Science-based targets for nature launched

25th May 2023

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) has this week launched what it describes as the "world's first" science-based targets for nature.

The targets aim to set the “global standard” for ambitious and measurable corporate action, helping companies to prevent and reverse damage across freshwater, land, oceans and biodiversity.

They build on global momentum behind science-based targets for climate, and provide guidance for firms to holistically assess and prioritise their environmental impacts and set new targets for nature that complement existing climate goals.

Over 200 organisations have already helped test SBTN’s initial methods, tools and guidance, including 115 companies representing over 20 sectors in 25 countries with more than $4trn (£3.2trn) in market capitalisation.

“Building science-based targets for nature into business strategies will not only be vital to helping secure a healthy, resilient and equitable world, but to driving long-term resilience for businesses,” said Erin Billman, SBTN executive director.

“By understanding and addressing their environmental impacts, companies can help mitigate supply chain disruptions, get ahead of regulatory compliance, and increase business value through access to capital and competitive advantage.

“We are asking businesses to seize the opportunity now and to start assessing their impact on Earth’s finite resources and prepare to set the first science-based targets for nature.”

The targets come in the footsteps of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – nature’s equivalent to the Paris Agreement – which was agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) last December.

They provide a key mechanism for companies to operationalise this global deal for nature, including addressing Target 15, which focuses on the role of business in managing and disclosing their impact on nature.

An initial group of 17 global companies, selected for their readiness and applicability, are already preparing to set their first science-based targets for nature this year.

These include AB InBev, Alpro, Bel, Carrefour, Corbion, GSK, H&M Group, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Holcim Group, Kering, L’OCCITANE Group, LVMH, Nestlé, Neste Corporation, Suntory Holdings Limited, Tesco and UPM.

An initial pilot will be undertaken with this group of firms, with a full roll-out to all companies in early 2024.

Luiz Amaral, CEO of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), said: “Corporate climate action initiatives must collaborate to provide companies with clear, best practice guidance from end to end – emissions to nature, national regulation to local engagement, and everything in between – so businesses can take an integrated and thorough approach to tackling the biggest threat humanity has ever faced.

“I am thrilled that, alongside science-based emission reduction targets, companies can now have additional, complementary and fully aligned guidance on nature.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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