Climate Declaration Review Group Adjusts Amid Criticism


Group that has become the main judge of global corporate climate goals is splitting in two and revising its governance, to address conflict of interest concerns and speed up the time needed to evaluate plans companies.
Companies, often under pressure from their shareholders, have rushed to commit to reducing their carbon emissions, generally to net zero by 2050, with interim emissions reduction targets between now and then. today and 2030.

For these plans to be credible, while many companies are accused of greenwashing, scientists, investors and climate groups say companies need external validation of their carbon reduction plans. emissions.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has emerged as a key group tasked with setting standards for targets and deciding whether companies’ plans are sufficient, leading to concerns about its ability to carry out assessments as independently and robustly as possible and to deal with a backlog of approvals.

Under plans revealed on Wednesday, the SBTi has incorporated a new company in the UK to “preserve impartiality”. The paid part of validating the company’s objectives will be managed by a subsidiary, while the setting of standards will be entrusted to the new company.

SBTi also appointed a chairman of its board, Francesco Starace, partner at EQT Infrastructure and former CEO of Italian energy giant ENEL, as well as two independent directors.

“The SBTi plays an important role in promoting ambitious climate action by businesses, which is based on validating credible targets and setting robust standards,” Mr Starace said.

The group said it plans to increase its validation capacity due to the explosion in demand – last year the number of companies setting climate targets increased by 87%.

SBTi standardization processes will be redefined and the group will publish standardization procedures following the appointment of an independent body to approve SBTi standards.

Created by several climate groups, including the World Wide Fund for Nature and the United Nations Global Compact, the SBTi charges companies a fee for validating their goals. Its backers include the Bezos Earth Fund, the IKEA Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The group has also been criticized for the transparency of its methods.

Bill Baue, an outspoken critic and sustainability activist who served as the initiative’s technical advisor until 2020, told Reuters that separation would not address the “deeper problem” of effectively monopolizing the validation process by the SBTi.

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