An overview of science-based targets for nature

We must transform the way we live and do business in a way that protects our shared natural resources. Building on the momentum of the SBTi, the SBTN is working to enable companies and cities to set targets for climate and nature.

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In recent years, the urgency to address environmental challenges has gained significant momentum, prompting organizations across various sectors to incorporate sustainability goals into their strategies. As part of this broader movement, the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has expanded its scope beyond climate change and introduced Science-Based Targets for Nature (SBTN). In this article, we will delve into what these targets are, their relation to SBTi Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and decarbonization targets, how enterprises can integrate them into their sustainability strategies, and their connection to nature-based solutions and the carbon markets.

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What are Science-Based targets for Nature (SBTN)?

Science-Based Targets for Nature (SBTN) provide a framework for companies to set ambitious, quantifiable objectives to safeguard and restore nature. These targets address critical aspects of biodiversity, land, water, and oceans. Developed through a collaboration between organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and others, SBTN builds upon the successful methodology of SBTi in establishing science-based targets for GHG emissions reduction.

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How do SBTN relate to SBTi targets of GHG?

While SBTi primarily focuses on mitigating GHG emissions, SBTN expands the scope to encompass broader environmental concerns. By integrating both SBTi and SBTN targets, enterprises and investors can develop comprehensive sustainability strategies that align with the overarching global goal of mitigating climate change and restoring and conserving nature. This combined approach ensures a holistic approach to environmental sustainability.

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How do SBTN relate and fit into to sustainability, NbS and carbon markets?

Nature-based solutions (NbS) play a pivotal role in achieving SBTN targets. NbS refers to actions that protect, sustainably manage or restore ecosystems to deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits. By integrating NbS into their strategies, companies can enhance biodiversity, improve ecosystem services, and contribute to climate change mitigation.

Furthermore, the carbon markets enable enterprises to invest in projects that generate carbon reductions and removals through nature-based solutions. These projects sequester carbon or avoid emissions by preserving and restoring ecosystems. By purchasing carbon credits from these projects, companies can take responsibility for their residual emissions while supporting climate mitigation efforts.

So, how can an enterprise implement SBTN into its sustainability strategy?

To incorporate SBTN into their sustainability strategies, enterprises should follow a structured process:

  1. Assess Environmental Footprint: Companies should conduct a thorough analysis of their impact on biodiversity, land, water, and oceans. This assessment will serve as a baseline to identify areas for improvement and set ambitious targets

  2. Set Science-Based Targets: Once the environmental footprint is assessed, enterprises can collaborate with experts, NGOs, and stakeholders to establish science-based targets for nature. These targets should be ambitious, time-bound, and aligned with the best available scientific knowledge

  3. Implement Action Plans: After setting targets, companies shall develop action plans that outline specific measures to achieve the identified objectives. This may involve changes in production processes, responsible sourcing, habitat restoration, water conservation, or other relevant actions within and beyond their value chain

  4. Monitor and Report Progress: Continuous progress monitoring and reporting are crucial to ensure transparency and accountability. Regular evaluation enables companies to make necessary adjustments, learn from their experiences, and share best practices
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Science-Based Targets for Nature offer a science-driven approach to addressing environmental challenges beyond climate change. By incorporating SBTN into their sustainability strategies, enterprises can contribute to biodiversity conservation, land restoration, water stewardship, and ocean protection. Integrating nature-based solutions and participating in carbon markets further amplifies these efforts, providing avenues for organizations and institutions to align their business operations with the preservation of the planet as a liveable place. With collective action from the private sector, we can move closer to a sustainable future where economic prosperity goes hand in hand with the conservation of our natural heritage.

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