“Inside the little-known group setting the corporate climate agenda”

SBTi MIT Thumbnail

Here’s a note from Bill Baue, urging everyone to read this note by Zsolt Lengyel and the comments beneath it:

Most of you have probably already seen this, but in case not, please check out this post by Zsolt Lengyel on the Science Based Targets initiative — and please make sure to check out the comment threads, where there’s a fair amount of interesting action.

Here’s the bulk of Zsolt’s note:

We cannot afford #SBTi to dig its own grave, it must be saved – from itself! You might have seen a recent MIT Technology Review article “Inside the little-known group setting the corporate climate agenda“ uncovering key aspects of how the Science Based Targets initiative works and subsequently the need for a major overhaul. This article coincided with Axylia’s analysis of 800 target validated SBTI companies concluding that “their commitments, which are among the most ambitious in the world, only allow them to reduce their emissions by 2% between 2020 and 2030.” *

So SBTi has responded, at least to the MIT article; first read this self-explanatory and incriminating part:

” We also 𝐝𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐨𝐫 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞 organizations’*** climate plans, nor are we in a position to validate the accuracy of the data submitted to us. Like other certification or verification organizations, the 𝐒𝐁𝐓𝐢 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐚 𝐟𝐞𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐲’𝐬 𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐲 to our standards. 𝐍𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐬.”

To sum it up: they don’t validate corporate climate plans/targets, but miraculously companies SBTi submissions still get validated. Their ‘business model’ is based on – or at least dependent on – the revenues what they receive from the companies whose plans they ‘approve.’

The time has come that SBTi and the organisations behind it ( CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the WWF) 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐚 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐥-𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠. Both the way HOW they operate (i.e. multiple conflict of interests) and WHAT they do (i.e. methodologies they accept) raises serious questions that they have been constantly trying to brush under the carpet. Complacency – such as this MIT TR response – would only further undermine SBTi’s already tarnished credibility.

Note that SBTI’s newly appointed Compliance Director, Anita Sheth, is just searching for a Compliance Manager. I am afraid this is too little, too late: a truly independent system review & overhaul is needed first, with a compliance regime established as part of it.