UNEP-WCMC welcomes launch of nature targets and guidance for businesses

Swamp marsh nature landscape on a bright summer day

UNEP-WCMC welcomes the launch of new private sector guidance on setting targets for nature, released today by a major global consortium of conservation and development organisations and finance and sustainability experts.

The Science Based Targets Network is a collaboration of more than 80 leading organisations, including UNEP-WCMC, aiming to set targets for measurable corporate action on nature across freshwater, land, oceans and biodiversity. It follows in the footsteps of the Science Based Targets initiative, which helps companies to measure and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and validates organisations’ targets.

Today, the SBTN launches initial targets and supporting guidance for piloting by companies, focusing on freshwater and land.

The new targets look to expand on existing Science Based Targets for climate, and address impacts on ecosystems through reducing conversion and land occupation, encouraging landscape level engagement and tackling water consumption and pollution.

The preliminary guidance covers essential pressures on biodiversity-related target setting, which will be followed by iterations to integrate biodiversity in a holistic manner. UNEP-WCMC will be working with the SBTN to strengthen the integration of biodiversity in subsequent iterations of the guidance, as well as working towards guidance on how companies can respond to improve biodiversity-related performance.

UNEP-WCMC’s experts helped to create the SBTN’s assessment and prioritisation steps for companies, which is being launched alongside the land and freshwater targets – to be used by organisations ahead of their target-setting phase, to review company operations and supply chains, and identify which activities and locations they need to take action on. These steps help companies to understand the potential materiality of their activities and the site-level biodiversity importance, priorities and threats, and are supported by key biodiversity data, such as the Ecosystem Integrity Index, and tools, including the Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks and Exposure tool and the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool.  

Our team has also co-authored a biodiversity paper, which is being released alongside the land and freshwater pilot targets, explaining how biodiversity considerations are integrated into the SBTN targets so far and the process for further development of biodiversity inclusive methods.  

“This new target setting guidance – and the piloting process being undertaken by some of the world’s biggest corporations – is a hugely positive step towards giving companies the confidence to take action for nature.

We would encourage all businesses to engage with the development of targets to assess, commit and transform their operations to manage their nature-related impacts and dependencies. UNEP-WCMC looks forward to continuing to contribute our knowledge, expertise and data to support the further development, piloting and implementation of science based targets for nature, building on SBTN’s important work to-date.”

Jonny Hughes, WCMC Chief Executive Officer, and Senior Representative of UNEP-WCMC

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