Take action

Setting science-based targets for nature: a step-by-step guide

Setting, implementing and tracking progress on science-based targets for nature (across freshwater, land, biodiversity, ocean and climate*) is a 5-step process. We also provide onboarding content to help get your organization ready.

  • As part of our first release in 2023, we have developed detailed technical guidance for the first 3 steps of the process with additional guidance on the final steps (Act and Track) coming 2025.
  • Before diving into the materials below, make sure to read our Guide for Readers on Steps 1-3 technical guidance as well as our complementary local Stakeholder Engagement Guidance.
  • Pioneering companies have already started to pilot the first-ever science-based targets for nature. See what their top 5 initial insights are.
  • [NEW] In May 2024, SBTN announced the appointment of the Accountability Accelerator to host validation of its corporate science-based targets for nature. In the second half of 2024, companies will be invited to submit targets for validation. If your company is interested in submitting targets in 2024, please complete the form available on this page. This open call comes as SBTN’s corporate pilot for setting the first targets for nature and piloting the target validation process comes to a close.

*Climate science-based targets is a separate process. To find out more, go to Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Get Ready

If your company wants to take action on nature but are not sure how to begin, there are different ways in which we can help.

First, start to understand your organization’s environmental impacts with our sector-level materiality screening (part of Step 1 guidance). You can join our Corporate Engagement Program and draw on the experience of other companies signed up to the program, as well as the experts at SBTN. We have an extensive directory of expert advisors that can help guide you through the process, and a number onboarding resources to help you get ready.

Get Ready resources

1. Assess

To begin, assess your value chain-wide impacts on nature, resulting in a list of potential environmental impacts and locations for target setting.

Sector-level materiality assessment
Use our sector-level materiality screening tool and get a quick overview of the issue areas associated with the economic activities of your sector.

Value chain assessment
Estimate where impacts occur throughout your value chain, both in terms of supply chain tiers and places.

Technical guidance to assess…

2. Prioritize

Prioritize areas where action has the biggest overall impact, considering actions from your operations and across your value chain to the landscapes surrounding your value chain.

Define places for target-setting
Identify locations and activities my company needs to set targets for.

Prioritize & screen for feasibility
Prioritize which parts of the business to get started on first.

Technical guidance to prioritize…

3. Set targets

Measure
Collect baseline data for your priority targets and locations

Set targets
Depending on your material impacts, set targets for freshwater, land and climate (via SBTi). Biodiversity is partially covered within the freshwater, land targets and interim targets with a comprehensive analysis in development. Ocean targets are in the initial stages of development and will be available in 2024. The process for companies to get their targets validated is currently being piloted.

Disclose targets
Throughout the process of acting on science-based targets for nature, companies will track and report on their progress and should disclose this publicly.

Technical guidance to measure, set…

4. Act

Our methodologies and tools for this step are still in development and will be ready 2024. But there are things you can do today. Follow our Action Framework:
– Avoid
– Reduce
– Restore & Regenerate
– Transform

SBTN action framework

5. Track

Monitor your progress, adapt your strategy if necessary and report your progress publicly. We have high-level measurement guidance for companies getting started today with detailed Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) guidance available in 2024.
– Monitor
– Report
– Verify

Measurement overview