Laser Talk: Integrity Matters

Laser Talk: Integrity Matters

At COP 27 in Egypt the UN High-Level Expert Group on net-zero commitments (HLEG) launched its report Integrity matters: Net zero commitments by businesses, financial institutions, cities and regions. The goal of the group was to develop stronger and clearer standards for net-zero emissions pledges by non-State entities. The group was led by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s former Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.

Secretary-General António Guterres said: “A growing number of governments and non-state actors are pledging to be carbon-free and obviously that’s good news. The problem is that the criteria and benchmarks for these net-zero commitments have varying levels of rigour and loopholes wide enough to drive a diesel truck through. We must have zero tolerance for net-zero greenwashing.”

The Integrity Matters resource aims to develop stronger and clearer standards for net-zero emissions pledges by non-state entities and speed up their implementation. The report provides clarity in four key areas – environmental integrity, credibility, accountability and the role of governments. The report is organized under five principles and ten recommendations.

Five principles:

  1. Ambition which delivers significant near— and medium —term emissions reductions on a path to global net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions soon after
  2. Demonstrated integrity by aligning commitments with actions and investments
  3. Radical transparency in sharing relevant, non-competitive, comparable data on plans and progress
  4. Established credibility through plans based in science and third-party accountability
  5. Demonstrable commitment to both equity and justice in all actions

Ten Recommendations::

  1. Announcing a Net Zero Pledge
  2. Setting Net Zero Targets
  3. Using Voluntary Credits
  4. Creating a Transition Plan
  5. Phasing out of Fossil Fuels and Scaling Up Renewable Energy
  6. Aligning Lobbying and Advocacy
  7. People and Nature in the Just Transition
  8. Increasing Transparency and Accountability
  9. Investing in Just Transitions
  10. Accelerating the Road to Regulation


  • Technologies must come as advertised
  • There are limits on the use of carbon offsets
  • No new fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Plan for unwinding from fossil fuels
  • No being aligned with groups that lobby for fossil fuels
  • Investments must be made in a just-transition.

More information: On Valentine’s Day, the Honourable Catherine McKenna joined Citizens’ Climate International for a fireside chat. A considerable chunk of that conversation centered around the UN’s Integrity Matters report. You can watch it:  

Fireside Chat with the Honourable Catherine McKenna - Valentine's Day 2023