Step 3. 
Measure, set and disclose targets

When your company has assessed and prioritized its impacts on nature through our technical guidance in Step 1: Assess and Step 2: Interpret & Prioritize, you will know which issues to set targets on. 

Your company can then commence to measure, set and disclose targets using our Step 3 technical guidance. Before diving into Step 3  content below, make sure to read our Guide for Readers for overall context to the technical guidance in the first release.

Measure and set targets

Our technical guidance provides detailed methodologies to set freshwater and land targets which also includes partial biodiversity coverage. Climate targets are set through Science Based Targets initiative and ocean targets will be available in 2025 (corporate pilot in 2024).

Set freshwater targets

Freshwater science-based targets v1 focus on two key issues: water use, specifically withdrawals from surface water bodies and groundwater, and freshwater pollution resulting from nitrogen and phosphorus.

These pressures are the first to be addressed by freshwater science-based targets because of their relevance to the majority of companies (freshwater use), their significance in specific sectors and environmental issues (freshwater pollution, and are together two of the key pressures that are driving the loss of nature in ecosystems around the world.

Technical guidance materials:

Set land targets

Land science-based targets (currently in beta, version 1 available in 2024) are designed to work together to incentivize the high level corporate actions needed to achieve nature goals in land systems – namely halting conversion of natural ecosystems, freeing up agricultural land for natural ecosystem restoration and improving the ecological integrity of landscapes, including working lands, to enhance ecosystem structure, composition and function. The first land targets are at a beta stage and have undergone an internal consultation with experts across industry, academia and NGOs, followed by both expert review panel and public consultations for broader representation. They are currently being piloted in 2023 by the initial group of target-setting companies. The goal is to capture learnings from the corporate pilot, in order to make optimizations ahead of a version 1 roll-out in 2024.

Address biodiversity within science-based targets for nature

A core goal of SBTN’s work is mitigating biodiversity loss by ensuring companies contribute to the protection, restoration and sustainable use of natural ecosystems. It is therefore essential that all actions taken through the targets effectively support biodiversity. The first release directly supports biodiversity by addressing some of the dominant drivers of biodiversity loss. We address the coverage of biodiversity in the first methods release in the paper below and present high level approaches to address gaps. This will be followed with a more detailed analysis to be published later in the year outlining plans for subsequent releases.

Set climate targets

When a company uses our technical guidance to assess and prioritize its environmental impacts for target setting, this includes climate. Therefore, all companies with material contributions to greenhouse gases are expected to set a climate target via Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as part of setting science-based targets for nature. Companies who have already collected emission data and set targets for climate are one step ahead.

Validate targets

To ensure companies have correctly and completely followed the target setting methods and in advance of their implementation (Step 4: Act) or making any public claims regarding setting science-based targets for nature, companies will prepare and submit their targets for validation.

We are currently piloting the target validation process with an initial group of companies to ensure robust, feasible and clear validation criteria. All companies should begin the target setting journey and prepare their targets ahead of full roll-out anticipated in Q1 2024.

Set interim targets

These are recommended actions companies can take to round out their environmental strategy, complementing the application of the first science-based targets for nature. Note these targets will not be validated by SBTN. Updated interim targets will be published shortly.

Disclose targets

By setting science-based targets for nature with SBTN, companies can meet the requirements of disclosure frameworks such as CDP, GRI, TCFD and TNFD (in development), and demonstrate to the investor community that their company is working towards addressing and managing their impacts and dependencies on nature.

Throughout the process of acting on science-based targets for nature, companies will track and report on their progress and should disclose this publicly. In 2024 companies target-setting progress will be shared publicly on a dashboard that tracks each company’s progress.

While raising the corporate bar on addressing environmental impacts, we aim to avoid adding to companies reporting burden andalign as much as possible with existing and upcoming platforms and standards.  We are therefore working with our partners to ensure that data requested by these disclosure platforms and through their evolving reporting standards are consistent with the indicators and metrics used to set SBTs. An example of our work on framework alignment is our close collaboration with the TNFD: view our latest co-developed guidance here.