- 41% of Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs) do not use carbon offsets due to trust issues, with an additional 43% seeking assurance from rating agencies for validation
- Lack of uniformity in carbon credit certification methods raises doubts on accuracy and comparability of sustainability measurement
- CSOs held back by data incompatibilities, with 89% using KPI metrics to track progress, but top three challenges to meeting net-zero are all data-led
- Global cross-sector survey interviewed senior sustainability decision-makers from over 500 medium-to-large firms
LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The majority of businesses will struggle to meet net-zero goals without the use of carbon credits, but a lack of trust in the tool is stalling uptake and pushing corporate net-zero plans off track. This is one of the striking findings from a global survey of over 500 senior sustainability officers, commissioned by AiDash, a leading provider of vegetation management and other satellite- and AI-powered operations, maintenance, and sustainability solutions.
The ‘Carbon Offsetting in 2023’ study shows sustainability and carbon management are now mainstream concerns, with 97% of businesses including them in investment decisions, 79% of CSO’s already accountable to their boards or the public, 98% doing more than legally required to reduce emissions and 56% of businesses committed to net-zero targets on or before 2030.
However, over half of businesses (56%) do not have operational control over the majority of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nearly half (43%) use carbon offsets for hard-to-reduce GHG emissions alongside direct measures. As a result, many businesses cannot meet net-zero targets without the use of carbon credits.
Despite this critical need, the survey revealed a major lack of trust in carbon offsetting, with 41% of CSOs stating they do not use carbon credits as they do not adequately trust them. This comes at a time when many carbon offsetting projects are being shown to be inconsistently measured, inadequately monitored, and frequently failing to prove they are based on additional carbon captured.
Another revelation is the inconsistency in validation methods for carbon credits. 4% do not validate credits at all, 35% only buy from government or voluntary certified schemes, 43% are exploring working with credit rating agencies, 35% undertake their own validation or third-party due diligence and 41% use a combination of these methods. This lack of uniformity raises doubts surrounding the accuracy and comparability of corporate sustainability measurements.
With 89% of CSOs confirming they use KPI metrics to track the progress of their sustainability plans, it is essential that those metrics are watertight. However, the three biggest challenges to meeting net-zero goals are all data related:
- Collating reference data such as regional electricity and airline emissions factors (26%)
- Lack of common reporting frameworks (19%)
- Difficulty collating internal information (18%)
“Rather than waiting for governments to agree to regional or global frameworks, businesses are forging forward independently, making ambitious environmental commitments,” says Abhishek Vinod Singh, CEO, AiDash. “The intent and action is there but what these businesses desperately need is an organizational tool they can trust to accurately measure, monitor, track and validate the progress of their sustainability plans on their journey to net-zero.”
Carbon offsetting was not the only hot topic of the survey. It also revealed that CSOs are turning their eyes towards biodiversity. While only 24% currently include biodiversity impact in their sustainability strategies, 66% already have a role dedicated to biodiversity, with a substantial proportion intending to introduce one in the next two years. However, as it stands, legacy approaches to measuring biodiversity could hamper progress.
“Advances in satellite and AI technology can solve the vast majority of issues businesses are having collecting, analyzing and verifying their sustainability data,” continues Singh. “Our carbon solution not only provides measurements that meet carbon credit standards, but also continuous evidence to prove that credits are based on additional carbon captured and that carbon remains permanently in the ground, which is crucial for credible ESG reporting. By supporting how businesses apply carbon offsetting to their own land, we can save them up to 90% when compared with buying the equivalent from an escalating carbon credit market.
“For biodiversity, our solution can measure a host of complex environmental assets, allowing businesses to enhance natural capital metrics such as pollination, recreational benefits, and the value of food production. By analyzing 1,000s of sites in a matter of weeks, and utilizing one ecologist to verify the data captured, the AiDash solution can reduce biodiversity management operational expenditure by up to 75%, helping businesses adhere to impending legislation in the US, Europe, and UK.”
To download the complete survey results, visit https://www.aidash.com/resource/carbon-offsets-report-2023/
AiDash is an AI-first vertical SaaS company on a mission to transform operations, maintenance, and sustainability in industries with geographically distributed assets by using satellites and AI at scale. With access to a continual, near real-time stream of critical data, utilities, energy, mining, and other core industries can make more informed decisions and build optimized long-term plans, all while reducing costs, improving reliability, and achieving sustainability goals. To learn more about how AiDash is helping core industries become more resilient, efficient, and sustainable, visit www.aidash.com.
BAM for AiDash