18/12/2023 News Blog

December SBTN newsletter

This is the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, which highlights the latest news and events related to Science Based Targets Network and our wider network of partners. If you have any questions about content featured in the December SBTN newsletter, please contact us.

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Dear Colleague,

While the outcome of COP28 is mixed, particularly given the missed opportunity to include “fossil fuel phase out” in the Global Stocktake text, we must now view Dubai as the catalyst to double down on integrated climate and nature action. As we saw across COP, there is now deep understanding of the clear scientific evidence that net zero is not possible without credible action on nature. 

I am heartened by the businesses and coalitions that despite the insufficient outcome, continue to mobilize toward a nature positive future. As Marco Lambertini, Convenor of the Nature Positive Initiative and Eva Zabey, CEO of Business for Nature, write in Reuters, companies should only use the term ‘nature positive’ in the context of clear, time-bound and measurable global goals, with “progress measured against science-based targets that will secure genuine nature-positive outcomes.” They warn that the priority should be on taking meaningful action now, and at the scale required.

As noted by BCG, companies that embark on this transformative journey early can “benefit from first-mover advantages” if they use the right tools. “Setting science-based targets for nature builds upon the work that companies have already done” such as on climate, says Varsha Vijay of SBTN in the article. Not only this, but companies that have already adopted climate science-based targets and gone through related disclosures like TCFD, will be way ahead of the competition.

For those at the start of their journey it may be overwhelming to know where to take action first, but a new ‘Navigator’ tool launched at COP makes it much easier, by guiding companies and financial institutions on which nature and climate resources to use. Using the 5-step science-based targets for nature and Science Based Targets initiative process, it provides a clear direction within the landscape of high-impact management tools, methodologies and disclosure frameworks for nature and climate.

Cities’ science-based targets for nature
Non-state actor momentum to safeguard and restore the global commons that we all depend on can’t be led by the business sector alone. Cities are the largest driver of environmental impact globally and must do their part to halt and reverse nature loss. At COP28 we announced plans to develop cities science-based targets for nature for the first time, alongside companies. The new program initially aims to create a holistic, science-based target indicators framework that covers the impact of cities on both climate and other natural systems. 

Sharing corporate insights
We now look ahead to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where we aim to share corporate insights from pilot companies, ahead of the roll-out of the target validation process in mid-2024. Pioneering companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, H&M, Kering and Nestle, are piloting the validation process as well as the beta land methods. In a recent interview with Responsible Investor I shared my encouragement at the pilot companies’ many valuable insights. For instance some companies have raw materials that were not considered an issue sustainability-wise as they were looked at through a GHG emissions lens, but by doing the pilot using a nature lens, they discovered material issues.

Similarly compelling insights have come in from Finland, where in 2022 – ahead of SBTN’s first method release in 2023 – Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, along with FIBS, the largest corporate responsibility network in the Nordics, brought together ten leading Finnish companies from the food and agriculture, forest, textiles and construction sectors to prepare to set targets using our draft guidance. Feedback from companies includes the fact that more in-depth supply chain knowledge increases precision, hedges against risk and builds resilience.

This will be our last newsletter of 2023, an extraordinary year of progress for nature, despite some stark setbacks, and the continuous backdrop of devastating geopolitics. As we move into 2024, let us hope for collective peace, healing and understanding, as together we build a safe and just future for all.

Erin Billman
Executive Director
Science Based Targets Network

Get more information on science-based targets for nature, find out how to take action as a company or explore our Corporate Engagement Program.