Sustainability is an increasingly salient business issue as population growth and rising incomes put unprecedented strain on the ecosystems that are essential to human wellbeing. Most companies set environmental performance targets, but they often aim for what is feasible or competitive rather than what is necessary to operate within ecological limits.

Based on work that WRI completed with Mars Incorporated in 2016, this paper explores how companies can anchor sustainability targets in environmental science, ensuring that vital resources remain available for future generations. Rather than provide a definitive methodology, this paper discusses what managers must consider when attempting to set science-based targets for their impact on the climate, land and water.