of decarbonization.

In the following paragraphs, we present the challenges and solutions for each stage of the process.


3.1 Understand – Carbon footprint calculation and analysis

  • Perimeters: all activities and all sites (Boston + Louvain-la-Neuve)
  • Scopes: 1, 2, 3
  • Total carbon footprint: 1694.44 tCO2e
  • Most impactful activities:
    • 1. Mobility: mobile combustion (diesel company cars – scope 1) and business air travel (scope 3);
    • 2. Fixed assets: leasing upstream assets (hybrid and petrol company cars, electric company cars – scope 3).



During this first phase, the main challenge was to collect data for scope 3. As a reminder, scope 3 includes indirect emissions that are part of a company’s value chain. This includes, for example, business travel, the purchase of goods and services, waste management, etc. In the case of N-SIDE, the main difficulty was obtaining precise data on supplier purchases of goods and services.

Tapio used emission factors based on a monetary approach to remedy this shortcoming. This means that some emissions have been calculated according to the amount of money spent by N-SIDE. When using this approach, the more a company spends, the more its emissions will increase. However, this method could be more accurate, as the cost of goods and services is influenced by several factors that have no connection with the quantity of emissions produced, such as labor costs worldwide or the production volume achievable by suppliers.

N-SIDE hopes to use products and services from more sustainable suppliers. This would enable N-SIDE and Tapio to collect better-quality data on suppliers’ environmental impact and eliminate the need for a monetary approach to calculating emissions. Finally, it would provide a more accurate picture of N-SIDE’s scope 3 indirect emissions.



3.2 Act – Creation of the climate strategy

  • Target: absolute reduction of 42% of direct emissions (scope 1 and 2) before 2030 – baseline year: 2022.
  • Other goals: commit to reduce scope 3 emissions
  • Actions planned:
    • Move to a BREEAM-certified passive building close to Louvain-La-Neuve train station;
    • Reduce the number of company cars by 20% and replace the others with electric cars.

From the beginning, N-SIDE expressed its desire to participate in the Science-Based Targets initiative. This initiative helps companies define science-based targets aimed at limiting the rise in global temperatures. In particular, the aim is to limit global warming to well below 2°C, compared to pre-industrial temperatures, and make an effort to limit warming to 1.5°C, as the Paris Agreement states. This ambitious commitment implies an absolute 42% reduction of scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 compared with 2022.

In addition, although SBTi does not require SMEs to set targets for their scope 3 emissions, N-SIDE is committed to measuring and reducing its indirect emissions, given that they account for 78% of its carbon footprint.

N-SIDE has planned several actions to meet these targets over the coming months. Firstly, the company will move into a BREEAM-certified passive building close to the Louvain-La-Neuve railway station. This initiative aims to reduce emissions linked to energy consumption (scope 2) and employee travel (scope 3).

Secondly, N-SIDE is committed to reducing the number of company cars by 20% and transitioning to 100% electric cars, which will help reduce emissions linked to leased vehicles (scope 3). The company also encourages the adoption of soft mobility (cycling, public transport, etc.) and commits to reducing emissions related to mobile combustion (scope 1). To achieve this, N-SIDE plans to optimize its car policy and increase the mobility budget.

As we can see, mobility generates the most emissions, which was no surprise to Thomas Peignois, Head of Finance & Business Sustainability at N-SIDE. Indeed, even before the first carbon report, Thomas was already aware that it was in this area that we had to focus our efforts.


3.3 Engage – Communication and engagement of the ecosystem

In this third phase, the goal is to communicate with partners, customers, and employees to raise awareness about the challenges of climate change and involve them in the ecological transition.

The more significant challenge will be to mobilise suppliers to encourage them to adopt more sustainable practices or to find more sustainable partners.

In addition, N-SIDE plans to implement the following actions:

  • Publish the Carbon Strategy Page on their website with all the information concerning their carbon footprint and reduction strategy;
  • Calculate and publish the carbon reports for the coming years.

These initiatives demonstrate N-SIDE’s commitment to adopting a transparent and participatory approach to tackling the challenges of climate change and promoting sustainability.




4. Highlights of the collaboration


N-SIDE and Tapio share the same values and objectives, which has made the collaboration fruitful.

Regarding N-SIDE, the Tapio team has seen a firm commitment, particularly their dedication to the SBTi initiative. In addition, N-SIDE voluntarily decided to focus on reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions and Scope 3 emissions, which is not mandatory but strongly recommended.

As for Tapio, N-SIDE was very pleased with the responsiveness and expertise of the sustainability experts they worked with, namely Pascaline Du Bus and Colin Royer. In addition, N-SIDE appreciated the many platform features that facilitate collaboration when encoding data, such as the ability to assign tasks to other users, as well as the readability of the platform, allowing swift understanding of the information regarding the company’s emissions through dynamic graphs.



5. Why commit to the SBTi targets?


As we have seen, N-SIDE’s commitment is ambitious. The short-term objectives they have decided to adhere to will require ongoing efforts by the company and its partners.

When questioned why N-SIDE had made such a significant commitment, Thomas Peignois replied that it was the choice most in line with their mission, namely building a healthier and more sustainable world by optimising decisions. Taking responsibility for creating a climate strategy that matches the present situation is a responsibility N-SIDE has decided to take on, especially as sustainability is ingrained in the company’s DNA.

For companies seeking guidance on where to begin, Thomas advises carrying out at least one carbon report. Understanding the sources of greenhouse gas emissions is the first step in grasping the scale of the climate challenge. Once this has been done, companies will have a clearer idea of how they need to act and on what scale.
Finally, Justin Gellezak, Corporate Communication Manager at N-SIDE, emphasizes that fostering a corporate culture centered on sustainability is pivotal for effective change within a company. This is crucial not only at the employee level but, even more significantly, at the decision-maker level.




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