SBTi Carbon Credits Announcement Stirs Up Conflict Within The Organization

SBTi Carbon Credits Announcement Stirs Up Conflict Within The Organization - Carbon Herald
Source: Gerd Altman via Pixabay

This week’s announcement from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) about its guidance on the use of carbon credits to offset Scope 3 emissions caused a rebellion within the organization.

From a leaked protest letter, it became apparent that SBT’s staff opposed the decision and accused its leadership of acting without a strong scientific basis.

As the world’s leading authority on how the corporate world should set its climate targets, the SBTi has a strong influence over companies and their environmental impact. 

Relevant: SBTi To Issue More Guidance On Carbon Credits For Scope 3 Emissions

The organization’s CEO and board of trustees announced a decision to start allowing businesses to offset their supply chain emissions via carbon credits – something that SBTi had previously rejected. 

This move was initially very well received by industry stakeholders across the board and has been seen as a significant step forward towards unlocking more finance for carbon projects and thus propelling climate action.

However, a major criticism from the scientists at SBTi is that the ‘guardrails and thresholds’ for the offsetting of Scope 3 emissions are largely undefined.

In other words, SBTi’s announcement would open the doors to companies investing in low-quality credits and would effectively facilitate greenwashing among corporate emitters. 

Relevant: CDR.fyi Finds Just 0.5% Of Companies With SBTi Targets Have Bought Durable Carbon Removal

“As staff representing SBTi on a daily basis, we demand immediate action to mitigate the grave reputational damage caused by the actions of the Board,” the letter said.

In addition to the withdrawal of the new policy, the letter calls for the resignation of CEO Luiz Amaral, as well as of all board members, who were in favor of the policy shift. 

The letter expresses regret that the SBTi leadership’s stance has ‘caused concern, confusion, and damaged the trust of critical stakeholders’ and calls on its partners to stand by the staff in its efforts to hold those responsible accountable.

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