Set FLAG Targets
Environmental Defense Fund
By setting science-based FLAG targets, companies can align their efforts with a robust, common, and scientific understanding of what is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Forest, Land, and Agriculture (FLAG) use represents a significant source of emissions and reduction opportunities. Recognizing this, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), in collaboration with WWF, WRI, CDP, and others, developed a new set of guidelines for organizations to measure and abate their FLAG emissions. FLAG targets cover emissions, reductions, and removals from land use change, land management practices, and carbon removal and storage. Because plants sequester carbon and store it in biomass and soils, reductions and removal opportunities in the FLAG sector have the potential to provide up to 20% of global climate mitigation needed by 2050.1
The SBTi requires companies with significant FLAG emissions – which they define as 20% or more across Scopes 1, 2, and 3 – to use this guidance. Additionally, all companies in certain sectors such as agriculture, food retail, and forest products are required to use the guidance. Even if your company does not meet these requirements, you should still consider setting FLAG targets aligned to SBTi’s guidance and a 1.5°C pathway if land-based emissions touch your supply chains
Setting FLAG Targets
When you set a FLAG target, your company sets an abatement target – including reductions and removals – and makes a no deforestation commitment. This FLAG target is in addition to other energy/industry SBTi targets you may set.
The process to set FLAG targets includes committing to set FLAG targets, measuring your emissions, developing a climate mitigation approach, setting FLAG targets, and disclosing on a regular basis.
SBTi has proposed two pathways for setting FLAG targets:
- FLAG Sector Pathway: setting an absolute reduction target for diversified FLAG emissions. This is envisioned for diversified forestry, agriculture, livestock, and demand-side actors.
- FLAG Commodity Pathway: setting intensity reduction targets for specific commodities, including beef, pork, chicken, dairy, leather, wheat, maize, rice, palm oil, soy, and timber & wood fiber. These commodity pathways also align to 26 global regions.
Once you have set your FLAG targets, you will need to measure and abate emissions. This requires significant planning, including establishing a governance structure and making a plan for data collection and management. You will also need to create a plan to work with your supply chain, across your procurement team, to achieve the desired reductions and removals.