The SBTi appoints first CEO to spearhead exponential growth in corporate climate action

Source: press release, 23 February 2022

The Science Based Targets initiative CEO, Dr Luiz Fernando do Amaral
The Science Based Targets initiative CEO, Dr Luiz Fernando do Amaral (photo: SBTi)

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the global body enabling businesses to set emissions reduction targets in line with science, has appointed its first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Dr Luiz Fernando do Amaral.

Amaral will spearhead the SBTi’s business strategy to accelerate the exponential growth of science-based targets across sectors and geographies – with a focus on hard-to-abate sectors and regions. He will also lead the ongoing review of the initiative’s new technical governance structure in 2022, to further increase the robustness of the initiative.

Lila Karbassi, Chair of the SBTi board and Chief of Programmes at the United Nations Global Compact, says, “The global economy has less than 8 years left to halve emissions and the SBTi has a significant challenge ahead to accelerate corporate decarbonisation in line with this fundamental objective. Luiz’s appointment is a vital part of our overarching plan to strengthen and build the initiative to deliver in this critical decade.”

The SBTi board appointed Amaral following a rigorous search including several outstanding candidates. The three SBTi co-founders and executive leadership team members: Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director; Cynthia Cummis, Technical Director; and Heidi Huusko, Senior Advisor, will ensure the successful onboarding of Luiz during this critical time in the initiative’s growth and will continue to support the SBTi’s mission.

Amaral says, “The SBTi is setting the global standard for science-based corporate target setting, filling an essential gap to unlock urgent and ambitious emissions reductions at scale. I could not be more excited to join to help drive increased corporate climate action at this critical time. My thanks goes to our board for their trust in me, as well as the co-founders, the team and our partners for all that has been achieved so far. Looking forward, we will ramp up SBTi work by: (a) continuing to guarantee that the latest science and data remains at the centre of decision making, (b) ensuring science-based targets are accessible for all companies worldwide and (c) achieving SBTi’s institutional maturity and governance needed for impact at scale.”

Living in his home country of Brazil, Amaral speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish and French, and will help to ensure the growth of the SBTi within emerging economies. Amaral joins from one of the SBTi founding partners – the World Resources Institute (WRI) – where he worked for more than 5 years, most recently as Director of Global Solutions for Commodities and Finance.

Amaral has more than 15 years’ global experience including as Head of Sustainability for South America at Rabobank, and in leadership positions for several high-profile sustainability initiatives, including as board member for Brazilian National Climate Change Fund, C-suite advisory boards for companies and international multi-stakeholder standard setting bodies.

Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the SBTi, says, “Since its inception, the SBTi has grown from a concept into a movement with more than 2,000 companies progressing science-based targets worldwide. This is a huge achievement but there is much more to do. The appointment of Luiz is part of a wide range of work we are carrying out to strengthen the SBTi and to mainstream the adoption of science-based targets. We are looking forward to working closely with him to deliver this next phase of rapid growth.”

Cynthia Cummis, Co-Founder and Technical Director of the SBTi says, “We continually review our target setting resources to reflect best practice in target setting for corporates and financial institutions in-line with the latest science. This year will see many significant developments. Luiz will oversee the roll out of our new technical governance structure, which will drive improvements in our technical decision-making processes. Other priorities include refining our approaches to scope 3 target setting, building out our measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) framework and developing our net-zero standard for financial institutions.”

Heidi Huusko, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor at the SBTi and Head of Environment and Climate at the United Nations Global Compact, says, “Luiz has a wealth of experience with accelerating climate action for sustainability initiatives across the world. His collaborative approach and experience of driving impact in emerging economies is vital for the initiative. We are in the midst of a climate emergency, and we will need these skills to enable exponential growth in the uptake of ambitious corporate climate action across geographies. The Science Based Targets initiative is eager to help Luiz hit the ground running in the race to a 1.5° C future.”