World’s first science-based targets will allow businesses to assess their impact on nature

THE SCIENCE Based Targets Network (SBTN) has today launched the first science-based targets for nature, aiming to set the global standard for ambitious and measurable corporate action on nature.

An initial group of seventeen global companies are preparing to submit targets for validation, including AB InBev, Alpro (part of Danone), 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.

These targets are introduced against the backdrop of scientific consensus that emphasizes limiting global warming to 1.5C cannot be achieved without halting and reversing nature loss. Nature absorbs approximately half of the planet’s carbon emissions a year and with the latest research indicating that more than half of global GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature, the business case for taking action to address nature and climate together has never been clearer.

The new science-based targets for nature build on global momentum on climate, with over 2,600 companies already setting science-based targets for climate through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The much-needed targets on nature complement existing climate targets, by allowing companies to take holistic action to address their impact in the face of mounting environmental and social crises. The targets have been developed to give companies robust and necessary guidance to do their part towards realizing the vision of an equitable, net zero, nature positive future.

To achieve a balance between scientific rigor and feasibility, over 200 organizations have already helped road-test SBTN’s initial methods, tools and guidance including 115 companies; the majority of whom participate in SBTN’s Corporate Engagement Program – representing 20+ sectors in 25 countries with over $4 trillion in market cap.

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 centre.

“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. 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.”

With the launch of the new science-based targets for nature, the SBTN is providing guidance for all companies to holistically assess and prioritize their environmental impacts and to prepare to set science-based targets, beginning with freshwater and land. In doing so, companies will improve the resilience of their business strategies and mitigate risk, while also directly supporting biodiversity, contributing to the preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems.

The guidance draws on the best available science today and includes collaboration with the Earth Commission on the upcoming safe and just Earth System Boundaries. It is also aligned with global goals on climate, nature, and development, including the Global Biodiversity Framework, the Paris Agreement, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Commenting on the announcement, Johan Rockström, Co-chair of the Earth Commission, said “Companies now have clear guidance and methodologies to set science-based targets for climate and nature. The first science-based targets for nature align with the new science assessment The Earth Commission is about to publish on defining a safe and just space for humanity. I applaud the courage of the seventeen pilot companies who are setting the first targets, because just like climate, it won’t be easy. We can all learn from their experiences, and we must. The future of business depends on it.”

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