Forestry Leads the Charge to Close a Gap in Carbon Offsets Retirements and Issuances

Stephen Donofrio

Retirements surged 81 percent in Quarter 1 of 2021, closing the gap with issuances, which declined 11.3 percent. Forestry offsets led the charge with 20.0 million offsets retired and 24.9 million issued, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s newest Insights Brief.

16 April 2021 | Are we at the turning point where demand for carbon offsets will outpace supply? A new Ecosystem Marketplace Insights Brief reviews carbon offsets supply and demand signals.

The report, Closing the Carbon Offsets Issuances & Retirements Gap, State of the Carbon Offsets Standards’ Issuances & Retirements, 2021 Quarter 1 features aggregated data derived from standards’ registries, including Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and Climate Action Reserve, Plan Vivo, and the California Air Resources Board to bring you the latest updates and historical roundup of independent and compliance offsets standards.

As more and more companies make new net zero commitments, we are watching also how companies that had already made such ambitious goals over the past couple of years are designing their game plans for achieving them. If carbon offsets are a part of those strategies, what types of projects, which standards, project locations, among other additional attributes, will these corporate buyers prefer? More to be seen as organizations worldwide respond to the 2021 EM Global Carbon Survey, but for now we can begin to see that so far in the first quarter alone that 2021 has already proven to be a landmark year in carbon markets.

Our findings show compelling shifts, such as:

  • Retirements surpassed issuances in January 2021 for the first time since 2017. The increase was primarily driven by forestry project retirements.
  • VCS retirements have more than doubled, Plan Vivo nearly doubled, and Gold Standard increased by 40% compared to Q1 2020.
  • Over two-thirds of the world’s issuances in Q1 2021 were located in the United States, India, Turkey, Cambodia, and China.

Download the report for free now to read more on the EM Global Carbon Hub.

Stephen Donofrio is Director of Ecosystem Marketplace and Supply Change initiatives of Forest Trends. He is also the Founding Principal of GreenPoint Innovations and previously led programs at CDP North America and the Chicago Climate Exchange.

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