FLAG explained- your complete guide to the SBTi Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) Target setting guidance.

The FLAG sector has an important role to play in carbon reduction. It contributes to 22% of global GHG emissions as well as having a role in carbon removals and nature recovery and biodiversity. You will need to set FLAG targets this year if you are setting or have already set science based targets validated by the SBTi and your business is classified as being in qualifying sectors. Here is a collection of useful resources for you to get an understanding of the regulation and how it applies to your business.

The SBTi qualifying sectors are:

  • Forest and paper,
  • food production,
  • food and beverage processing,
  • food and staple retailing,
  • tobacco
  • Other sectors where FLAG emissions are 20% or more of your total scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

There are two publications to help you meet FLAG requirements:

The SBTi Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) Target setting guidance was published in September 2022. Alongside this, the GHG Protocol draft Land Sector and Removals Guidance was also published, with the final version expected in Q4 2023. This sets out the associated rules for GHG accounting and has been developed in conjunction with FLAG target setting guidance.

When you will need to set your FLAG target by:

31st December 2023

If you have set an SBT before January 2020

31st December 2024

For those who have set an SBT between 2020 and 30th April 2023

From 30th April 2023

Upon submission of your first SBT (if this is submitted after 30th April).

Key implications for corporates:

In a recent article, we have set out the main issues and implications for corporates which can be very briefly summarised as:

  • All companies with significant land sector impacts are going to have to update their GHG inventories in line with the GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance.
  • The calculation of FLAG emissions and removals will require an understanding of new terminology, definitions and accounting rules.
  • SBTi target setting will require companies to split their GHG inventory into non-land and FLAG emissions for the purpose of target setting.
  • If companies are wishing to count carbon removals as part of their FLAG GHG inventory, they will need to invest in the means to measure it.

For further information please visit the full article here.

Watch on-demand: SBTi Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) Target Setting Guidance.

In this useful webinar, Tim Crozier-Cole, Head of Aim for Zero presents:

  • An overview of the target setting guidance and the related draft GHG Protocol guidance.
  • Which companies have to set SBTi FLAG targets and by when.
  • An overview of the FLAG target setting criteria.
  • Key implications for companies and how Verco can help.

Download the FLAG webinar

Download our FAQ summary report.

A more detailed FAQ summary of the SBTi FLAG target setting guidance and associated draft GHG Protocol accounting guidance is available here:

Download the summary report

How we help.

We help clients through all stages of their net zero journey.

  • Understanding the challenge

For FLAG we can help you to understand the scope of the work as well as providing briefing sessions and training for the key stakeholders in your organisation. At this stage we can also develop your GHG inventory.

  • Develop strategy

This might involve exploring pathway scenarios and validating your SBTi target (or helping you to set one!). We can also translate high-level targets to an operational level so that all areas of the business are moving towards the same common goal.

  • Implementation

As well as creating detailed implementation plans for your teams, we can conduct feasibility studies which are fully costed so that you can allocate budget. At this stage we can also work as part of your team, implementing the projects and helping with cultural change.

  • Monitoring and reporting

We can work with you to optimise your GHG inventory data systems and methodologies so that your reporting meets the FLAG requirements. This might include setting up dashboards for different stakeholders in your organisation, so that everyone can access the relevant data. We also support clients with other climate disclosures such as CDP and TCFD.

Contact us to find out more about FLAG