In recent years, the concept of science-based targets has gained significant attention in the corporate sustainability world. Science-based targets are a set of emissions reduction goals that are aligned with the latest climate science and aimed at limiting global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. However, as the world faces unprecedented environmental challenges, it is becoming increasingly clear that reducing greenhouse gas emissions alone is not enough. This is where science-based targets for nature come in.
Science-based targets for nature are a new tool for companies to set goals that are aligned with the latest scientific understanding of the Earth’s natural systems. They are aimed at protecting and restoring the natural world and ensuring a sustainable future for all. These targets are based on the concept of planetary boundaries, which define the safe operating space for human activities within the Earth’s natural systems. By setting science-based targets for nature, companies can ensure that their activities are not exceeding these boundaries and are contributing to a sustainable future.
Science-based targets for nature focus on three key areas: land, ocean, and freshwater. Companies can set targets for each of these areas based on the impact of their operations and value chains. For example, a company that relies on palm oil for its products may set a target to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. Another company that uses large amounts of water in its manufacturing process may set a target to reduce its water consumption by a certain percentage.
One of the key benefits of science-based targets for nature is that they provide a framework for companies to take action on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are the foundation of human well-being, providing food, water, clean air, and many other essential services. However, these services are under threat due to habitat loss, climate change, and other factors. By setting science-based targets for nature, companies can contribute to the conservation and restoration of these essential services.
Furthermore, science-based targets for nature can also lead to cost savings and increased efficiency. For example, companies that reduce their water consumption can save money on water bills and wastewater treatment. Companies that invest in sustainable agriculture practices can reduce their reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, leading to cost savings and increased productivity.
In addition to the business benefits, science-based targets for nature can also enhance a company’s reputation and brand. Consumers are increasingly aware of environmental issues and are more likely to support companies that share their values. By setting science-based targets for nature, companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and build trust and loyalty with customers.
In conclusion, science-based targets for nature are the next step in corporate sustainability. By setting targets that are aligned with the latest scientific understanding of the Earth’s natural systems, companies can ensure that their activities are contributing to a sustainable future for all. Science-based targets for nature provide a framework for action on biodiversity and ecosystem services, leading to cost savings, increased efficiency, and enhanced reputation. By working together towards a common goal, businesses can create value that benefits both people and the planet.9 April 2023