Reaction to SBTi carbon credits for Net Zero targets

Simon McKeating (Scotland Food & Drink Partnership)

ONE of the world’s leading climate-certification organisations has caused controversy after announcing plans to allow companies to meet their climate targets with carbon offsets.

The UN-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which certifies whether a company is on track to help limit global heating to under 1.5C, has validated hundreds of net zero plans from companies including J Sainsbury plc, John Lewis and Maersk. Until now, the SBTi has ruled out the use of carbon offsets, instead emphasising the importance of deep greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

But last week, SBTi unveiled plans to allow carbon credits in their net zero standard by permitting companies to use them to offset emissions from their supply chains, known as scope 3 emissions.

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership has reacted to the news.

Simon McKeating, programme manager at the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Net Zero Commitment, said: “SBTi’s decision to allow companies to use carbon credits to offset their emissions sets a dangerous precedent. It could undermine SBTi’s credibility and encourage a new wave of carbon cowboys flogging carbon credits.

“The principle of setting targets – and not including carbon off-sets – to count as progress towards your targets has been enshrined in the SBTi Corporate Net Zero Standard since it was first published in 2021 and should be protected. 

“Real progress on emissions reduction can only be made by taking action in your own operations and along your value chain. 

“We cannot simply buy our way out of climate change.”

The latest stories