Target validation

Validation is a critical part of the process of setting science-based targets for nature – safeguarding the integrity of the targets, ensuring an independent and rigorous evaluation process that delivers comparable results across companies. In May 2024, we announced that the Accountability Accelerator, also part of the Global Commons Alliance, will host the validation of science-based targets for nature.

Validation is a critical part of the science-based targets for nature process.

Once you have completed Step 1: Assess, Step 2: Prioritize, or Step 3: Set targets you can submit for validation. Companies are required to submit steps sequentially, it is not possible to submit Step 3 without first passing Step 1 and Step 2 validation. This process ensures companies have correctly followed the requirements, in the right order,  before implementation (Step 4: Act), or associated public claims on progress (Step 5: Track).

In May 2023 a target validation pilot commenced with a group of pioneering companies. The pilot companies were required to prepare and submit freshwater and land targets for validation in alignment with the previous version (2023) of SBTN’s methods. The scope of the pilot validation included the following steps:

  • Step 1: Assess – an integrated assessment method to identify key issues and locations to focus on for target setting
  • Step 2: Interpret and Prioritize – a method for prioritization of target setting, using a mix of environmental, social, and financial considerations
  • Step 3: Measure, Set, Disclosure –  methods for setting land and freshwater targets, addressing some of the dominant drivers of biodiversity loss and climate change.

The pilot concluded in June 2024 and has been an enriching learning experience for everyone involved throughout the network. We are deeply grateful to our pioneering companies, supporting consultancies and NGO partners for their participation in the first year of setting corporate science-based targets for nature.

The pilot summary report – available here – provides an overview of the pilot itself, initial learnings, key benefits and insights into best practices.

SBTN and the Accountability Accelerator has opened a call for Expressions of Interest from companies interested in using the upcoming target validation services to set science-based targets for nature. The intent is to evaluate their readiness to set targets, and to inform validation team resourcing. Motivated companies are encouraged to step forward and be at the forefront of setting ambitious science-based targets for nature.

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Target validation process


The Accountability Accelerator will host SBTN’s external validation process for an interim period of two to three years, beginning in mid 2024. During this period, it will ensure a clear separation between method development and validation, while allowing SBTN to monitor and learn from the process.

Two new bodies to ensure robust accountability process oversight and learning will be created: the Integrity Council, and the Learning Committee.

  • The Integrity Council will act as the governance body for the validation function, ensuring due process is followed in all validation activities, approve strategic validation decisions, and play an active role in complaints and appeals of the validation process. This council will be independent from both the Accountability Accelerator and SBTN councils.
  • The Learning Committee will act as SBTN’s primary interaction with the validation function, with learnings passed on to method developers and vice-versa.

“SBTN’s need for independent validation of science-based targets for nature aligns well with our commitment to a strong corporate accountability ecosystem. Our existing relationship as part of the Global Commons Alliance also means we have complementary but distinct wider goals and ambitions. Through our rigorous assessment and compliance processes, we will support companies to play an important role in creating an equitable, nature positive, net-zero future using science-based targets for nature.

Natasha MaticExecutive DirectorAccountability Accelerator
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