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Science Based Targets initiative CEO resigns, citing personal reasons

Luiz Amaral’s resignation is the latest development in a challenging time for the validation organization.

SBTi screenshot

Smartphone with logo of Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in front of website. Image via Shutterstock/T. Schneider

Luiz Amaral, CEO of the Science Based Targets initiative, is stepping down after a little more than two years on the job. Amaral’s resignation, for unspecified personal reasons, caps a tumultuous period at the leading organization for the validation of corporate greenhouse gas emissions goals.

"These issues require my full attention at this time, prompting my decision to step down," Amaral said in a press release issued by SBTi on July 2. His resignation is effective July 31, and Susan Jenny Ehr, SBTi’s chief legal officer, will step in as interim CEO while SBTi’s board searches for Amaral’s replacement.

Luiz Amaral

Luiz Amaral stepped down as CEO of the Science Based Targets initiative, effective July 31, 2024.

SBTi was created in 2014 to help companies set voluntary targets that align their absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions with the Paris Agreement. As of Dec. 31, 4,205 companies had SBTI-validated targets, including 449 striving to meet its corporate net-zero standard. Others, including Intel and Amazon, have opted not to follow SBTI’s framework or have failed to have targets validated, as is the case with Microsoft and Walmart

Controversy over the organization’s future has proliferated since April 10, when the surprise announcement that SBTi would consider allowing companies to use carbon credits to offset emissions prompted calls from some SBTI staff and advisers for Amaral’s resignation.

Amaral was appointed as SBTi’s first CEO in February 2022, joining the organization from founding partner World Resources Institute. He previously was head of sustainability for South America with Rabobank. He led SBTi’s evolution to a standalone organization after being managed by a group of founding NGOs. SBTi is now a charity, and its validation arm is run as a separate subsidiary.

The organization’s chairperson, Franceso Starace, reiterated SBTi’s mission and pledged a smooth transition. "The crucial work of SBTi will continue, thanks to the committed efforts and decision of colleagues, alongside the technical council and all of those within companies who put their trust in SBTI," he said in a statement. "Together, we remain focused on our collective efforts to help companies around the world to deliver on the commitments of the Paris Agreement."

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