The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) announced today the release of the first corporate science-based targets for nature, aimed at guiding companies in assessing and prioritizing their environmental impacts and setting a standard for targets to address these issues.
The new targets come as businesses increasingly focus on nature and biodiversity risk, and as global efforts to address nature-related issues begin to pick up pace. In December 2022, for example, global governments adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at the COP15 UN Biodiversity Conference, agreeing to a set of goals aimed at ending biodiversity loss, protecting natural ecosystems and ramping biodiversity-related financing.
Companies are also facing increasing pressure to assess and report on nature and biodiversity-related issues, with new disclosure systems emerging such as the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), currently under development. In December, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) of the IFRS Foundation announced plans to add requirements for companies to provide transparency on impacts and risks related to natural ecosystems to its Climate-related Disclosure Standard, with a particular focus on the TNFD’s work.
The SBTN is a collaboration of more than 80 organizations, established to help businesses and cities operate within the Earth’s limits while meeting society’s needs through the setting of science-based targets (SBTs), in order to transform their impact. The initiative was aimed at building on the momentum of the emissions-focused Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to enable companies to set targets beyond climate.
According to the SBTN, the new targets will complement existing climate targets, “allowing companies to take holistic action to address their impact in the face of mounting environmental and social crises.”
Erin Billman, Executive Director of Science Based Targets Network, said:
“We are in the midst of interconnected crises. We cannot limit global warming to 1.5C without addressing nature loss, and we cannot halt and reverse nature loss without a stable climate. Crucially, we know we can’t address either without putting people and equity at the center.”
For its initial release, the SBTN is introducing targets covering freshwater and land, enabling companies to assess impacts and set goals on freshwater quality and quantity, and on the protection and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems. The release forms part of a multi-year plan, with future coverage including biodiversity and ocean targets.
The SBTN announced that an initial group of 17 companies are piloting the validation process for the new targets, with the rollout of the first target validation for companies outside of the pilot aimed to begin early 2024.
Companies piloting the new targets include AB InBev, Alpro (part of Danone), Bel, Carrefour, Corbion, GSK, H&M Group, Hindustan Zinc, Holcim, Kering, L’OCCITANE Group, LVMH, Nestlé, Neste, Suntory, Tesco and UPM.
Adrien Geiger, Group Chief Sustainability Officer at L’OCCITANE, said:
“L’OCCITANE Group has set itself the ambition to contribute to a nature-positive future. To do so, we must rely on science to ensure that our actions match our impacts and nature’s needs. Joining the SBTN Initial Target Validation Pilot is a new step towards our objective to halt biodiversity loss and understand how to make business compatible with planet boundaries.”