Frequently Asked Questions
Who is SBTN?
To enable a global economy in which companies and cities operate within environmental boundaries on a socially equitable basis, through implementing science-based targets (SBTs) that reduce and improve their impact on nature and society.
- Equip companies and cities with the guidance they need to set integrated science-based targets across all Earth systems. Note SBTN’s current focus is on developing corporate science-based targets.
- Build on the progress of establishing corporate science-based targets for climate to achieve widespread adoption of corporate science-based targets on water, land, biodiversity, and ocean.
- Demonstrate significant progress in line with key global policy milestones like the SDGs, and goals and targets under the UNFCCC, UNCCD, CBD, by developing an indicator framework that tracks how SBT setters deliver progress.
- Work to embed adoption of science-based targets for nature within capital markets by partnering with policy makers, financial institutions and service providers such as benchmarkers and credit agencies.
- Consolidated approach: The methods and targets designed by SBTN are being built on existing sustainability tools, approaches, and platforms, providing an efficient and effective resource for business users.
- Practicality: We are working with end users to “road-test” draft methods and ensure that SBTs are practical and intuitive for companies, irrespective of industry and where they sit on the value chain.
- Credibility: The guidance is being developed by experts from the world’s leading environmental NGOs, governmental organizations, purpose-driven consultancies, ambitious businesses, and society-minded business coalitions. The guidance is grounded in the best available science defining what is necessary for business and cities to do their part to stay within Earth’s limits.
- Stability: While the science will continue to evolve, SBTN’s framework for setting SBTs will be designed for long-term use. In SBTN’s Initial Guidance for Business, we provide a series of principles that we are using for selecting indicators and best practices for target implementation that can underpin ambitious corporate action for nature. These can ensure that resources invested by companies have a lasting impact.
- Prioritization: The SBTN approach to target setting will help companies prioritize places and issue areas for action, using the best available science, so that companies can confidently address their most urgent impacts and dependencies.
- Communication and alignment: The approach to setting SBTs lends itself to straightforward communication about the corporate target-setting journey. Using the terminology of the five-step process (see following “What are SBTs” section), companies can say “I am at Assess: Step 1” or “I am on Act: Step 4 and Track: Step 5.” This is helpful for internal stakeholders, as well as stakeholders like investors, NGOs, and third-party monitors. Given that the targets companies can set using SBTN’s methodologies are explicitly aligned with global societal frameworks for action, SBTs can be used to quickly communicate which issues they are contributing toward resolving (e.g., land and sea use change, ocean and freshwater resource exploitation). SBTN’s guidance on indicators will help ensure companies are measuring the right indicators and are able to assess how these contribute toward their desired outcome. By aligning with society’s long-term goals, companies can ensure their business is moving in the right direction.
- Controlled tradeoffs and increased co-benefits: A key advantage of integrated SBTs is that they are being designed to recognize the interconnection of issue areas. This allows companies to take action on multiple issues at once and not create new problems. When designed and implemented correctly, SBTs can help resolve interrelated climate and nature risks, including:
- creating resilience to climate hazards like heat waves, floods, and droughts
- conserving freshwater resources and increasing water security
- regenerating land systems
- supporting healthy, diverse oceans
- conserving biodiversity and preventing species extinction
- ensuring equal opportunities for societies to sustain a decent living and to access the benefits of the transition toward a zero emission, nature-positive future.
SBTN is a network of 60+ NGOs, business associations, and mission-driven consultancies contributing their expertise to collectively define what is necessary to do “enough” to stay within Earth’s limits. SBTN’s Network Council, comprised of our core partners, guides our strategic decision-making. SBTN is part of the Global Commons Alliance, a network of organizations working to ensure that societies and the global economy thrive, sustained by healthy global commons, on a stable planet.
There are four different hubs that sit within SBTN: the biodiversity hub, the freshwater hub, the land hub, and the ocean hub, with SBTi as our external climate hub. These hubs are developing the different methods that feed into SBTs for nature. Various NGO partners either lead or engage directly in those hubs. The cross-cutting technical team from the core Network team sits across these hubs. Partners and team members involved in the hubs can be found here.
What are SBTs?
We define science-based targets (SBTs) as measurable, actionable, and time-bound objectives, based on the best available science, that allow actors to align with Earth’s limits and societal sustainability goals.
We define nature as all non-human living entities and their interaction with other living or non-living entities and processes (IPBES Global Assessment 2019). This definition recognizes that interactions bind humans and nature, and nature’s subcomponents (e.g., species, soils, rivers, nutrients), to one another. This definition also recognizes that air pollution, climate regulation, and carbon cycles are part of “nature” more broadly, and therefore, when we talk about acting for nature, we are talking about acting on issues related to climate change, as well.
For further definitions, see the SBTN Glossary.
We are working on SBTs for a wide variety of environmental issues, centered around the key drivers of nature loss as identified by the IPBES: land/sea use change, resource exploitation, pollution, climate change, and invasives. IPBES has identified that these drivers (or what SBTN calls “pressures”) of nature loss occur across three main domains: terrestrial, freshwater, and marine. SBTs for nature will help companies reduce their contribution to these drivers, across all three systems, and ultimately mitigate threats to biodiversity, at the levels of species, ecosystems and nature’s contributions to people (NCPs).
The first release of SBTs for nature in early 2023 will allow companies to address issues related to water use and water pollution, with company targets on water withdrawals from surface and groundwater and on nutrient loading (nitrogen and phosphorus) to surface water bodies. These targets will mainly help reduce companies’ impacts on water use and pollution in freshwater systems. Initial methods to set targets on land are under development, but they are expected to focus on pressures of greenhouse gas emissions from land and land use change (in liaison with the upcoming SBTi FLAG standard for land sectors), as well as pressures of land occupation, conversion, and degradation. These targets will help reduce company contributions to the IPBES drivers of land use (and use change), resource exploitation, pollution, and climate in terrestrial systems.
Subsequent releases of SBTs for nature, beyond 2023, will increase the scope of issues that SBTN is able to cover with its guidance, in line with the latest science and development within the Network.
The definition of nature used by SBTN includes both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components. Hence, SBTN uses indicators for the State of Nature (SoN) that cover both of these types of components. In SBTs for nature v1 released in 2023, SoN indicators such as water availability, water quality, land degradation, ecosystem extent, and species extinction risk are used. These help contextualize the importance of corporate impacts (Assess: Step 1), guide the definition of the target boundary (Prioritize: Step 2), and to determine ambition levels for targets (Measure: Step 3).
The high level process is as follows.
To understand our foundational guidance for setting SBTs for nature, we recommend you read our Initial Guidance for Business.
The key steps companies should get started on today are “Assess” (Step 1) and “Interpret & Prioritize” (Step 2). Companies can use our guidance to assess their potential impacts on nature and determine where these occur throughout their value chain(s). This may be an involved process and is best started early.
For “Measure, Set & Disclose” (Step 3), it is not possible to set SBTN-validated SBTs for nature until early 2023, when we release the first set of SBTs for nature. Until then, we have identified interim targets that companies can set once they have gone through the steps above and understand where they have material impacts on nature.
For “Act” (Step 4), we suggest a hierarchical approach to action (The AR3T Action Framework) which calls for first avoiding, then reducing impacts where avoidance is not possible, followed by restoring ecosystems and regenerating natural capital stocks. Protecting nature is about ensuring a public “good” – thus, how we act must include not only reduction of “bad” actions (e.g., mitigation of pollution), but also increasing the “good” (e.g., restoring and regenerating nature). Though listed last, transform is not the final step; instead, a company should be constantly working to transform its business model and practices to enable its own transition toward positive impact and to unlock broader systemic change to deliver on society’s goals for nature and people throughout the entire process.
For “Track” (Step 5), initial guidance on how companies can monitor, report, and get verification on progress on their targets can be found in the Initial Guidance for Business.
Some adjustments in the above process will need to be made for companies who have already done (significant) sustainability work. This process is not linear but rather has feedback connections between many steps.
Today, companies can set SBTs on climate change using the methodologies provided by the Science Based Targets initiative. For cities, guidance to set climate SBTs is available using SBTN’s guide and flowchart tool. Cities setting these targets should disclose them through existing reporting platforms, e.g., CDP/ICLEI or MyCovenant.
Companies can begin to set SBTs for nature in early 2023 when SBTN releases SBTs for nature v1. This will include “Set Target” (Step 3) methods for baselining, target setting, and disclosure which cover freshwater use and pollution as well as land, alongside climate from SBTi.
For pressure categories not yet covered fully by SBTN target setting methods in SBTs for nature v1, SBTN recommends companies evaluate their impacts using guidance in “Assess” and “Prioritize” (Steps 1 and 2) and set interim targets as outlined here, or make other general commitments to take action in the absence of SBTN guidance.
For cities, guidance on nature SBTs is to follow, pending capacity.
Companies will set separate targets for each pressure material for their business. This means that companies will have separate targets for freshwater use, freshwater pollution, land use change, climate change, etc. For internal reporting and external communications, companies may communicate about these as “targets for freshwater,” “targets for land,” and also as “targets for nature” when grouping these together. The distinction between pressures is essential, however, for the process of setting targets (Step 1-3), for planning action plans (Step 4), and tracking progress against targets (Step 5). The process of validation being developed by SBTN is likely to check that companies have set targets for each of the pressures expected to be material for their business, before they can make claims about having set “SBTs for nature” as an integrated and comprehensive milestone.
The first release of SBTs for nature in early 2023 will have integrated guidance on impact assessment and prioritization (Step 1 and Step 2 of the target setting process) and independent target-setting methodologies (Step 3) for each pressure. Having separate target setting methods allows companies the flexibility to work on different sets of issues, depending on the outcomes of their materiality assessment.
Please see our business benefits for SBTs document here. You may also find our interactive Executive Summary document helpful for engaging your stakeholders.
We will be looking to develop further supporting resources over time and will update this list as more become available.
SBTN is developing a set of validation criteria designed as safeguards to guarantee companies have correctly and completely followed the methods. These validation criteria must be met before targets are accepted and companies are approved to make claims associated with those targets.
A validation process to guide companies through the required process to prepare and submit its targets for validation will also be provided. We will commence validating SBTs in 2023, after the first methodologies are launched.
Initial guidance on how companies can monitor, report, and get verification on progress on their targets can be found in the Initial Guidance for Business as part of “Track” (Step 5). SBTN is also developing additional guidance, which is forthcoming.
In addition to drawing from the scientific expertise of the organizations comprising SBTN, SBTN works with the Earth Commission, a group of leading scientists (with key authors of the IPCC and IPBES) convened by Future Earth, the world’s largest network of sustainability scientists. The Earth Commission’s mission is to assess the latest science and define, for the first time, safe and just Earth system boundaries for people and planet. SBTN and the Earth Commission are core components of the Global Commons Alliance.
A number of Earth Commissioners are experts in the Planetary Boundaries framework, including one of Earth Commission’s co-chairs, Johan Rockström. The Earth Commission’s work will improve upon the Planetary Boundaries framework by mapping out the interconnections between different systems or boundaries, adding a focus on equity and improvements in the quality of life for the most vulnerable. The first assessment has been submitted for peer review and will be published in early 2023.
The long-term goal of SBTN’s collaboration with the Earth Commission will be to contribute to our understanding of: a) biophysical thresholds relevant to target setting, b) the integration of social safeguards into our methods, and c) the interconnections between targets and response options.
A safe and just operating space for humanity entails staying within planetary boundaries of multiple Earth systems – not just one. Action on climate change that ignores the other planetary boundaries cannot ensure we are able to reach and stay in a safe operating space (Lade et al. 2019).
Action on climate change reduces one of the key drivers of nature’s loss and degradation (IPBES 2019), but we must also explicitly take action to curtail the other drivers and pressures (e.g., resource exploitation, land and sea use, and invasive species) pushing nature towards irreversible tipping points. Otherwise, we jeopardize nature’s capacity to deliver key functions for the climate system, such as carbon absorption. If instead we link action on climate and nature, we will design solutions which have greater overall positive impact for the Earth – and its people – and avoid shifting the burden from one subsystem to another.
To accomplish this goal, we will draw on the outputs of the Earth Commission, which will be using integrated assessment models and scenario analysis to develop pathways toward a safe and just future that creates more co-benefits and minimizes tradeoffs between impacts on different systems.
For climate, the goal to which targets correspond (1.5C) addresses a single driver: GHG emissions. Actors must reduce their contributions to emissions, but have freedom in determining the ways in which to do so. SBTs for nature must account for several additional complexities:
- There is currently no singular, overarching global goal around which we can organize ourselves to take action for nature.
- The drivers of nature loss are multiple, varied, and interlinked.
- For climate, the key indicator to track is (reduction or increase in) GHGs; for nature, we need to track indicators related to biodiversity, water, land, and the ocean.
- Whereas action for climate change can happen anywhere, nature’s loss and degradation are location-specific, both in the drivers and consequences; we must therefore ask where to act to attain critical outcomes.
We are designing SBTs to address the needs of both the environment and people. We do this in a few ways:
- By applying a societal materiality lens in the process of setting SBTs. Companies and cities setting targets are required to look beyond issues which are financially material in the short term, and to issues which are significant for the well-being of the people with whom they share the landscapes they inhabit.
- By building off of the Earth Commission’s work defining a safe and just corridor for humanity. The level of ambition that companies are asked to exhibit will be attached to that safe and just corridor, including what’s needed to ensure humanity enters and stays within it.
- By determining how much action is needed, and by tracking progress against targets, with indicators used in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- By encouraging companies and cities setting targets to work with local stakeholders directly to determine response options they can use to meet their targets, and how much action is needed to do so.
All companies can contribute to a nature-positive future, though this does not mean that all companies inherently do contribute to nature-positive future. By setting SBTs for nature, using methods developed by SBTN, companies can have greater certainty that they will contribute toward positive outcomes. In addition to using SBTN methods, there are a number of criteria that companies should consider as they evaluate whether or not they are contributing towards nature-positive outcomes, or nature-negative outcomes.
Foremostly, companies should ensure they are acting to address all of the key pressures, material to their business, that are driving the loss of nature and fueling nature-negative trends in biodiversity. These include:
- Land and sea use change;
- Resource exploitation;
- Climate change;
- Pollution; and
- Invasive alien species
SBTs for nature will enable companies to avoid and reduce their contributions towards these key pressures, while also identifying locations where companies should invest in regenerative and restorative solutions to improve the state of nature. These response options unlocked through the SBT-setting process are in line with the mitigation hierarchy and SBTN’s Action Framework ‘A3RT’ first introduced in the SBTN Initial Guidance for Business in 2020.
An organization’s alignment with the mitigation hierarchy can also be an indication of whether or not it is contributing toward a nature-positive future. Following the Initial Guidance, the hierarchy of actions to take includes:
Avoid: Prevent and impact from happening in the first place; eliminate the impact entirely.
Reduce: Minimize impacts as far as reasonably possible, recognizing total elimination may not be possible within the current business model or due to production practices.
Regenerate: Take actions designed within existing ecosystem use paradigms (i.e. in respect of local needs) to increase the biophysical function and/or ecological productivity of an ecosystem or its components, often with a focus on a few specific nature’s contributions to people (e.g., regenerative agriculture often focuses on carbon sequestration, food production, and nitrogen and phosphorus retention).
Restore: Initiate or accelerate the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity, and sustainability (defined in collaboration with local stakeholders and in consideration of indigenous and traditional knowledge), with a focus on permanent changes in state and partnerships with local stakeholders.
Transform: Take actions contributing to system-wide change, notably to alter the drivers of nature loss, e.g. through technological, economic, institutional, and social factors and changes in underlying values and behaviors.
Please see our perspective on nature-positive, and our partner WBCSD’s work on building blocks for nature-positive here for further information. Please see this latest report from the World Economic Forum on Measuring Nature-positive Outcomes from Business Actions for more detail on how to evaluate company contributions towards nature-positive outcomes, in line with the SBTN framework.
The methodologies we are developing will address issues related to allocation: how much each actor needs to contribute toward avoiding/reducing negative environmental impacts and improving the state of nature in a given location.
Currently, methods to set targets on water quantity and quality rely on the equal contraction approach to allocation, which is a practical approach that nevertheless poses some challenges with regards to fairness and equity. The equal contraction approach was chosen because it is feasible to implement, with low additional data requirements. Methods to set targets on land, still under development, may have to rely on the same approach to allocation in SBTs for nature v1. We will explore alternative approaches to allocation with experts and stakeholders involved in common resource management to implement alternative approaches in future SBTN methods.
How does SBTN relate to other initiatives?
SBTN and its partners are fully aware that clarity is needed on the variety of tools, frameworks, and methodologies that are currently available for companies to begin – or continue – their journey. We worked with Business for Nature (BfN) and 14 other partner organizations to create a high-level business action framework, Assess – Commit – Transform – Disclose (ACT-D), to simplify the sustainability landscape for companies and serve as an entry point for companies looking to take the more specific step of setting science-based targets for nature.
ACT-D builds on existing action frameworks and guidance, including the Science Based Targets for Nature Initial Guidance for Business, Natural Capital Protocol, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) building blocks “What nature positive means to business?”, Business for Nature’s “Steps to be nature positive,” and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) framework (currently in beta version). The framework document created with this coalition promotes consistency in English language terms used, demonstrates how different tools and methodologies are connected, and highlights a set of actions businesses should take to halt and reverse nature loss.
The organizations behind the Science Based Targets initiative are among the core founding partners of the Network. SBTi focuses on SBTs for climate, for companies. Recognizing that more is needed in order to guarantee a safe future, SBTN is developing methods to set targets on all aspects of the environment (not just those related to climate) for companies, and ultimately for cities as well.
WWF’s technical staff are the leaders of the SBTi Forest, Land and Agriculture project (SBTi FLAG) and play key technical roles in SBTN’s Network Hub and Land Hub.
The FLAG project is developing SBTi-compliant pathways for land intensive sectors for 1.5 and well-below 2 degree pathways. It provides a target setting methodology based on land-related greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The focus is therefore on climate change, and the actions companies take to address these emissions will maximize emissions reductions and removals.
SBTN’s science-based targets on land transformation and land occupation targets will be built around multiple indicators of impact on land (e.g., soil organic carbon, deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution). These targets will incentivize a more comprehensive suite of corporate responses that, while often aligned with climate objectives, will be more aligned with what nature needs. Initial targets on land will be included in SBTs for nature v1, available in early 2023.
The FLAG project brings forward lessons from its experience to inform how SBTi and SBTN can align on a target setting methodology that contributes toward improvements for climate and nature in unison, and also develop specific guidance on restoration and regeneration actions.
The SBTN Freshwater Hub is currently progressing with this piece of work. Relevant guidance is expected to be issued with the official first release of SBTs for nature v1.
The definition of science-based targets emphasizes alignment with societal goals. A key framework we center in our work is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which lays out the SDGs. Currently, we are creating an indicator framework that allows companies to measure their contribution toward the SDGs most directly related to nature: SDGs 6, 12, 13, 14, and 15. We will explore ways in which SBTs can contribute toward the other SDGs in the second phase of SBT design (post-2022).
SBTN, Business for Nature, and the Capitals Coalition are close partners. Business for Nature promotes greater policy ambition to reverse nature loss and counts SBTs for nature as a mechanism for companies to demonstrate the ambition to do their part. The Capitals Coalition enables companies to value nature in their decision making. The process of setting SBTs can draw on the outputs of the Coalition’s Natural Capital Protocol, where companies have already carried these out.
Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems in ways that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, to provide both human well-being and biodiversity benefits (see IUCN Global Standard, 2020.) When designed correctly, NBS have the potential to deliver key benefits for both people and nature. They are key strategies for companies to consider delivering on their nature and climate goals in unison, and hence they can be part of a suite of potential response options that companies can take to achieve their SBTs for nature (in Act: Step 4 of SBTN’s 5-step framework). As NBS address multiple issues at once, they can help deliver progress on multiple targets (i.e., land, water, biodiversity, etc.) at the same time.
Sustainable or responsible certification standards are widely used mechanisms to increase the sustainability of commodity sourcing. They contain numerous practices and outcome-based metrics to guide the mitigation of negative impacts on the environment (land, water, and ocean) and social systems – on which commodity production depends. Companies can leverage these mechanisms, as they provide value chain visibility and can give insight on the existent production and management practices in the landscape. This can provide companies with better data to use in their target setting journey, instead of relying on general or industry averages. They will also impact baseline values that companies use to set targets. While certifications focus actions on reducing impacts within a commodity supply chain, SBTs will encourage action beyond the company’s direct supply chain to drive restoration and transformation at a system level.
Both the SBTN and Circular Economy initiatives aim to keep companies’ impacts within planetary boundaries and require companies to transform their business models. Many principles and commonly used practices of the Circular Economy can help companies reduce their pressures on the environment. For example, by reducing their material and energy throughputs and eliminating their waste streams, companies can reduce pressures on SBTN indicators such as water use and land use. There is thus a mutually beneficial relationship between circularity principles and actions to achieve SBTs.
SBTN encourages companies to disclose their environmental data to disclosure platforms such as CDP, and according to standards such as GRI, SASB, TCFD, etc. This is a key action companies can pursue while SBTN continues to develop methods. We recognize that we are developing SBTs on top of a well-populated landscape of reporting and disclosure; we are trying to avoid adding to a reporting burden, align as much as possible with existing platforms and standards, and increase ambition level on something companies are already measuring. At the same time, SBTN is 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.
By setting SBTs with SBTN, companies can meet the requirements of disclosure frameworks such as GRI, CDP, TCFD and TNFD (in development), and demonstrate to the investor community that their company is addressing and managing their impacts and dependencies on nature.
SBTN and TNFD share the same vision: transforming business models toward a nature positive economy, based on the best available science. SBTN is equipping companies with the guidance to set science-based targets for nature. TNFD, in turn, is working to create a framework for companies and financial institutions to manage and disclose their nature-related risks. SBTN and TNFD are working actively together (SBTN is one of 16 TNFD Knowledge Partners) to ensure alignment in the way those nature-related risks are understood, framed, and addressed by companies and financial institutions, so they can incorporate nature into their decision-making processes in the most impactful and efficient way.
Specifically, the TNFD beta framework has adopted SBTN’s definitions of impacts and dependencies on nature, reflecting the foundational and methodological parallels between both initiatives. The critical importance of SBTN’s second target-setting step, for companies to prioritize action based on geographic location, is also reflected in the first step of TNFD’s framework.
A next collective step will be to provide consistent guidance to companies about what data companies will be expected to collect (for SBTs) and disclose (for TNFD). The goal is to have as integrated an approach as possible for companies to set science-based targets through SBTN and manage and disclose nature-related risks through TNFD.
We will have several points of intersection. Most of the Align partners are also SBTN partners or consultants that are part of the Corporate Engagement Program and other SBTN working groups and advisory bodies. The goal and scope of our two initiatives are slightly different because the Align project is more tilted towards natural capital accounting and based in monetary measurements, whereas SBTs are focused on science and are more based in biophysical measurements.
Investors and financial institutions are critical actors for catalyzing and ensuring system change. SBTs for nature can become useful tools for investors and financial institutions to identify and engage with companies that are taking action to transition to a nature positive future, based on the best available science, ultimately contributing to an investment decision process that incorporates nature and sustainability.
Public institutions are critical to solving the dual crises of climate change and nature loss.
For companies setting targets, SBTN strongly encourages that as they address their environmental impacts, they also engage with policy makers to push for more ambitious policy where needed. When companies make voluntary commitments to set science-based targets for nature, it will enable and engender stronger voluntary action for nature and climate, in turn enabling stronger policy through positive “ambition loops” (Ambition Loop).
On the whole, direct collaboration on policy and legislation is beyond SBTN’s remit, but our methods and targets seek to contribute to public policy goals. To ensure a regulatory space which is supportive of SBTs, we look to our partners within the Global Commons Alliance, namely the Earth Commission, and our partners within SBTN, namely Business for Nature.
Alignment with public policy is a top priority for SBTN as we strive to develop methods that contribute to societal goals. As the issues driving the loss of nature are location-specific and operate at different temporal and spatial scales, policy alignment needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
In SBTs for nature v1, the methodologies for freshwater use and pollution require engagement with local governments, agencies, and other stakeholders to identify policy priorities and objectives related to water flows and nutrient pollution. The methods use scientific models to align a company’s individual efforts with these societal objectives. When local policies are not available (or can’t be linked to the scientific models), the methods use global models to define safe and sustainable targets applicable to most regions. Methods to set targets on land issues, including terrestrial biodiversity, are still under development. As part of this development process, SBTN is identifying key policies to build alignment, as well as designing the required guidelines and criteria to produce this alignment.
For future developments, we are seeking to streamline local policy alignment and to develop guidance and criteria to align targets with international agreements and national directives and standards.
What are SBTN’s products?
Below are the core categories of SBTN’s product development and associated upcoming products:
- Guidance introducing and explaining the high-level process to set SBTs. SBTN’s Initial Guidance became available in September 2020
- A “how to” corporate manual serving as the primary reference point for companies to set SBTs for nature will be available as part of SBTs for nature v1 in early 2023.
- Supplementary technical documentation providing the scientific foundation and the complete technical steps and validation criteria to set SBTs
- Detailed methodologies for companies to assess and prioritize their impacts on nature, and enable them to progress to setting targets, first on freshwater and land, will be available as part of SBTs for nature v1 in early 2023.
- Validation Criteria and Claims Guidance telling companies what information they must provide to SBTN to have their targets validated and make claims against their target-setting for nature
- A set of validation criteria designed as safeguards to guarantee companies have correctly and completely followed the methods will be provided as part of SBTs for nature v1 in early 2023. A validation process to guide companies through the required process to prepare and submit its targets for validation will also be provided. Claims guidance for companies will also be provided as part of SBTs for nature v1.
- Tools to support and facilitate the target-setting process
How can companies get started today?
- Engage with SBTN to develop and finalize methods
- Begin gathering data
- Use recommended tools to gather data on your value chain impacts and dependencies, particularly spatial information, which is key for the hotspot assessment.
- Collaborate with stakeholders within your value chain or the landscapes/seascapes where you operate in order to collect data.
- Where possible, measure and set targets once you understand your company’s material impacts on nature
- Use available methods to set targets and measure your baseline impacts.
- Set SBTs or ambitious targets where methods already exist (e.g., for climate, land use change, and water). Reference recommended interim targets.
- Integrate SBTN’s principles for target implementation into your operations to the extent possible.
- Get ready to disclose in line with guidance from SBTN and TNFD’s draft disclosure recommendations.
- Start transforming your business
- Commit to an ambitious, high-level goal for nature at your company.
- Support nature-friendly policy by committing to businessfornature.org.
Please see our Initial Guidance for more information on how to undertake the actions above.
There are currently 90+ companies, ~60 consultants, and 13 industry coalitions engaging directly with SBTN through the Corporate Engagement Program to road-test our guidance. In addition, we have approximately 30 companies working indirectly with SBTN through our partner network.
- Co-create: Give feedback on the design to create more user-friendly and cost effective methods and tools
- Get strategic insight: Gain strategic insight into cutting-edge science and approaches to science-based targets for nature so you can better align your company’s sustainability goals and strategy
- Prioritize: If your company wants to take action on nature and is not sure how to begin, SBTN’s guidance offers tools and approaches to help companies understand and prioritize which issues and geographies to take action on and what types of action to take
- Share: SBTN offers participants a public platform to share use-cases on how you are implementing aspects of the initial guidance
- Indicate alignment: Indicate your organization’s alignment with SBTN’s vision and goals
- Join learning sessions: SBTN conducts webinars on various topics for the participant community to address common questions