LOS ANGELES (February 3, 2023) – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is the first municipally owned utility in North America to establish science-based emission reduction targets, which provide a clearly-defined pathway for companies and financial institutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. LADWP’s GHG emission reduction targets extend across the Department’s investment opportunities and everyday operations demonstrating its commitment to a clean energy future. These targets have been registered with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a global body which empowers businesses to set ambitious emission reduction targets in line with the latest climate science. Across the globe, various businesses and organizations are committing to this science-based initiative to show that their third party verified emission reductions meet the emission reduction standard targets needed to address climate change.
“We are delighted to be joining an international group of like-minded companies that are aligning their businesses with this science-based initiative,” said Nurit Katz, Commissioner of the LADWP Board of Water and Power. “By joining, we recognize the crucial role utilities across the world can play in fighting climate change and securing a clean energy future.”
The SBTi has established a set of criteria that all targets must meet to be validated as science-based. The SBTi assessed LADWP’s submission against the SBTi’s criteria, and after careful review, approved LADWP’s targets and determined that they are in line with a trajectory that is well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. LADWP’s science-based targets would reduce organization-wide emissions 69.3% by 2030 from a 2015 baseline, while concurrently providing approximately 21% more energy relative to 2015.
The SBTi determines whether or not a target is science-based via a team of experts who review the organization’s submission, validate it against their science-based criteria and communicate their decision and detailed feedback. SBTi is a coalition of non-profit organizations such as, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Emission reduction targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The SBTi classifies targets against the long-term temperature pathways of well-below 2°C and 1.5°C with the latter being the temperature to achieve. Overall, science-based targets will help prevent the worst impacts of climate change and ensure a sustainable, resilient future.
During the evaluation, SBTi looks at various “scopes,” which determine the types of GHG emissions to be reduced. Scope 1 refers to when an organization emits GHGs directly. Scope 2 refers to when an organization purchases energy from a third party and they emit GHGs. Scope 3 refers to when an organization purchases goods and services other than energy – not categorized in Scopes 1 and 2 – from a third party and they emit GHGs, such as processing of sold products, capital goods, and employee commuting.
Within its own operations, LADWP’s commitments will focus on:
- reducing scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 71.6% per MWh of electricity generated by 2030 from a 2015 base year;
- reducing scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3 fuel- and energy-related activities related to sold electricity GHG emissions by 78.1% per MWh of electricity sold over the same target timeframe; and
- reducing absolute scope 3 fuel- and energy-related activities not related to sold electricity GHG emissions by 37.5% over the same target timeframe
“This is a natural step for LADWP as sustainability is an integrated part of our operations and customer offerings,” said Nancy Sutley, LADWP’s Senior Assistant General Manager of External and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer. “The Science Based Targets initiative will add credibility to our ongoing efforts through third party validation by a global body, and further clarify our ambition and commitment to our customers when it comes to our clean energy goals.”
LADWP is already a signatory to several international principles and initiatives, including the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
LADWP has participated in CDP’s Climate Change program for six years and previously earned its highest score ever—an “A-” grade in the global nonprofit’s Climate Change Score Report, which placed the Department at the “Leadership” level. LADWP also earned an “A” Supplier Engagement Rating (SER) for its work engaging with suppliers to tackle climate change.
The CDP’s Climate Change program evaluates companies on their emission reduction leadership as well as their resiliency to the effects of climate change. LADWP also invites about 200 of its own suppliers to disclose emissions levels to CDP’s supply chain program. This helps LADWP better understand its supply chain’s resilience in a world increasingly affected by climate change.