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Companies can use the Accountability Framework as part of an integrated approach to goal-setting that includes climate, nature, and human rights. Doing so enables companies to demonstrate leadership and to approach these multiple goals in an aligned and integrated manner.

Commodity-driven deforestation and ecosystem conversion are major drivers of both carbon emissions and biodiversity loss. Therefore, for companies that produce or source agricultural or forestry products, commitments to halt land use change are integral parts of both climate and nature targets.

To ensure alignment and consistency across these target-setting processes, the AFi collaborates closely with the leading global initiatives for climate and nature target-setting: Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the Science-Based Targets for Network (SBTN), respectively. Read below to learn how your company can apply these tools in tandem with the Accountability Framework.

SBTi Forest, Land, and Agriculture (FLAG) Targets

The SBTi’s Forest, Land, and Agriculture (SBTi FLAG) project allows companies to set and validate targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector. This includes eliminating emissions from deforestation and conversion in a company’s operations and supply chains in line with the Paris Agreement climate goals to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Science-based targets specify how much and how quickly a company needs to reduce its emissions based on the size and nature of company’s business and on its emissions profile.

Companies that have land use-intensive activities in their value chains are required to set FLAG targets as part of their broader Science-Based Target setting process in order to effectively address land-related emissions. This applies to companies engaged in food production, forest and paper products, food and beverage processing, and food and staples retailing, as well as other companies whose FLAG-related emissions comprise more than 20% of their total overall emissions.

FLAG targets include the elimination of emissions from land use change, in line with the Framework’s definitions of deforestation and conversion. This includes emissions from:

  • deforestation and forest degradation, including conversion of natural forest to tree plantations
  • conversion of coastal wetlands (mangroves, seagrass and marshes)
  • conversion, draining, and burning of peatlands
  • conversion of savannas and natural grasslands

SBTi FLAG also requires companies to publish a no-deforestation commitment in alignment with the Accountability Framework. This commitment must be reviewed and validated by SBTi as part of the FLAG target validation process. The SBTi recommends that companies follow the Accountability Framework to help implement their no-deforestation commitment and to extend such commitment to include no conversion of other natural ecosystems.

SBTN Land Targets

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) is developing a framework for companies to set nature targets that align with planetary boundaries and global goals under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Target setting tools are being developed across four key areas: land, freshwater, oceans, and biodiversity. Each will follow an action framework that reflects the following prioritisation of corporate action:

  • Avoid and reduce the pressures on nature loss, including deforestation and conversion
  • Restore and regenerate ecosystems to address past harms
  • Transform underlying systems to address the drivers of nature loss

Version 1 of the targets for land are available for use by companies as of March 2023. They include a target to achieve no-conversion of natural ecosystems in alignment with the Accountability Framework. Companies can use the SBTN framework to publish and validate no-conversion targets as part of their overall approach to protecting and restoring nature. No-conversion targets that align with the Accountability Framework should fulfil SBTN requirements for no-conversion targets to avoid and reduce land impacts, and vice versa. 

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