Seventeen companies have signed up to a pilot project to set the first- ever science-based nature targets (SBNTs), so as to halt and reverse the impact of industrialization on biodiversity and the natural environment.
The pilot project is led by the Science-Based Target Network, a global coalition of environmental NGOs and mission-driven organizations. The network has encouraged companies to work towards emissions targets backed by the best available science, and it is now expanding to other areas of the natural environment affected by climate change.
The pilot’s initial targets focus on freshwater bodies and forests, land, and agriculture (FLAG), but more targets focusing on resources such as the ocean are expected to be unveiled in the future. The target-setting exercise gives companies an opportunity to examine, measure, and disclose the impact their operations have on the environment, and to take action to reduce that impact.
The companies setting science-based nature targets
Some of Europe’s biggest companies are participating in the pilot, including the luxury conglomerate Kering and LVMH, the fast fashion retailer H&M, the food and drink giant Nestlé, and AB-InBeV, the world’s largest brewer. A number of US companies applied to the pilot program, but they were found to be short of the maturity level needed for the pilot. The selection criteria included readiness, representation, and impact on nature.
“All pilot companies have a significant impact on nature” said Erin Billman, executive director of the Science Based Targets Network. The companies participating in the pilot are headquartered in 10 countries in Europe and Asia. But since some of these targets involve multiple parts of the supply chain, their impact is expected to be felt across all the areas of the world where the companies operate. “We anticipate that a good portion of their target setting will be more geographically distributed than that,” said Billman.
Results from the pilot are expected to be released in late 2023 or early 2024, and more companies will be able to start submitting their targets for review in 2024.
By the digits: the world’s biodiversity challenge
48: Percentage of species on Earth whose population size is declining
188: The number of countries that signed up to the COP15 agreement to halt and reverse nature loss
42,100: The number of species on Earth that are threatened with extinction
30x30: The target set in the COP15 agreement, to protect and preserve 30% of lands, freshwater, and sea by 2030
55: Percentage of world’s GDP highly dependent on nature
🧾 Businesses must first admit their part in biodiversity loss to be able to fight it
🚰 Three Western states agree to water cuts to save Colorado river
💰 How finance for climate action can reach trillions of dollars