West African countries urge adding carbon offset to corporate net zero standards


(Photo: iStock)

Carbon-neutral chocolate, carbon-neutral flights... More and more companies are using carbon offsets to meet their reduction goals, but this is often equated with greenwashing. In early June, ten West African countries wrote to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), urging that carbon offsets be included in corporate net zero standards, allowing companies to offset their emissions.

As a result, this would attract corporate financing from various countries to projects aimed at reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions,helping to address climate change and environmental conservation. Additionally, for developing countries, carbon credit development is a significant source of income.

These countries include Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Togo, totaling 10 West African developing nations.

Carbon offsets spark greenwashing concern

The SBTi's board of trustees announced on April 9 that the Corporate Net-Zero Standard would be revised to allow businesses to use carbon offset measures to offset their Scope 3 emissions, which include emissions generated throughout their upstream and downstream value chains.

Carbon offset allows businesses to continue emitting greenhouse gases, but to meet carbon neutrality goals, they must invest in projects that reduce or remove carbon emissions.

However, the practice of using carbon offset has sparked mixed reactions. Some scientists and technical advisors criticize it for undermining efforts to address climate change. At the same time, it is supported by some companies and developing countries because carbon reduction projects are a source of financing for them.

How can firms avoid greenwashing? Download RECCESSARY's market report "Greenwashing Controversies Revealed" now!

Calls for reliable carbon markets

Recently, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a warning regarding carbon offset measures, stating, “dubious carbon offsets that erode public trust while doing little or nothing to help the climate.”

“We need high integrity carbon markets that are credible and with rules consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. I also encourage scientists and engineers to focus urgently on carbon dioxide removal and storage – to deal safely and sustainably with final emissions from the heavy industries hardest to clean.”

In the letter from the 10 West African countries to the SBTi, it emphasized that income from carbon offset is crucial for supporting impoverished communities, encouraging conservation, achieving the transition to clean energy, and adapting to a warming world.

Source: CNBC AfricaCarbon Herald

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