28 Sep 2022

Science Based Target initiative launches the Forest, Land and Agriculture Guidance

Almost 25% of global GHG emissions can be attributed to agricultural, forestry and other land use practices

On September 28th the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) launched the standard for companies in land-intensive sectors such as food, agriculture, and forestry. Almost 25% of global GHG emissions can be attributed to agricultural, forestry and other land use practices. The Forest, Land and Agricultural (FLAG) Science Based Target Setting Guidance provides a standard method for measuring these emissions, including land-related emissions and removals in line with the Paris Agreement.

Science Based Targets

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Science-based targets offer companies a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their GHG emissions. Targets adopted by companies to reduce GHG emissions are deemed science-based if they are aligned with the latest climate science findings to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and limit warming to no more than 1.5°C. Already more than 3.500 companies, representing more than a third of global market capitalization, committed to set a Science Based Target. Now, specific guidelines for emission targets related to agricultural sector are available.

Flag emissions

Company’s FLAG-related emissions include CO2 emissions associated with land use change (LUC) (i.e. biomass and soil carbon losses from deforestation and forest degradation) and emissions from land management (i.e. N2O from fertilizer application, CH4 from enteric fermentation, biomass burning). It also includes CO2 emissions from machinery and fertilizer manufacture. So basically, all emissions related to primary agro production. For most of those emissions, actual farm emission data is not available. Modelling these emissions is required, according to the GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance.

Who needs to set a FLAG ?

FLAG emissions are very relevant for all companies working in the food industry. SBTi requires companies in food production to set a FLAG target. Also other companies that have more than 20% of revenues coming from forests, land or agriculture or with FLAG-related emissions that total more than 20% of overall emissions across scopes 1, 2 and 3 need to set a FLAG target when committing to SBTi.

Reduction target

The science-based rate of mitigation in the FLAG Sector pathway is 35% in 10 years. For meat products and commodities like soy, wheat and palm oil, specific reduction targets for 2030 have been set. Translating those targets to tangible actions in own operation and the supply chain is the real challenge. Having insights into the contribution of certain activities to the total carbon footprint of your value chain, and understanding the reduction potential, is key.

How Blonk can help

Blonk has more than 20 years of experience quantifying emissions in agri-food value chains. We understand the key drivers for GHG emissions and can identify leverage points for system interventions to reduce GHG emissions. An internal database with ‘footprint-reduction’- solutions fitting to your sector is available to identify potential reduction measures. Also, potential impact of carbon removals can be identified. Regenerative agriculture practices can, for example, sequester carbon in soils. We follow ongoing developments in the definition of an internationally accepted methodology for quantification and accounting of carbon removals.

More information

Get in touch

Janjoris van Diepen
Senior Consultant | Blonk Consultants

Please get in touch with Janjoris if you would like to know more about this project or if you are interested in Carbon Footprint Guidelines for your sector.