This Week In V-Carbon: Disney Dreams Big

Disney has plans to expand its voluntary offset program to cover indirect emissions from the consumption of electricity, heat or steam. This will mean more involvement in offset projects for the company.  To date, Disney has preferred to fund new projects than buy older offsets and to work with long-time NGO partners such as Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund and World Wildlife Fund. 

Disney has plans to expand its voluntary offset program to cover indirect emissions as well as direct. This will mean more involvement in offset projects for the company. To date, Disney has preferred to fund new projects than buy older offsets and to work with long-time NGO partners such as Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund and World Wildlife Fund.

This article was originally published in the V-Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.

24 September 2013 | The voluntary carbon markets will have an increasingly key role to play in support of “the happiest place on earth,” given the Walt Disney Company’s  new plans to expand its offset purchasing program.

“If it weren’t for the voluntary market, the vibrancy of the standards such as VCS [the Verified Carbon Standard], ACR [the American Carbon Registry], and CAR [the Climate Action Reserve] of course, we wouldn’t be comfortable playing in this area,” says Bob Antonoplis, the entertainment giant’s assistant general counsel. “The vibrancy of the market and the verification standards and the ability to get these projects off the ground and going has really worked well for us.”    

Already covering direct emissions (Scope 1), Disney plans to expand its voluntary offset program to soon also include its indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam (Scope 2).


“We’re going to be expanding our program as we fold in our Scope 2 emissions, which will obviously increase the amount of projects that we’ll be involved in,” Antonoplis told participants in a CAR webinar held last Thursday.  


The Climate Solutions Fund, Disney’s internal carbon pricing program, initially used the European price of $15 per tonne (/tCO2e) as its pricing benchmark, according to Antonoplis. However, the price charged to the company’s internal units has been much lower in practice, ranging in the $11-14/tCO2e range, he says.


To date, Disney has preferred to fund new projects rather than buying older offsets and to work with long-time NGO partners such as Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund and World Wildlife Fund, with 80-90% of its credits acquired through these relationships.  


Read Ecosystem Marketplace’s full coverage of the issue  here.  These and other stories from the voluntary carbon marketplace are summarized below, so keep reading!


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V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Natura has (great) skin in the game

Natura Cosméticos, Latin America’s largest cosmetics maker, has just become the first buyer of carbon offsets produced from a project led by the Paiter-Suruí­, who were the first indigenous people to generate credits by saving endangered rainforest using the VCS Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) methodology. Natura bought 120,000 tCO2e of carbon offsets as part of its efforts to reduce its GHG emissions by one-third from 2006 levels by the end of 2013. Five years in the works, the transaction required the development of a REDD template that can now be used by other indigenous people across the Amazon. The Suruí­ received project development and technical support from Forest Trends, Idesam, and partners.

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article


Peru and Costa Rica go local

An interview with Alessandro Riva,  Executive Director of the Peru Carbon Fund (PCF), provides an insider’s look into the fund’s new Peru-specific Forestry Standard, which diverges from most carbon standards serving either regional or global models. The standard seeks to generate Carbon Capture Certificates (CCCs) for native tree planting on previously deforested land, and allows for harvesting (e.g. using wood for construction) as long as the carbon isn’t released into the air. The Fund gathers financing from investors that seek carbon-neutral certification using CCCs, and fully invests the money in Amazon reforestation projects. Uniquely, the CCCs cannot be resold; PCF aims to provide a direct link between companies and farmers.


Last week, Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla signed a decree announcing the launch of the country’s voluntary domestic carbon market, which will be only open to domestic players for now. Under the new market, developed by the Costa Rican government with help from consultancy écoRessources, companies will be able to trade Costa Rican Compensation Units (UCCs), which are tied to domestic reforestation and conservation efforts alongside other projects designed to cut emissions and improve energy efficiency. UCCs are estimated to cost $3-$5/tCO2e, and the first trades are expected to take place toward the end of 2014.

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article on Peru
   – Read more about Costa Rica


Tax tips hat to voluntary offsets

There are those who prefer cap-and-trade, those who prefer a carbon tax, and those (or one so far) that prefers a hybrid. South Africa is moving forward on its proposal to blend a federal carbon tax with an offsetting mechanism, which is slated to go into force in 2015. An Ecosystem Marketplace article discusses where South Africa is in its carbon tax discussions, and the still-uncertain guidelines around the usage of offsets. For now, it is clear that regulated emitters would be able to use verified offsets developed under voluntary offset standards VCS and the Gold Standard in addition to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Development of a South Africa-specific standard could be considered at a later stage.

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article



For the soccer fans out there, FIFA has just announced that it plans to offset the 2.7 MtCO2e worth of emissions associated with its 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the Confederations Cup. Aside from tapping into verified carbon offsets, FIFA leadership says it will encourage stakeholders to lower their carbon footprints. Last year, the organization planned to spend $20 million to make the 2014 World Cup in Brazil the first with a comprehensive sustainability strategy; indeed, the line of credit FIFA needs to fund World Cup stadiums is conditional on a sustainable construction certification standard.


Meanwhile, Offsetters Climate Solutions announced today that it has reaffirmed its partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee as its official carbon partner, to apply up through the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil. Under the partnership, Offsetters will offset the committee’s organizational footprint as well as the travel emissions of all athletes, equipment, coaches, board members, and mission staff. This new commitment builds upon the existing legacy of Offsetters offsetting the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to become the first carbon-neutral Olympic Games, and offsetting the Canadian Olympic team’s emissions to London in 2012.

   – Read more about FIFA
   – Read more about Olympics


South Pole points to Africa

South Pole Carbon and bike provider Gump- & Drahtesel recently entered a partnership that enables companies to offset their carbon footprint through the Bicycles for Africa program, which sends Swiss bikes to African countries. “Compared to a motorbike, three tonnes of CO2 are saved with every exported bike. Every tonne of CO2 reduced in this project is matched with a verified Gold Standard credit,” says South Pole Carbon. Looking by the bike project’s current annual shipment, this means 36,000 tCO2e in reduced carbon emissions.

   – Read more


Aviva la vida

Ecosystem Marketplace’s last V-Carbon news brief covered German insurance giant Allianz’s involvement in the carbon market space. It turns out that another European insurance giant, based in the UK, is also involved in the carbon space – Aviva has offset more than 126,500 tCO2e over the past two years through investments in offset projects in the LifeStraw Carbon for Water project in Kenya, as well as a clean cookstoves project in India. To undergird its support for the projects, the insurance provider developed a peer-reviewed methodology to quantify and measure corporate community investment (with offsetting partner ClimateCare) and measures the carbon emissions reduced.

   – Read more


Climate North America

California to put buyers on the hook for forestry

If the staff at the California Air Resources Board (ARB) gets its way, California’s cap-and-trade program could end up shifting the invalidation risk for forestry projects away from forest owners to the buyers of offset credits from approved forestry projects. The buyers’ liability provisions allow regulators to invalidate credits that are found to be faulty or fraudulent and require regulated emitters to surrender replacement offsets. Currently, forest owners are responsible for the invalidation risk, but the buyers bear the risk for the other project types eligible for the California program. The regulators are now aiming for consistency in the buyers’ liability provisions, seen by some as a move that could propel additional forest carbon development, while seen by others as an inappropriate burden to buyers.

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article


California drowning in allowances

California’s cap-and-trade program will have more allowances than needed through 2019, which will put significant pressure on allowance prices, according to a new report by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. Updated emissions data shows a steep decline in power sector emissions as California’s strong renewable energy mandate is leading emissions to drop 15% from 92 MtCO2e in 2013 to 78 MtCO2e in 2020. That, in turn, is expected to drive allowance prices down to the program’s price floors of $11/tCO2e in 2013 and $15/tCO2e in 2020, a 66% decline from the analysis firm’s previous price forecast. Other trading programs such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have previously been challenged by distributing too many permits in their early years.  

   – Read more


RGGI selling out

RGGI sold all available allowances for the third consecutive auction in 2013. Activity in the Northeastern cap-and-trade program has been reignited by a February announcement of a major overhaul of the program that will significantly lower its emissions cap in 2014. But the clearing price for the September auction did drop to $2.67/tCO2e compared to the $3.21/tCO2e in the June auction. September marks the fifth anniversary of the first RGGI auction, with nearly $1.5 billion raised over the years for clean energy and other initiatives in the participating states.

   – Read press release
   – Read market monitor report


Gearing up for a Trust fall

Last week, the Campbell River city council voted to hold off on asking the province of British Columbia to repeal the Pacific Carbon Trust (PCT), despite pressure to do otherwise. Councillor Andy Adams opposes the PCT because only public institutions are required to take on the financial burden of offsetting emissions, while “some of the much larger producers of what they’re trying to eliminate are not having to contribute at all.” However, Amber Zirnhelt, the city’s sustainability manager, says the city does not actually source offsets from PCT – instead allocating dollars that would have gone toward purchasing offsets to a carbon neutral reserve fund for local GHG reduction projects – and thus should wait before making any recommendations to the province.

   – Read more


Kyoto & Beyond

EU ETS on the operating table

Hoping to build up support from countries to work toward a global market-based system for regulating aviation emissions, the European Union recently offered to change the aviation part of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) such that airlines will only be required to account for emissions for the portion of the flight that takes place within EU airspace, lasting through 2020. The EU’s previously proposed measure had met opposition from countries including the US, China, and India regarding emissions on portions of flights outside the EU’s airspace.

   – Read more


A blurry line between offsets and reductions

The Stockholm Environment Institute recently released a report stating that the CDM could raise its odds of survival by driving absolute emissions reductions rather than simply offsetting emissions. In its recommendation, CDM projects would need to cut more emissions than they receive carbon credits for or lead to emissions reductions below levels pledged by all countries aside from the world’s poorest. “If such a net benefit were attainable, offsets could become a more attractive option to policymakers and other arguing for greater mitigation ambition,” reads the report, pointing to industrial gas projects as the best equipped CDM project types to provide such “net decreases,” with the ability to cut emissions by around 100 million tonnes (MtCO2e) by 2020.

   – Read more


Global Policy Update

Landslide victory, backslide for carbon?

Going into Australia’s federal elections last week, it looked like activities under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) were set to be challenged no matter who won. Under Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan, the market for domestic CFI credits would be limited to a government reverse auction system, while under Kevin Rudd, an ETS linkage with the EU ETS would lead to a significant drop in prices for domestic CFI projects. Following Abbott’s landslide victory, the Australian government is expected to invite bids for emissions reductions from project developers, using a policy with a limited budget that prioritizes least-cost emissions reductions.

   – Read more from Reuters
   – Read more from Sustainable Business


Uncertainty at the (sea)grassroots

With seagrass meadows tucking away between four and ten times the amount of carbon that forests do, new research from Edith Cowan University estimates the value of Australia’s seagrass meadows at more than $5 billion on the international carbon market. The estimate is, however, tenuously hinged on a carbon trading price of A$35/tCO2e (predicted by Australia’s federal government by 2020 based on the country’s former trajectory of instituting a national emissions trading scheme by 2014-2015). The Australian government’s new intention to establish a Direct Action Plan in place of a carbon price could potentially limit the potential for blue carbon to take off.

   – Read more from The Conversation
   – Listen to ABC interview


Carbon Finance

Tracking REDD+ tracking (continued)

Forest Trends’ REDDX and the Overseas Development Institute’s Climate Funds Update recently launched Part VI of the organizations’ collaborative series that explains existing REDD+ finance tracking projects while identifying niches and cross-over areas to support more comprehensive assessments of REDD+ policy and finance gaps and needs. In the series finale, REDDX and the Climate Funds Update stress the need to: 1) develop capacity for in-country REDD+ finance tracking to improve reporting and REDD+ finance spending; 2) establish broader discourse and develop a protocol through which private REDD+ finance can be better tracked; and 3) proactively consider needs to track REDD+ finance under a globally integrated REDD+ mechanism, as well as how REDD+ fits within emerging climate finance funds like the Green Climate Fund.

   – Read Part VI


Featured Jobs

Forest Carbon Sales and Marketing Manager – CO2OL

Based in Germany, the Forest Carbon Sales and Marketing Manager will lead CO2OL’s work to commercialize the carbon credits generated by our reforestation projects and individual forest carbon projects. Candidates should have a track record of carbon credit sales or sales of investment/financial products and an expertise in the branding, marketing and differentiation of premium carbon credits.

   – Read more about the position here


Senior Program Manager – The Climate Trust

Based in Oregon, the Senior Program Manager will support The Climate Trust’s carbon acquisitions efforts by identifying, evaluating, and negotiating to secure projects that enhance our growing carbon offset portfolio. The position involves managing teams, clients, and vendors, and it requires an individual with project evaluation and commercialization expertise as well as strong interpersonal skills. Candidates should possess a minimum of 5 years of project evaluation, and relationship management experience.

   – Read more about the position here


Senior Consultant – South Pole Carbon

Based in Zurich, the Senior Consultant will plan, coordinate and manage consultancy assignments related to analysis, design, implementation and capacity building activities within the context of market-based GHG mitigation instruments. Candidates should have a university degree, ideally in environmental science, engineering and/or economics, and at least 7 years of relevant experience in project management and consultancy positions.

   – Read more about the position here


Project Manager, Energy and Environmental Markets – New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Based in Albany, NY, the Project Manager will design and manage market based programs such as the Renewable Portfolio Standard, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the Clean Air Interstate Rule. Candidates should have a Bachelors degree in finance, economics, business, engineering, or environmental science or a related discipline and at least 3 years’ experience working in the evolving retail and/or wholesale energy markets or similar area.

   – Read more about the position here


Economist, Climate and Energy – World Resources Institute

Based in Washington, D.C., the Climate and Energy Economist will plan and advance climate and energy projects, analyze and assess related research and tailor the result towards decision-makers in the policy field. Candidates should possess an advanced degree in natural resource economics or related economic field and at least five years of relevant professional experience in conducting economic analyses in support of environment, natural resources, and energy.

   – Read more about the position here


Regional Director, San Joaquin Valley – Sustainable Conservation

Based in San Joaquin Valley, the Regional Director will avaluate new ideas, technologies and business models that reduce the environmental impact of California dairies while providing profitable revenue streams in areas of high concentrations of dairies. Candidates should have 10+ years’ experience in a leadership role or equivalent and significant knowledge of the California agriculture sector and agricultural systems.

   – Read more about the position here


Climate Reporter, ThinkProgress – Center for American Progress

Based in Washington, D.C., the Climate Report will write daily content, in-depth pieces and pursue investigations on energy and climate stories. Candidates should have strong research and writing experience, as well as familiarity with energy or climate policy.

   – Read more about the position here





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