Climate targets group’s CEO seeks to ease concerns over carbon offset plan

By Thomson Reuters Apr 19, 2024 | 5:30 PM

(Reuters) – The CEO of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) on Friday sought to reassure critics’ concerns over the global nonprofit’s plan to allow companies to use carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions from their value chain.

Last week, the SBTi’s staff accused the leadership of the climate targets verification group of acting without a sound scientific basis and called for the ouster of the chief executive and the reversal of the plan.

Selling credits from wind farms and other activities to a company so it can offset pollution is seen as a way to help move money to climate-friendly projects.

Critics worry, however, that the policy could let companies off the hook when it comes to reducing emissions. The recent concerns have thrown the SBTi – whose role as the leading arbiter of how companies set climate targets exerts heavy influence over much of the corporate world – into turmoil.

“I acknowledge and deeply regret the concern and distress this situation has caused and want to reassure my SBTi colleagues and stakeholders,” CEO Luiz Amaral said in a blog post on Friday. He emphasized the group’s “dedication to science-based decarbonization, public consultation and standard-setting governance.”

The group’s trustees have already sought to smooth concerns over the plan. In a “clarification” to its April 9 statement, the trustees said no change had been made to the group’s current standards and that any use of such “environmental attribute certificates” would be “informed by the evidence.”

In a further move to ease concerns over the policy, Amaral said on Friday the group is still in the process of gathering feedback and that he looked forward to working closely with all stakeholders to obtain the best possible outcome.

(Reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis)