Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) emissions represent nearly a quarter of global GHG emissions. For corporates in land-intensive sectors, these emissions are particularly relevant not only in terms of impact but also in terms of mitigation opportunities. While many companies now report their GHG emissions publicly, few account for AFOLU emissions/removals or include them in their GHG reduction targets as they are limited by multiple factors, including a lack of available standards, guidance, and methods.
When it comes to the Science Based Targets initiative, although many companies in land-intensive sectors have committed or set targets, there are currently no sector-specific methodologies available for them to set SBTs that include these emissions. Thus, companies in these sectors might not be fully incorporating deforestation and land-related emissions into their SBTs.
FLAG Project overview and expected timeline
The Science Based Targets initiative is undertaking a sector development project, the SBTi Forest, Land and Agriculture project (‘SBTi FLAG’), led by WWF, to address this methodology gap. The effort will focus on the development of methods and guidance to enable the food, agriculture, and forest sectors to set science-based targets (SBTs) that include deforestation, and possibility other land-related impacts. The project is expected to be completed by Q2 2021.
There will be two consultative groups as well as a public consultation to allow interested stakeholders to participate in the process.
In parallel to this effort, WRI and WBCSD are leading the development of three new GHG Protocol Standards on how companies should account for GHG emissions and removals in their annual inventories. The three standards will cover: 1. Carbon removals and Sequestration, 2. Land Sector Emissions and Removals and 3. Bioenergy. For more information on this work and how to participate, see here. The project is expected to be completed by Q4 2021.
The FLAG project and the new GHG Protocol Standards are complementary workstreams that will provide the infrastructure needed for corporate target setting, accounting, and reporting of AFOLU-related emissions.