Corporate climate action is increasingly considered important in driving the transition towards a low-carbon economy. For this, it is critical to ensure translation of global goals to greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets at company level. At the moment, however, there is a lack of clear methods to derive consistent corporate target setting that keeps cumulative corporate GHG emissions within a specific carbon budget (for example, 550-1,300GtCO2 between 2011 and 2050 for the 2°C target). Here we propose a method for corporate emissions target setting that derives carbon intensity pathways for companies based on sectoral pathways from existing mitigation scenarios: the Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA). These company targets take activity growth and initial performance into account. Next to target setting on company level, the SDA can be used by companies, policymakers, investors or other stakeholders as a benchmark for tracking corporate climate performance and actions, providing a mechanism for corporate accountability.