14/03/2024 News Blog

How SBTN’s consultation process shapes science-based targets for nature

Imagine a global economy where companies and cities thrive within environmental limits on a socially equitable basis. This is the future we envision, guided by science-based targets for nature.

To help bring this vision to life, we champion transparency and inclusivity as we develop methods for companies and cities to set and implement these critical targets. 

Stakeholder collaboration

Our development and consultation approach unfolds through an iterative, multi-stage review and feedback process.

Figure 1: SBTN Stakeholder Collaboration

In the early stages of review and feedback, we dive deep with nonprofit, scientific and academic experts to ensure our methods are rigorous and robust. Corporate insights, primarily from 240 members of our Corporate Engagement Program play a pivotal role, helping us shape both feasible and practical solutions through review and pilot testing. 

Mirroring the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), each target-setting method must then undergo a public consultation before end users like companies apply it in the real world. This crucial phase opens the floor to the broadest group of stakeholders, inviting them to share their feedback; a critical mechanism to incorporate diverse perspectives into our process. 

Insights from 2022-2023 public consultations

The public consultations held in 2022 and early 2023 informed the refinement of our first methods for setting science-based targets for nature, released in May 2023. We received contributions from a wide array of stakeholders – including non-profits, advocacy organizations and end users – with over 1,500 individual comments from participants across five continents, highlighting the global engagement and diverse perspectives in our work.

We are pleased to share a summary of the feedback provided during those consultations. Reflecting the concerns and perspectives at an earlier stage of the methods, this feedback is now shared externally for transparency and historical reference. Clarity and readability of method documents, the prescriptiveness in data selection, end-user feasibility, and additional method safeguards were key themes that one can explore further in the summary report.

Ensuring scientific rigor with Expert Review Panels

In the final stretch of the consultation process for each method, we assemble an Expert Review Panel. This panel is composed of external academic and nonprofit technical experts who are new to our drafting process. Their goal? Akin to the academic peer review process, they assess our methods for scientific rigor, consistency and alignment with our vision, and ensure the methods support socially acceptable ambitions and actions. To promote inclusivity in the External Review Panel and throughout the consultation process, we follow ISEAL’s recommendations, which ensure adequate participation and representation in the consultation process. To date, the Expert Review Panels have included nonprofit voices from six continents, including academics, scientists and industry coalition members.

Pioneering companies setting the first science-based targets for nature

We are currently working with 17 companies as part of the initial target validation group, which is providing further insights into the feasibility and rigor of our current methods. Feedback raised during the 2022-2023 public consultations is in the process of being addressed or further verified through this process and will also inform subsequent method versions. This is particularly crucial for the aspects of our methods that are in pilot phase: the Step 3: Land methods, which will be transitioning from a beta version to a version 1.0 status, and the target validation process.

We anticipate making refinements based on learning from this group of pioneering companies before rolling it out to companies more broadly later this year. Once the pilot concludes, we will share comprehensive learnings and a summary of feedback from the initial cohort of companies, as well as resulting method revisions and validation requirements. In the meantime, top-line insights from the early stages of the pilot are available here

Our commitment to continuous improvement and scientific rigor remains steadfast as we work to refine the methods to ensure they are both feasible and practical for companies. 

We invite you to contribute to the evolution of science-based targets for nature by engaging in our review processes and staying tuned for upcoming insights and outcomes via our newsletter