SBTi’s chief executive announces resignation amid carbon offsetting controversy

Image: SBTi

Yesterday (2 July), in a statement to the Board of the SBTi, Dr Amaral confirmed his intention to resign, stating that certain issues require his full attention at present, prompting his decision to step down.

He said: “My time as CEO has been incredibly rewarding, and I remain steadfast in my belief in the importance, the impact, and the promising future of the SBTi.

“Now it is time for new leadership to take the helm and guide the organisation into this promising new phase that can deliver even more impact worldwide.”

The decision is set to take effect at the end of July, with SBTi’s current chief legal officer, Susan Jenny Ehr, assuming the role of interim chief executive.

SBTi’s chair Francesco Starace said: “The Board welcomes Susan Jenny Ehr as interim chief executive and is grateful to Luiz and all the SBTi staff who will ensure a smooth transition. The crucial work of SBTi will continue.”

The SBTi has been in hot water over the past few months, since the organisation announced plans to provide revised guidance on how companies can use ‘environmental attribute certificates,’ including carbon credits, to account for their climate goals, particularly those related to Scope 3 (indirect) emissions.

Presently, companies aiming to align with the SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard can use offsets for only 10% of their total emissions across all scopes; however, surveys revealed that many firms are struggling to align with the Standard due to the challenge of reducing Scope 3 (indirect) emissions.

The new consultation is expected to consider whether to increase the carbon credit allowance beyond the 10% limit. This has sparked a heated debate within the green economy, with some advocating for increased use of carbon credits by businesses, while others strongly oppose their use.

Shortly after the initial announcement in April, reports emerged that some SBTi staff were calling for the ousting of Dr Amaral. Simultaneously, a group of more than 30 SBTi members issued a letter expressing anger and disappointment, stating that the SBTi breached its own governance process due to a lack of internal consultation, with some technical staff members threatening to quit their jobs.

In a following statement, Dr Amaral confirmed that no standards had been changed, and wouldn’t be without public consultation. The SBTi is expected to produce an initial draft of the updated guidance this summer, while holding further consultations to fine-tune its approach.

Related news: Number of companies with science-based targets doubled in 2023

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