A Company Roadmap for Effective Company Landscape Action and Claims



What do we mean by sustainability claims?

A sustainability claim is a message used to set apart or promote a product, process, service or business, whose content refers to one or more sustainability pillar – economic, environmental or social. Sustainability claims can range from general written, visual, broadcast and social media communication, to activity and impact reporting, to specific words, images and logos.

What sustainability claims can be made about a company’s use of landscape and jurisdictional approaches?

Claims can be made about different stages of landscape or jurisdictional action and investment. It can take a while for landscape-scale performance outcomes to be realised so it can be valuable to also communicate about commitments made and actions taken. For example, robust action claims can support companies in their corporate reporting and disclosure.

Landscape commitment, action and performance claims

Commitment READ MORE Makin g a commitmen t about workin g t o achiev e priorised landscap e o r jurisdiconal scal e outcomes.
Acon READ MORE Takin g specifi c acon s to advanc e o n o r achieve priorise d landscap e or jurisdicona l outcomes.
Performance READ MORE Makin g progres s toward s or achievemen t o f priorised landscap e o r jurisdiconal outcomes.

Transparency of information about the commitment, action or performance outcomes and the company’s role in it is the cornerstone of effective company claims and enables stakeholder trust and collaboration.

Making commitment claims

Commitment claims are about performance targets that a company aims to achieve. Commitments can be generic, referring to a company’s strategic goals or high-level pledges, or specific, referring to a sector, geography or product category. In the context of landscape and jurisdictional action, commitments should ideally focus on what the company aims to achieve in that landscape, either individually or collectively within a multistakeholder collaboration, and always in alignment with the shared landscape goals.

Effective commitment claims should include the following elements:

  • The intended performance outcomes and size or scale of commitment;
  • Timeframe in which the commitment will be achieved, potentially also including interim milestones;
  • Whether the commitment is about the company’s individual contribution to the landscape or jurisdictional initiative or about the collective.

When making a commitment claim, companies should consider the following:

  • Is this a public commitment or an internal commitment (only to key partners and suppliers)?
  • Are company partners, suppliers and stakeholders aware and supportive of the commitment?
  • Does the commitment have a realistic timeframe?
  • Is it clear what actions will be taken to make progress on the commitment and are these actions adequately resourced?
  • Is there a system in place to monitor and report progress against the commitment?

Making action claims

Company landscape action claims or communications are expected to include the following core elements:

  • Description of the type of landscape action;
  • The sustainability outcome(s) prioritised by local stakeholders towards which the action is contributing;
  • Scale and duration of the action or investment, and whether it is financial or in-kind;
  • Bounded geographic area where the action is taking place;
  • Timing and duration of the action (e.g. when and over what time period the action is being implemented);
  • The name of the landscape initiative and local multi-stakeholder process in which the company is participating, where such a process exists; and
  • Partner(s) through whom the action is being implemented, if any.

The following statement is an example of an action claims that incorporates the core elements:

We are contributing $1X over 5 years to support restoration efforts in A landscape with B implementing partner. Our goal is to support C landscape initiative to achieve its vision of 1M hectares under restoration by 2040. Since March 2022, we have been investing in D and E types of activities that aim to bring 50,000 hectares under restoration by 2027.

More information on the minimum expectations and supporting information to strengthen company landscape action claims are described in position paper two "Effective company claims about landscape investments and actions". While the focus is on the information requirements for action claims, many of these points are also relevant when making commitment or performance claims.

Prioritising landscape engagement

Making performance outcome claims

A company can make different types of performance claims depending on how much ownership and responsibility they have for the outcome:

  • Collective claim: ‘we are part of a collective effort that contributed to this landscape performance outcome’. This is the most broadly applicable type of claim because it recognises that performance outcomes at a landscape scale are a product of the collective efforts of all landscape stakeholders. The benefit of collective claims is that they enable companies to make claims about the collective landscape-scale performance outcomes. Collective claims can be used in any qualitative reporting or collective quantitative reporting (e.g., we contributed to this overall performance outcome), but do not enable stakeholders to claim individual ownership of specific outcomes.
  • Proportional claim: ‘we are claiming this part of the landscape performance outcome’. This enables performance outcomes to be apportioned between stakeholders that contributed to the outcome and gives contributors proportional ownership of the outcomes. Proportional claims are necessary where double counting of the outcomes would not be credible, such as for quantitative reporting against individual commitments or for company reporting and disclosure of individual contribution to landscape performance outcomes. Making proportional claims should be carefully considered so as to not overstate the role of an individual organisation.
  • Attribution claim: ‘we are responsible for this project-level outcome in line with shared landscape goals’. This means that performance outcomes resulted directly and solely from a set of defined actions or investments made by the company and enables that company to claim responsibility for specific outcomes. Making an attribution claim requires the highest degree of causality, quantitative accuracy and rigour because it results in the right of sole ownership of an outcome. As such, attribution claims are not suitable for landscape-scale outcomes. One exception is high quality jurisdictional-scale REDD+ credits, where attribution is based on accepted allocation methodologies.

How do companies make these claims?

Decision tree to determine which type of claim is most appropriate for the context.

Supporting links:

Please note the supporting tools and resources were developed by different organisations or collaborations and are not collectively endorsed by the organisations participating in this roadmap.