- Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) launches the world’s first science-based targets for nature, a significant milestone towards helping companies take integrated action across freshwater, land, ocean, biodiversity, and climate
- These targets are 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
- New science-based targets for nature provide guidance for companies to holistically assess and prioritize their environmental impacts, and to prepare to set targets, beginning with freshwater and land, alongside climate through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
- An initial group of seventeen global companies are preparing to submit targets for validation, including AB InBev, Alpro (part of Danone), Bel, Carrefour, Corbion, GSK, H&M Group, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Holcim Group, Kering, L’OCCITANE Group, LVMH, Nestlé, Neste Corporation, Suntory Holdings Limited, Tesco and UPM
Wednesday 24 May 2023: The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) has today launched the first science-based targets for nature, aiming to set the global standard for ambitious and measurable corporate action on nature.
These targets are introduced against the backdrop of scientific consensus that emphasizes limiting global warming to 1.5C cannot be achieved without halting and reversing nature loss. Nature absorbs approximately half of the planet’s carbon emissions a year and with the latest research indicating that more than half of global GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature, the business case for taking action to address nature and climate together has never been clearer.
The new science-based targets for nature build on global momentum on climate, with over 2,600 companies already setting science-based targets for climate through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The much-needed targets on nature complement existing climate targets, by allowing companies to take holistic action to address their impact in the face of mounting environmental and social crises. The targets have been developed to give companies robust and necessary guidance to do their part towards realizing the vision of an equitable, net zero, nature positive future.
To achieve a balance between scientific rigor and feasibility, over 200 organizations have already helped road-test SBTN’s initial methods, tools and guidance including 115 companies; the majority of whom participate in SBTN’s Corporate Engagement Program – representing 20+ sectors in 25 countries with over $4 trillion in market cap.
Erin Billman, Executive Director of Science Based Targets Network, said, “We are in the midst of interconnected crises. We cannot limit global warming to 1.5C without addressing nature loss, and we cannot halt and reverse nature loss without a stable climate. Crucially, we know we can’t address either without putting people and equity at the center.
“Building science-based targets for nature 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. By understanding and addressing their environmental impacts, companies can help mitigate supply chain disruptions, get ahead of regulatory compliance, and increase business value through access to capital and competitive advantage. We are asking businesses to seize the opportunity now and to start assessing their impact on Earth’s finite resources and prepare to set the first science-based targets for nature.”
It comes in the footsteps of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, nature’s equivalent to the Paris Agreement on climate, which was finalized and agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) last December. The new science-based targets for nature provide a key mechanism for companies to operationalize this global deal for nature including addressing Target 15, which focuses on the role of business in managing and disclosing their impact on nature.
With the launch of the new science-based targets for nature, the SBTN is providing guidance for all companies to holistically assess and prioritize their environmental impacts and to prepare to set science-based targets, beginning with freshwater and land. In doing so, companies will improve the resilience of their business strategies and mitigate risk, while also directly supporting biodiversity, contributing to the preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems.
An initial group of seventeen global companies, selected for their readiness and applicability, are already preparing to set their first science-based targets for nature this year. These companies include AB InBev, Alpro (part of Danone), Bel, Carrefour, Corbion, GSK, H&M Group, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Holcim Group, Kering, L’OCCITANE Group, LVMH, Nestlé, Neste Corporation, Suntory Holdings Limited, Tesco and UPM. An initial pilot will be undertaken with this group of companies, with a full roll-out to all companies in early 2024.
Drawing on the best available science and global societal goals
The guidance draws on the best available science today and includes collaboration with the Earth Commission on the upcoming safe and just Earth System Boundaries. It is also aligned with global goals on climate, nature, and development, including the Global Biodiversity Framework, the Paris Agreement, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Commenting on the announcement, Johan Rockström, Co-chair of the Earth Commission, said: “Companies now have clear guidance and methodologies to set science-based targets for climate and nature. The first science-based targets for nature align with the new science assessment The Earth Commission is about to publish on defining a safe and just space for humanity. I applaud the courage of the seventeen pilot companies who are setting the first targets, because just like climate, it won’t be easy. We can all learn from their experiences, and we must. The future of business depends on it.”
A multi-year plan to establish holistic targets for nature
This first release forms part of a multi-year plan to provide companies of all sizes and sectors with comprehensive science-based targets for nature, which will increase in scope including expanded freshwater and land targets, further coverage of biodiversity as well as ocean targets. In later releases, SBTN will also issue guidance to companies on target implementation and tracking progress. The first target validation for companies outside of the pilot is aimed to begin in early 2024.
Luiz Amaral, CEO of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), said: “Corporate climate action initiatives must collaborate to provide companies with clear, best practice guidance from end to end – emissions to nature, national regulation to local engagement and everything in between – so businesses can take an integrated and thorough approach to tackling the biggest threat humanity has ever faced. I am thrilled that, alongside science-based emission reduction targets, companies can now have additional, complementary and fully aligned guidance on nature. I look forward to continue working to bring the ecosystem together.”
For more information about the science-based targets for nature, visit www.sciencebasedtargetsnetwork.org.
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SUPPORTING QUOTES FROM PARTNERS AND COMPANIES INVOLVED
Eva Zabey, CEO, Business for Nature: “Businesses simply cannot function without a thriving natural world. Every company relies on nature and the services and resources it provides, from fresh water and pollination to healthy ecosystems and carbon sequestration. Target 15 of the Global Biodiversity Framework, which commits governments to require all large companies and financial institutions to assess and disclose their nature-related risks, dependencies, and impacts, is set to transform the rules of the economic game. The new science-based targets for nature is a critical milestone that will help companies take effective action to operate within planetary boundaries and contribute to building a nature-positive economy by putting nature at the heart of their operations, supply chains and decision-making.”
Nikki Bartlett, Chief Impact Officer, CDP: “Amidst an environmental crisis where climate change and the degradation of nature are interconnected issues, corporate action is critical to protecting the Earth’s systems, aligning economic activity with what our planet can sustainably provide and building resilience to future shocks. In March of 2023, 746 financial institutions with over US$136 trillion in assets, requested over 15,000 companies across the globe to disclose data on their environmental impacts through CDP. Setting and disclosing progress against SBT’s for Nature is a vital means for companies to meet these demands.
“CDP is proud to be a founding partner of the SBTN, and looks forward to working closely as part of the coalition to accelerate corporate environmental action, supporting companies to embark on ambitious environmental strategies and set measurable science-based targets for nature. Achieving this will be critical to our chances of limiting global warming to 1.5C, aligning economic activity with what our planet can sustainably provide and building resilience to future shocks. With its ground-breaking first targets for freshwater and land use, the SBTN is bringing nature into the board room.”
M. Sanjayan, CEO, Conservation International: “There are two key reasons companies need to understand their impact on nature. First, companies rely on nature – for the resources they use, for a stable climate, and the food that fuels their workforce, so they must understand that nature produces the basic goods and services they need to succeed. At the same time, businesses have an enormous impact on nature. Understanding that impact is vital for building and operating a business for the long run. Science-based targets for nature take the guesswork out of what businesses need to do, by when, by whom, how much, and where.”
Marco Lambertini, Special Envoy, WWF International: “The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework agreed at COP15 last December clearly outlines the bold action that’s needed to halt and revert biodiversity loss by 2030. WWF is extremely proud of being a founding member of SBTN, and part of a coalition of organizations aiming to set standards for ambitious and measurable corporate action on nature, to help deliver on these ambitions and create a nature-positive future. With accelerating biodiversity loss and growing awareness of the consequences this is having on the stability of the earth systems, our lives and humanity’s future, it’s vital that companies assess their footprint on nature, and set science-based targets to address it. It’s possible to make a contribution to a nature-positive world, because nature can bounce back if given a chance.”
Tony Goldner, Executive Director, Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD): “Following the breakthrough global agreement on tackling nature loss achieved at COP15 in Montreal, the release of SBTN’s first target-setting methodologies is an important step forward in enabling practical corporate action. As we have seen with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and the Science Based Targets initiative playing a key role in enabling action to tackle climate change and help making both business and finance more resilient to the physical and transition risks ahead, TNFD and SBTN guidance will play a similar role in addressing nature loss and nature risk.”
Business leaders preparing to set the first science-based targets for nature are outlined below:
Laetitia Migné, Plant-Based Sustainability Lead for Alpro (part of Danone): “As a pioneer and leader in plant-based food and drinks, our ambition is to make food a solution that preserves and regenerates nature. We aim to take a holistic and science-based approach to our sustainability efforts so we can drive real positive impact – not just considering carbon emissions, but also how we support biodiversity, water protection, and nature as a whole. That’s why we’re proud that Alpro is part of the official SBTN pilot group together with key food businesses and retailers, leading the way in preparing to set the first science-based targets for nature.”
Olivier Rigaud, CEO, Corbion: “We are thrilled to have been selected by the SBTN for this important pilot. As a company committed to sustainable and responsible business practices, we recognize that protecting and restoring nature is of critical importance to the world, and to our business. We look forward to working with the SBTN to help shape guidance on science-based targets for nature and to set achievable, science-based targets for contributing to this essential agenda.”
Regis Simard, President, Global Supply Chain, GSK: “The climate and nature crises are an urgent threat to human health. At GSK, we are getting ahead of disease by taking action on both climate and nature, across our entire value chain. As a global biopharma company with science at our core, we recognise the importance of setting science-based targets for nature. 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.”
Magali Anderson, Chief Sustainability and Innovation Officer, Holcim: “At Holcim, we take a rigorous, science-based approach to nature and are very proud to be selected by the Science Based Targets Network to be among the first group of companies to submit freshwater and land targets for validation. Setting science-based targets for nature is key to making a real and measurable impact on nature. This will be an important milestone towards our commitment to a nature-positive future, preserving and restoring biodiversity and freshwater ecosystems. Being a part of this initiative will also help us bring climate and nature closer together.”
Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer, Kering: ‘Kering is delighted to be piloting the validation process for Science-Based Targets for Nature. As illustrated by our Environmental Profit & Loss Account and Biodiversity Strategy, we are committed to the development and implementation of scientific approaches for companies to measure and manage their impacts and dependencies on nature. We are excited about this next step on our nature-positive journey, and eager to continue learning, improving and sharing insights along the way.’
Adrien Geiger, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, L’OCCITANE: “L’OCCITANE Group has set itself the ambition to contribute to a nature-positive future. To do so, we must rely on science to ensure that our actions match our impacts and nature’s needs. Joining the SBTN Initial Target Validation Pilot is a new step towards our objective to halt biodiversity loss and understand how to make business compatible with planet boundaries.”
Antoine Arnault, Image & Environment, LVMH: “As we did for climate, the Group is committed to setting science-based targets for nature and is proud to be part of the frontrunners developing the methodology.”
Salla Ahonen, Vice President Sustainability, Neste: “We are excited to be included in the initial target validation group. Biodiversity is an important part of our sustainability vision, which is strongly embedded into our company strategy. We at Neste are committed to science based targets and actions, and this pilot is a great opportunity to develop our own objectives in a credible way.”
Masaaki Fujiwara, Chief Sustainability Officer, Suntory Holdings Ltd: “As a global beverage company, nature and water is the foundation of our business. The climate, biodiversity, and water crises are deeply intertwined and it is essential to take a nexus approach for taking the right action. We believe that the science-based targets for nature will guide us to set the appropriate target and action that is truly meaningful toward nature positive.”
Sami Lundgren, Vice President, Responsibility, UPM: “UPM has a long history of enhancing biodiversity in forests, water systems and regions where we operate. We are extremely excited to be part of the expert network working on setting science-based targets for nature, following SBTN methodologies. Natural resources need to be managed sustainably and companies are at the forefront in halting the biodiversity loss. The actions and targets shall be based on science.”
ABOUT THE SCIENCE BASED TARGETS NETWORK
The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) is a unique collaboration of over 80 leading global non-profits (including the same organizations behind the Science Based Targets initiative) and mission-driven organizations who have come together to equip companies and cities with the guidance they need to stay within an environmentally safe and socially just operating corridor. SBTN is extending the concept and momentum of the Science Based Targets initiative, which helps companies mitigate their GHG emissions, to address broader environmental issues through science-based targets for nature. The Science Based Targets Network is part of the Global Commons Alliance (GCA), a growing coalition of scientists, philanthropists, businesses and innovators, inspiring new ideas and action to safeguard what’s common and precious to us all: the global commons.