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Net Zero Watchdog Revamps Its Organization and Board

(Bloomberg) -- A United Nations-backed group that helps investors figure out whether corporate net zero claims are credible is reorganizing in an effort to increase its clout.

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The Science Based Targets initiative is splitting into two separate units, one to focus on standard setting and the other to validate targets, according to a statement on Wednesday. SBTi also made a number of high-profile appointments, expanding its board to include former Colombian President Ivan Duque. Francesco Starace, the former chief executive of ENEL who’s currently a partner at Swedish investment firm EQT AB, will become chair.

SBTi, whose backers include the United Nations Global Compact, is trying to bolster its standing as it becomes the latest organization to be targeted by the anti-ESG movement in the US. Luiz Amaral, SBTI’s CEO, says there are no signs that demand for its services is waning, despite such attacks.

“There are thousands of companies that have demonstrated that they are willing to do what it takes, and they are delivering on their fair share to get us to 1.5 degree pathway,” Amaral said by phone.

Read More: Amazon.com Fails to Get CO2 Endorsement From Key Watchdog

Republican leaders want the Biden administration to explain why SBTi was selected to provide validation services for federal contractors. In an Aug. 16 letter, the chair of the House science and technology committee, Republican Frank D. Lucas, alleged a “lack of transparency” at SBTi and possible ties to Democrats.

Amaral said SBTi is a voluntary, market-based initiative that “focuses on helping and supporting” companies. “We are not a political organization,” and “we do not get involved in political parties or processes,” he said.

The number of SBTi validations climbed last year by a record 87%, and the total will exceed 10,000 by 2025, the organization said.

Read More: A Third of Global Economy Targeted for Carbon Cutting, SBTi Says

(Adds reference Amazon. An earlier version corrected the spelling of Luiz in third paragraph.)

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