Nature and biodiversity are increasingly being recognised as critical resources to fighting the climate crisis, and essential to protect. Last year, global leaders laid the foundations for protecting biodiversity and our ecosystems with the signing of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at COP15.

Target 15 of the GBF commits Governments to taking measures to encourage and enable businesses to, among other things, report on nature-related risks and impacts – meaning that for businesses, nature is rightly being pushed up the agenda.

To stabilise the climate, preserve freshwater resources, regenerate farmland, secure healthy oceans, and protect biodiversity, businesses must consider their impact on nature and take steps to mitigate their exposure – through reporting, target-setting and strategizing your approach to nature.

Measuring biodiversity impact and the value of responses remains challenging for businesses, but starting now may give you a head start on government thinking.

New reporting frameworks: Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures

The Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) launched at Climate Week NYC in September 2023 – read more here. The taskforce presents a voluntary reporting framework to help shape the materiality approach to disclosing businesses’ nature-related risks and impact, relating to their sector. It encourages businesses to establish science-based targets for nature and integrate nature risk considerations within their sustainability strategy. Businesses are also expected to disclose all impacts, risks, and dependencies, relating to nature across their entire value chain.

The TNFD framework works alongside the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) with common outputs for target setting. SBTN target setting methods generate data and analytical outputs that can help businesses apply parts of the TNFD LEAP approach for the assessment of nature-related issues and to disclose in line with the TNFD recommendations. Equally, applying the TNFD LEAP approach can help businesses generate the data needed to set science-based targets for nature.

The graphic below is a visual representation of this.


What are Science-Based Targets for Nature?

Science-Based Targets (SBTs) for Nature go beyond climate action, providing systematic solutions to reduce the risk of nature loss across four key areas – freshwater, biodiversity, land, and oceans. The nature set of SBTs were developed by SBTN, a group of organisations who share the same founder organisations as the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) for climate, including WWF, UN Global Compact, WRI and CDP.

SBTN define SBTs as any “measurable, actionable, and time-bound objectives, based on the best available science” which can help businesses achieve their sustainability goals. Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Businesses are expected to be able to measure a baseline, take action, and track progress with a reasonable level of effort.

Science-based targets have already provided businesses with a clearly defined pathway to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.

SBTN are now expanding their focus to look beyond climate and include biodiversity, land use, water consumption, and waste management. Using SBTs for nature will help businesses to their tackle carbon output whilst having a positive effect on nature, reducing both climate and nature-related risks.

How to set Science-Based Targets

There are five steps businesses can follow to implement SBTs for nature, these are to:

1. Assess

Businesses should estimate their environmental footprint and identify areas and locations for target setting.

2. Interpret & prioritise

Businesses should shortlist locations for target setting and assess initial effort needed to reach targets.

3. Measure, set & disclose

Businesses should measure a baseline, develop monitoring plans, and set targets. Businesses should also disclose baseline and targets, sticking to a time-bound program for action.

4. Act

Businesses should act on their plans in priority locations.

5. Track

Businesses should be monitoring their progress, adapting strategy if necessary. Businesses are also expected to report progress publicly.

How to get started with SBTs

  • Look within to see what your business is already doing.
  • Educate yourself and your team.
  • Ask yourself how TNFD reporting could fit within your organisations work to tackle biodiversity risks and harness the opportunities for nature recovery.

And don’t forget, you can always speak to the BRC! We're here to support you where we can on your work on biodiversity and coordinate retail’s approach to reaching our nature goals. For any queries, please contact our policy lead Sophie De Salis.