Why set SBTs?

Credible action for nature: Transforming risk into resilience for companies

Science-based targets for nature have been introduced against the backdrop of scientific consensus that emphasizes achieving global ambitions to limit global warming to 1.5C cannot be achieved without preventing, and reversing, nature loss. Both need to be addressed together.

All companies depend on nature and conversely are contributing to its decline. With the latest research showing that every industry sector has a portion of their direct operations or supply chain that is highly dependent on nature, the business case for taking action to address nature and climate together has never been clearer. 

The historical global deal to reset our relationship with the environment – the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – finalized in 2020 by nearly 200 countries sent a clear message to business: action on nature starts now. Science-based targets for nature are a key mechanism for companies to operationalize nature’s equivalent to the Paris climate agreement.

Building science-based targets 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.

What are companies saying?

Some of the early adopters of our methods who are setting the first science-based targets for nature have already identified key strengths of SBTN for their business.

Opportunities beyond risk management

These methods provide value in the form of risk mitigation – identifying risk along the supply chain –  as well as improved reputation, and competitive advantage.” 

Catalyst for change

This approach is a first step towards a standardization of how nature is integrated into companies’ strategies. It’s an enormous step forward.” 

Measurable benefits

“Having credible nature targets leads to easier access to credit and financing.” 

“[Through setting SBTs for nature] We are planning to save costs due to water use efficiency.”

Raised ambition

A no conversion commitment is far beyond our current no deforestation commitment and is a huge change that will come through SBTN.”

Interplay with other frameworks

By doing SBTN you are paving the way for other frameworks – at least from a data perspective, the process is extremely rigorous and science-based.” 

The above feedback was gathered from pioneering companies piloting science-based targets for nature, through workshops, interviews and anonymized surveys.

Interplay with global frameworks

We have intentionally designed our approach to build on and align to what companies are already doing as part of their sustainability strategy.

We therefore collaborate with, and align to, related frameworks including mandatory reporting requirements such as EU’s CSRD and voluntary disclosure recommendations through the TNFD; ultimately increasing efficiencies for companies.

Not all targets are created equally.

Some companies might already be setting some type of target, but it is worth asking the following questions:

Are they backed by civil society as a credible approach?

The power of SBTN is that it is a Network, not an organization. And SBTN’s credibility comes from this – it is a coalition of key environmental organizations and is driven by a consensus-led approach among them – rather than led by one organization. The same founding organizations behind SBTi (which are CDP, UN Global Compact, WWF and WRI) are some of the founding partners of SBTN which also includes: Conservation International, UNEP-WCMC, and World Economic Forum. 

Do they provide clarity on how much is enough?

Targets set using SBTN methods are in line with local and global ecological/biophysical limits and account for people’s needs. 

Do they provide a consistent science-based approach?

SBTN’s standardized approach is distinct from other target types because it provides a consistent way to get to the right-sized target. Other target types suggest a direction, but the magnitude may be somewhat arbitrary.

Do the targets cover impacts companies have beyond their direct operations to their upstream activities?

Companies are now realizing that impacts on nature may occur across their value chain, including upstream in the supply chain or downstream during product use and disposal. The SBTN approach ensures that companies look beyond their direct operations, to their upstream value chains where much of their nature impact may exist. SBTN requirements for a value chain assessment–within their direct operations and upstream supply chains–before moving to target-setting ensures that companies base their action strategy on a more comprehensive view of their impacts before moving to implementation. 

Are the targets location specific?

Setting one target for a company’s entire geographic reach will not lead to the right actions in the right places at the right time. For example, water is local, so freshwater science-based targets need to be, too.

“Science-based targets for nature take the guesswork out of what businesses need to do, by when, by whom, how much, and where.” M. Sanjayan
CEO, Conservation International
“We encourage others to start taking science-based action on nature, to build business resilience and to help us all move faster to a net zero, nature positive, healthier planet. ” Regis Simard
President-Global Supply Chain, GSK