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Taskforces for Carbon and Nature-related Financial Disclosure work

Professor David Hill, CBE comments on the article published in The Guardian

‘I read with interest George Monbiot’s feature in the Guardian about carbon markets and greenwash, specifically the boom in spending on land to satisfy an accelerating demand for offsetting carbon emissions. He is of course correct that such a market distortion whereby a company can simply offset its impacts without reducing its own emissions in the first place will, and is, leading to some really serious perverse outcomes, hugely damaging to the environment.

That is why it is critically important that the Taskforces for Carbon and Nature-related Financial Disclosure work to make it a mandatory requirement for all corporates to disclose, reduce and only then offset their impacts on climate and natural capital. I and others have been pushing for corporates to be required to undertake disclosure of impacts in relation to carbon emissions and natural capital. Whilst a voluntary regime will work to an extent, only by having a regulatory framework around a financial reporting mechanism, will corporates deliver the reductions in impacts needed. It is simply not appropriate for companies to continue business as usual and then offset all of those impacts.

At Environment Bank we have produced the model whereby mandatory biodiversity net gain can be delivered for residual impacts on biodiversity caused by development through investments into off-site habitat banks, creating large areas for biodiversity whilst locking up carbon in the process. The approach will, I am sure, become mainstreamed across the non-developer sectors in due course. Much of this will be driven by legal financial reporting (annual account declarations etc) and by the demands set by investment fund managers - where they will only invest in those companies that account for their impacts on carbon and biodiversity. We’ve been talking about this for a number of years but I think, at last, the tide is turning. It can't come soon enough.’

Visit the link to read the Guardian's full article on carbon offsetting.


About the author

David Hill