Statement on the SBTi Net-Zero Standard – from CI, EDF, TNC and WCS

News 28.10.21

Posted by Nature4Climate

Thursday 28th October, 2021

The Science-based Targets Initiative’s recently released Net-Zero Standard marks a significant milestone in the effort to mobilize corporate climate action. The guidance states that global emissions must be cut in half by 2030 and most companies must cut their own emissions by at least 90-95% by 2050 to achieve net-zero. This means they must prioritize cutting emissions from their internal operations and supply chains – including those from forests, land-use and agriculture (FLAG) or agriculture, forestry and other land uses (AFOLU).

This is a stark call to arms to the corporate world to dramatically step-up efforts to cut emissions. We endorse this goal and commit to ensuring companies receive a clear message that there is no alternative to this course of action.

In addition, there is another important message to deliver. Alongside near- and long- term plans for their own emission reductions, companies also need to invest in ways to compensate and remove emissions beyond their global footprint to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Energy Transitions Commission estimated that even with ambitious emissions reduction pathways to net-zero, 200 gigatons of emissions will still have accumulated in the atmosphere by 2050. This means companies will have to go beyond cutting their own emissions to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C trajectory.

This includes investment in nature-based solutions, which both avoid and reduce emissions from land-use while removing and sequestering carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. Furthermore, nature can provide other valuable benefits and resiliency, such as the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity, restoration of degraded lands and the support of sustainable livelihoods.

Companies across all sectors need to both reduce their emissions along a science-based target by 2030 and invest in protecting, restoring and sustainably managing land and nature. The science makes it clear that it is imperative to do both. This is not an “either/or” situation.

Through this investment, companies can increase their climate impact by engaging in a cost-effective approach to carbon removal and emission reductions, which can compensate for emissions that are not possible to eliminate right now and neutralize residual emissions in the future. High-quality nature-based solutions can also help companies move towards nature-positive operations and supply chains, addressing the $44 trillion of GDP that is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services.

The bottom line is that investment in high-integrity nature-based solutions is an essential component of corporate leadership on climate action in addition to a company’s own emission reductions. These are investments that can and must be made today, while we also invest in research and development to scale up technical solutions to capture emissions as well.

When investing in nature-based solutions to help achieve climate goals, companies must ensure their investments are of the highest quality, including a focus on ecological and social impacts and benefits.

Now is the time to bring all solutions to bear on the climate crisis. Companies have an important role to play; a role that involves both emission cuts and support for supplemental action that includes investment in nature-based solutions.


Conservation International

Environmental Defense Fund

The Nature Conservancy

The Wildlife Conservation Society