I am delighted to announce that the Science Based Targets Network has released the first science-based targets for nature today enabling companies to start taking ambitious and measurable action on climate and nature in tandem.
Today’s release is thanks to an immense and ground-breaking collaboration from across the Network since 2020 when the Initial Guidance for Business was published. Over 80 global NGOs and mission-driven organizations and their technical and scientific staff came together with the guiding question: what can a company do today to ensure it’s doing its part for an equitable, net-zero and nature positive future?
We can now provide companies with the initial methods, tools and guidance to start answering this question and a pilot group of 17 companies are planning to set the first nature targets this year. They were selected for their readiness and applicability and represent sectors and supply chains with a high impact on nature.
These new science-based targets equip companies to holistically assess their environmental impacts, and prepare to set targets to address them, beginning with freshwater and land, alongside climate (through the Science Based Targets initiative). The first release of science-based targets for nature also directly supports biodiversity, ensuring that companies contribute to the preservation and restoration of ecosystems.
We have designed the guidance to build on companies’ existing sustainability strategies and have proactively aligned with existing and upcoming standards and frameworks – including the Science Based Targets initiative and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures risk management and disclosure beta framework. It also draws on, and aligns with the best available science – including collaborating with the Earth Commission on their work to define a safe and just corridor for humanity, to be published on May 31, 2023. To achieve the optimal balance between scientific rigor and feasibility, the guidance has also been road-tested by over 115 companies from over 25 countries and representing over $4 trillion in market capitalization.
While climate change has become a key focus of many companies’ sustainability strategies, there is now clear scientific evidence that net zero is not possible without nature. This understanding comes amidst an unprecedented nature crisis, driven by unsustainable exploitation of Earth’s natural resources and systems. The interplay between nature and climate requires collective, joined-up action to stabilize the climate, preserve freshwater resources, regenerate land, secure a healthy ocean and protect biodiversity. This must be done in line with scientifically defined limits and on a socially equitable basis.
Against the backdrop of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – nature’s equivalent to the Paris climate agreement – finalized last December, science-based targets for nature are a key mechanism for companies to raise the bar on ambitious and measurable corporate action on nature.
Companies now have the scientific guardrails to begin to take the critical action towards a net zero, nature positive equitable future. We strongly encourage them to do so.
Erin Billman, Executive Director
The Science Based Targets Network