Understanding the Global Commons and science-based targets

We are all in agreement that restoring our natural world will take a collaborative effort, right?

There are many ways that different stakeholders have collaborated but those efforts have been largely state-led. The Global Commons Alliance which is an unprecedented partnership of more than 60 of the world’s most forward-looking organisations with the main goal of creating the most powerful network to scale science-based action to protect people and the planet.

The Global Commons.

Curious about the global commons now? In simple terms, earth’s life support system is the global commons. So that would be our common shared resources including; the atmosphere and land, the ocean and ice sheets, a stable climate and abundant biodiversity.

Humanity cannot thrive without a healthy global commons. Thriving often stems from functioning economic systems that provide opportunities for everyone, whilst existing in a healthy natural world.

But how do we hold industries or companies accountable for healthy stewardship of the environment? Or better yet, how can these drivers of the economy stop nature loss and build sustainable economies? 

The Science Based Targets Network, launched by the Global Commons Alliance, is now equipping companies with the guidance they need to meet science-based targets towards an environmentally safe and socially just future.

What are the science-based targets?

Climate change and biodiversity loss is a risk to businesses. So that begs the question of how businesses or companies can innovate in a way that is good for business and the environment. 

The SBTs are measurable and time-bound goals, based on the available science, that allow companies (or other actors) to align with the earth’s limits and societal sustainability goals. By setting SBTs, companies operate within scientific boundaries to play their part in creating an equitable, nature-positive future.  The positive outcome is that if implemented correctly by companies, SBTs can be good for business and economic resilience. 

The SBTs Network has identified a selection of issue areas where companies can start setting initial targets today. These include; climate change, land use change, resource exploitation and ecosystem integrity. These initial areas will evolve as more companies sign up and data is refined.

However, all companies should aim to address their contribution toward these issues (e.g., marine pollution, accidental species mortality, climate change), throughout their spheres of influence. Once they prioritise key issue areas, they can set targets that are in line with earth’s limits.

The best way forward is for companies to start to follow the process of setting targets where they can. There is no expectation on companies to solve everything at once but rather utilise the SBTs to wrangle one issue at a time. 

Because the hunter has learned to shoot without missing, the bird has learned to fly without perching; we have to evolve! Curious about how this can look for an industry? Our next blog on the fashion industry explores this more in a reasonably FASHIONABLE SENSE!

Feature Photo by Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash

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Understanding the Global Commons and science-based targets

by Angela Zhong Reading time: 2 min
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