Products of Change


Thu 25 May 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

H&M, Tesco, and Nestlé lead science-based targets for nature pilot launch

H&M, Tesco, Nestlé, and AB InBeV have joined a group of 17 global companies to lead the charge on setting their first science-based targets for nature this year. The initial group will base their targets on a brand-new initiative to have been launched by the Science Based Targets Network this week as it aims to set the global standard for ambitious and measurable corporate action on nature. The launch of the science-based targets for nature programme marks a significant milestone towards helping companies take integrated action across freshwater, land, ocean, biodiversity, and climate. These targets have been introduced against the backdrop of scientific consensus that limiting global warming to 1.5ºC cannot be achieved without halting and reversing nature loss. Research has found that nature absorbs approximately half the planet’s carbon emissions a year and indicates that more than half of global GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature, making the business case for taking action to address nature and climate together clearer than ever before. More than 2,600 companies have already set science-based targets for climate through the Science Based Targets initiative. The targets on nature act to complement existing climate targets by allowing companies to take holistic action to address their impact. To achieve the balance between scientific rigour and feasibility, over 200 organisations have already helped road-test SBTN’s initial methods, tools, and guidance. Erin Billman, executive director of Science Based Targets Network, said: “We are in the midst of interconnected crises. We cannot limit global warming to 1.5ºC without addressing nature loss, and we cannot halt and reverse nature loss without a stable climate. Crucially. We know we can’t address either without putting people and equity at the centre. “Building science-based targets for nature into business strategies will not only be vital in helping secure a healthy, resilient, and equitable world, but to driving long-term resilience for business. By understanding and addressing their environmental impacts, companies can help mitigate supply chain disruptions, get ahead of regulatory compliance, and increase business to seize the opportunity now and start assessing their impact on Earth’s finite resources and prepare to set the first science-based targets for nature.” An initial group of 17 global companies are already preparing to set their first science-based targets for nature this year. These companies include ABInBeV, Alpro, Bel, Carrefour, Corbion, GSK, H&M Group, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Holcim Group, Kering, L’OCCITANE Group, LVMH, Nestlé, Neste Corporation, Suntory Holdings Limited, Tesco, and UPM. An initial pilot will be undertaken with this group, with a full roll-out to all companies in early 2024. This first release forms part of a multi-year plan to provide companies of all sizes and sectors with comprehensive science-based targets for nature, which will increase in scope including expanded freshwater and land targets, further coverag of biodiversity, as well as ocean targets. In later releases, SBTN will also issue guidance to companies on target implementation and tracking progress. The first target validation for companies outside of the pilot is aimed to begin in early 2024.