Climate Targets Group Trustees Seek to Calm Governance Storm

Representation photo: A general view shows almost dried up Lake Zicksee near Sankt Andrae, as another heatwave is predicted for parts of the country, in Austria, August 12, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/
Representation photo: A general view shows almost dried up Lake Zicksee near Sankt Andrae, as another heatwave is predicted for parts of the country, in Austria, August 12, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/
TT

Climate Targets Group Trustees Seek to Calm Governance Storm

Representation photo: A general view shows almost dried up Lake Zicksee near Sankt Andrae, as another heatwave is predicted for parts of the country, in Austria, August 12, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/
Representation photo: A general view shows almost dried up Lake Zicksee near Sankt Andrae, as another heatwave is predicted for parts of the country, in Austria, August 12, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/

Trustees of a climate targets verification group at the center of a governance storm on Friday sought to assuage concern over their plan to allow offsetting of companies' supply chain emissions.

The Science Based Targets initiative had initially laid out its plan in a statement on its website late Tuesday, prompting staff and some technical advisors to write separate letters to the board criticising the move.

Among the complaints was that the board had circumvented an established governance process and made a decision to allow offsetting of so-called Scope 3 emissions without the agreement of the broader group.

By allowing limited use of offsets for Scope 3 emissions, the hope is it will help drive money to climate friendly projects like afforestation. Scope 1 emissions, those directly under a company's control, would not be able to be offset.

In exchange for funding a project such as planting more trees, a company would be able to collect a credit that they can use to offset pollution from parts of their value chain, such as when a customer uses their products.

In a "clarification" to its April 9 statement, the trustees said no change had been made to the group's current standards and that any use of such "environmental attribute certificates" would be "informed by the evidence".

In addition, any changes to the group's standards would follow the usual process that includes a research and drafting stage as well as a public consultation, and review and approval by the group's technical council, it said.

A draft proposal about potential changes to Scope 3 will be published in July and feed into the drafting phase of the process, the statement added.

Separately, the trustees also received a letter of support from a group of non-profits and companies working with communities in the Global South most exposed to climate change, including in Tanzania, Kenya, Peru and Indonesia.

Among the 15 signatories were Brazil's Ecologica Institute and Rioterra.

The group said it celebrated the decision to allow Scope 3 offsets as "at long last" money would flow to communities working to protect nature, including through reducing deforestation, restoring grassland and reforesting mangroves.

"Simply put, if seen through, this brave shift by the SBTi Board will unlock more climate finance for natural assets and local communities in the Global South, accelerating global climate action," the group said in a letter seen by Reuters.

"We urge the SBTi staff to listen and act pragmatically, and to work expeditiously, to propose guidance to operationalize the Board's direction."



Asharq Al-Awsat Secures 3 Awards in Arab Media, Samir Atallah Named Personality of the Year

The winners of the Arab Media Awards
The winners of the Arab Media Awards
TT

Asharq Al-Awsat Secures 3 Awards in Arab Media, Samir Atallah Named Personality of the Year

The winners of the Arab Media Awards
The winners of the Arab Media Awards

At the 2024 Arab Media Award ceremony in Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper scooped up three top honors.

Samir Atallah, a writer for the paper, was named “Media Personality of the Year.”

Asharq Al-Awsat’s Ali AlSarai won in the Arab Journalism category with his piece on Iraq post-Al-Aqsa Flood, while Ossama Al-Saeed received recognition for his economic journalism on electronic gaming.

Additionally, the best documentary was won by “In front of the scenes... salt on a wound” on Al Sharq TV.

This brings the total awards for Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) platforms to four for this year’s edition of the awards.

Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, presented the award for the Media Personality of the Year to Atallah in recognition of his contributions to Lebanese media.

Atallah, who started his career at An Nahar newspaper, has been writing his daily column for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987. Atallah has accrued nearly four decades of experience across Paris, London, and North America, and has authored various books.

Sheikh Mansoor also honored Tunisian writer Abdul Latif Al Zubaidi from the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej with the Best Columnist award. This award was given in recognition of his intellectual contributions, which have enriched the Arab press with numerous articles and ideas.

The investigative reporting award was won by Sahar Al-Maliji from Al Masri Alyoum newspaper.

The category of children’s media was won by Al-Arabi Al-Sagher Magazine.

The award ceremony took place at Arab Media Forum in Dubai.

Under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the 22nd edition of the Arab Media Forum kicked off on Tuesday in Dubai.

About 4000 media professionals are attending the two-day forum, including Arab politicians, media leaders, local and Arab newspaper editors, influential writers, and media personalities.