SBTN Takes “Integrated Approach” to Nature Targets

The first science-based targets for nature provide corporates with the guidance, methods and tools to thrive in an equitable net zero, nature-positive future.

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) has released the first science-based targets for nature, offering companies the opportunity to improve their access to capital by identifying nature-based risks and opportunities.

“Understanding and addressing their environmental impacts can help companies tackle issues, including supply chain disruptions, reputational damage, and costs from regulatory non-compliance,” Erin Billman, Executive Director at SBTN, said during a webinar, launching the targets.

The new science-based targets for nature aim to equip companies with the guidance, methods, and tools to holistically assess their environmental impacts, and prepare to set targets to address them. They are also expected to provide decision-useful information on nature-related risks to investors seeking to allocate capital in line with the objectives of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

SBTN has established a pilot group of 17 companies that are planning to set nature targets this year. These companies were selected from an applicant pool of 55 companies based on three criteria: readiness, representativeness, and impact on nature. The companies that were selected represent sectors and supply chains with a high impact on nature.

The initial group of 17 companies includes AB InBev, Alpro (part of Danone), Bel, Carrefour, Corbion, GSK, H&M Group, Hindustan Zinc, Holcim Group, Kering, L’Occitane, LVMH, Nestlé, Neste, Suntory Holdings, Tesco and UPM.

The purpose of this pilot is to ensure a robust, feasible, and clear process for companies to set targets before the full rollout, expected in early 2024.

The pilot will also help SBTN and its stakeholders to understand the anticipated process times and required resources for scaling and responding to demand for assessments, according to Billman.

“The pilot will inform the investigation of alternative validation models that best fit the complexity of the methods and plans to scale,” she said, adding that lessons learned from this pilot will be distilled into an anonymised public report.

With the initial release of science-based targets for nature, companies outside the pilot group can start their own target setting process to assess and prioritise their environmental impacts, she said.

“For companies that are not ready, resources are available to support them in getting ready.”

SBTN’s guidance has also been road-tested by over 115 companies from 25 countries, representing more than US$4 trillion in market capitalisation.

Climate-nature nexus 

SBTN has created its science-based targets for nature leveraging the momentum and foundation of work accomplished by the Science-based Targets initiative (SBTi). It did this to reflect the fact that climate is “deeply connected” to all aspects of nature, said Billman.

SBTN have designed its guidance for nature to build on companies’ existing sustainability strategies as well as with existing and upcoming standards and frameworks – including the SBTi and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) risk management and disclosure beta framework.

“We know that there’s no net zero without action on nature loss due to the interconnectedness of climate and nature,” said Nigel Topping, Global Ambassador for the UNFCCC’s High-level Climate Champions.

“We know that nature is vital to the planet, from feeding and protecting our communities to resourcing the global economy and absorbing over half of the world’s carbon emissions.

“Its importance is literally existential.”

SBTN’s guidance for companies on nature is also aligned to the latest science, including collaborating with the Earth Commission on their work to define a safe and just corridor for humanity, due to be published on 31 May

“Against the backdrop of GBF – nature’s equivalent to the Paris climate agreement – finalised 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,” said Billman.

The SBTN offers further detail on how it relates to other initiatives on its website.

Read more articles like this on Regulation Asia’s sister publication, ESG Investor.

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