Develop targets aligning with Science Based Targets for Nature framework- including initial targets and commitments around ‘avoid & reduce’, ‘restore & regenerate’ and ‘transform’.
a. These targets can be reframed and added to after 2022, at which time the SBTN framework will be finalized by the scientific community.
b. The targets will include commitment to specific actions in specific geographies/supply chains
c. The targets for ‘avoid’, ‘reduce’, ‘restore & regenerate’ will focus on company-specific actions while the actions for transform will focus on collective action and collaboration in addition to company-specific actions
d. The Targets will be measured and applied against a clear established baseline
WHAT IS TARGET SETTING?
Companies are under increasing pressure to set specific, measurable and timebound targets for different environmental impacts that help meet global commitments made under UN agreements such as the UNFCCC and UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and are proportionate to a company’s impacts. In 2022, the CBD is set to release its guidance on what global goals for biodiversity will be, and companies will be encouraged to set targets that align with these. The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) provides companies with a defined path to set targets, meet those targets and monitor progress. Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what science deems is needed to stay within earth’s limits and ecological thresholds, and are proportionate to a company’s level of responsibility based on the scale of their impacts.
Targets can be pressure, state or response based. Pressure-based targets track the threats to biodiversity, such as how much pollution was released during the processing of leather that a company buys. State-based targets relate to the condition and status of biodiversity like the extent of habitat species populations, etc. For example, what proportion of your purchases are certified by schemes that support biodiversity? Or, how many sectoral collaboration processes are you involved in?
These three types of targets are important because they have implications for how a company can respond to and act on its biodiversity impacts. Pressure and state targets are essential for ensuring that action leads to results for biodiversity in the real world and are consequently a significant focus of the SBTN. However, pressure and state targets can be more challenging for a company to monitor, especially when they are far removed from impacts via their supply chain. Response targets are more easily monitored, but effort is required to ensure they lead to genuine outcomes. For more information on how to monitor and report on pressure, state and response targets, see the section ‘Reporting and transparency’.
Pressure vs. State targets
Assessing impacts on biodiversity can rely on a variety of indicators, many of which can be categorised within a pressure-state-response (PSR) framework. The PSR framework describes the cyclical relationship of the pressures exerted on a system (in this case biodiversity),the resultant impact those pressures have on the biodiversity “state”, and the responses which are taken to mitigate these pressures (see figure below).
Each of the components feed into the others. For example, pressure from land use change causes a loss of biodiversity – or a change of “state” – which prompts a company response, such as implementing a zero-deforestation commitment, which is intended to reduce land use change. Indicators of pressure, state and response indicators are all useful in monitoring different aspects of a company’s interventions to protect and improve biodiversity. Additionally, because state indicators can take a long time to respond to effort, pressure and response indicators can enable companies to report on progress earlier.
The SBTN will also be publishing further guidance on how to set and monitor against the different types.
|Pressure indicators identify and track the major threats to biodiversity e.g., land use conversion
|State indicators refer to the condition of biodiversity itself e.g., number of individuals in a population
|Response indicators identify and track actions to protect or restore biodiversity
Table 2: Pressure – State – Response indicators, their function and key attributes for business decision making
Figure 1: Pressure – State – Response model for taking biodiversity action
WHY SET TARGETS?
Companies set targets because they help set the scale of ambition. They also help the company track progress and stay accountable to itself and its stakeholders.
Targets need to be science-based because they have to take into account the scale of the ecological crisis that the planet faces, rather than what a company feels they can achieve within a given budget, or what sounds good to stakeholders. To varying extents, this has been the tendency for nature-related commitments in the past, and partly as a result of this, targets and actions have not been sufficient for humanity to remain within planetary boundaries.
Science-based targets are designed to help a company set targets that are achievable, proportionate to their impact, whilst doing what’s needed to stay within planetary boundaries.
WHO SHOULD SET TARGETS?
While any company is encouraged to set science-based targets, larger companies with more resources are expected move first, and support their suppliers to take actions to help meet those targets. However, even small companies can realistically set targets that can deliver meaningful positive changes for biodiversity in their supply chains.
HOW SHOULD COMPANIES SET TARGETS?
To set science-based targets, companies will need to undertake some form of assessment (see ‘Understanding biodiversity impacts’). This step helps a company identify what its impacts are and to set a baseline. The next step is to use these assessments to inform a proportionate target or targets.
A proportionate target is one that helps a company take on their ‘fair share’ of the action needed to keep us within planetary boundaries. The way a company can do this is to look at global goals (for example, via the Convention on Biological Diversity [CBD] or G7 Global Compact) that aim to keep us within planetary boundaries, and to assess ‘how much’ of that goal should be taken on by the company.
The SBTN is developing guidance on how a company should set proportionate targets. It is likely to involve looking at a company’s relative contribution to the impact (for example, percentage of land occupied by a company, percentage contribution to global pollution, etc) or based on a broad economic measure such as percentage of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Generally speaking, companies are advised to set targets along the pillars of the Avoid, Reduce, Restore and Regenerate and Transform (AR3T) framework. The AR3T steps are based on the mitigation hierarchy- a common conservation approach that ensures impacts are avoided as a priority, before remaining impacts are reduced or restored. For examples of targets aligned with the AR3T framework, see the table below. Targets should always be quantitative and timebound.
|Description from STBN initial guidance for business
|Prevent impact from happening in the first place; eliminate the impact entirely
|“Remove deforestation and conversion of natural habitat from our production base by 2025”
“Remove x chemical in the processing of the leather we purchase by 2023”
“Support the active conservation and protection of X hectares of natural habitat in our priority sourcing regions”
|Take actions designed within existing land uses to increase the biophysical function and/
or ecological productivity of an ecosystem or its
components, often with a focus on a few specific
nature’s contributions to people (e.g., regenerative
agriculture often focuses on carbon sequestration,
food production, and nitrogen and phosphorus
|Reduce overall impact on biodiversity, for example:
“Our company commits to reducing our purchase of raw materials, replacing with post-consumer recycled materials, by x% by 2030”
“Reduce our impact on biodiversity by reducing the land area required to produce our materials by X% by 2030”
“Deliver no net loss for new impacts on biodiversity due to changes in sourcing, compared to a 2020 baseline”
|Restore and regenerate
|Initiate or accelerate the recovery of an
ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity, and
sustainability, with a focus on permanent changes
|“Ensure x hectares of our production base are under regenerative agricultural practices that increase biodiversity by 2030”
“Source 100% of our key raw materials from certified sustainable sources working with regenerative principles by 2030”
“Restore X hectares of degraded land by 2040”
|« Take actions contributing to system-wide change,
notably to alter the drivers of nature loss, e.g.
through technological, economic, institutional, and
social factors and changes in underlying values
and behaviors »
|“Work with [Sectoral collaboration group] to develop shared approaches to reducing the biodiversity impact of our sector”
“Our company will work with our suppliers to ensure they and the materials they provide meet our sustainability requirements. Any suppliers not meeting requirements after x years will be excluded.”
“Our company will work in x landscape programmes in our most high-risk sourcing areas to protect natural habitat in the production base”
|Note, the targets should be proportional to the company’s impacts and/or size. Further guidance on how to estimate a proportional contribution will be released in 2022
Table 3: Aligning company targets with the SBTN AR3T framework
ARE THERE ANY TOOLS THAT CAN SUPPORT TARGET SETTING?
Since target setting is context-specific, depending on many variables including a company’s size, impacts and ambition, there is no tool to help this step per se, and is usually conducted by companies through dialogue with internal and external stakeholders. However, there are guidelines on how to frame them, such as the following:
Note! There are also tools to help set baseline via impact assessments (see section ‘Understand biodiversity impacts’), which can then be used to set quantitative targets drawing on some of the frameworks listed below.
Accountability Framework Initiative focusses on biodiversity impacts related to deforestation and conversion of land. It contains guidance on how companies can set strong targets related to the impacts occurring within their supply chains specifically. Given the focus on zero deforestation/conversion, the targets set under this framework relate most closely to the “avoidance” step of the AR3T framework.
Biodiversity Benchmark has been developed by the Textile Exchange in partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy and Conservation International, allowing fashion companies to understand their impacts and dependencies and create a pathway to delivering biodiversity positive outcomes, by way of setting targets and goals. The tool follows the AR3T framework to ensure alignment for signatories to the Science-Based Targets Network. Using the tool will allow companies to benchmark their progress within the fashion sector.
One Planet Approach Framework is an eight-step approach designed to support companies to set science-based targets for multiple issue areas including biodiversity, which will be aligned with the SBTN. The process is clear, and guidance is provided for each step and how to implement it. Produced in collaboration with WWF, it will allow you to set targets which are specific to your company, but which are aligned with global goals by relating back to the concept of planetary boundaries.
Guidelines for Planning and Monitoring Corporate Biodiversity Performance, developed by IUCN, helps companies to set goals/targets which are based on their most major impacts to biodiversity and which are defined in relation to an overall “biodiversity vision” for that company. It gives guidance on how to define robust goals, including examples which may be relevant to you as a company, and helps identify strategies that help to realise those goals through directed action.
Biodiversity Guidance Navigation Tool guides users through the different steps outlined by the Capitals Coalition for conducting a Natural Capital Assessment. A Natural Capital Assessment looks at not only the impacts a company is having on nature, but also the dependencies it has. This allows targets to be set that prioritise the benefits for nature, and the benefits for your company. This tool is specifically designed to help guide companies through the steps related to the biodiversity components of a Natural Capital Assessment. This includes the “measure, value and apply” steps which will be relevant for setting targets for any company, including those within the fashion sector.
WHICH STEPS OF THE SBTN DOES TARGET SETTING RELATE TO?
Step 3: ‘Measure, Set, Disclose’