Disney, Shell, Gucci Allegedly Used Worthless Carbon Credits As Top Certifier's CEO Resigns

David Antonioli, the CEO of Verra, a Washington-based non-profit, the world's largest carbon credit certifier, has announced his resignation following allegations that the organization approved millions of worthless offsets used by major companies, impacting the climate.

What Happened: The forest carbon offsets endorsed by Verra, and utilized by major organizations such as The Walt Disney Co. DIS, Shell PLC SHEL and high-end luxury fashion brand Gucci, are largely worthless and could potentially worsen global warming, revealed a joint investigation by the Guardian, the German weekly Die Zeit and the investigative group SourceMaterial earlier this year.

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The projects aimed to protect rainforests that were not genuinely under threat revealed the joint probe. It also uncovered evidence of forced evictions in a flagship scheme operated by Conservation International in Peru, a partner of Verra.

Antonioli had then rejected the findings and staunchly defended Verra's contribution to rainforest conservation.

Though he did not provide a specific reason for his departure, Antonioli expressed gratitude towards current and former staff members and highlighted Verra's accomplishments in establishing environmental standards, in a statement on LinkedIn.

Why It Matters: Gucci reportedly removed its "entirely carbon neutral" messaging from the company website a few days ago.

These revelations have also prompted calls from scientists to reform the unregulated system, emphasizing the need for integrity in financing climate mitigation and forest conservation.

Diego Saez Gil, CEO of Pachama, a carbon offsetting firm leveraging AI and remote sensing, advocates for updating Verra's programs with the latest scientific advancements to enhance integrity, reported The Guardian.

Gil added, "A new generation of innovative players is collaborating with standard bodies, academics, corporates, and communities, creating a new era of carbon markets that gives me hope."

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Posted In: ESGNewsTop StoriesMediaCarbon Creditsclimate changeDavid AntonioliGlobal warmingGreen EnergyVerra
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