V-Carbon Report

The 2012 Voluntary Carbon Markets report is to have its North American launch in Washington D.C. this Thursday, June 14, and promises to provide valuable insight on issues such as the large quantity of credits sold to final buyers, leading third-party standards and the rise of wind and renewable energy projects.

The 2012 Voluntary Carbon Markets report is to have its North American launch in Washington D.C. this Thursday, June 14, and promises to provide valuable insight on issues such as the large quantity of credits sold to final buyers, leading third-party standards and the rise of wind and renewable energy projects.

This article originally appeared in the Voluntary Carbon newsletter. Click here to view the original.

12 June 2012 |   The market for voluntary carbon offsetting hit a three-year high in 2011, transacting more than $576 million of offsets, second only to 2008’s record $776 million, according to the 2012 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report, which was unveiled last week to a packed house at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany.


If you missed the event, you can download the report  here  – or better yet – join us for the  North American launch, hosted by Baker & McKenzie at their Washington, DC offices on June 14. The event will include a panel presentation of findings from 4:30-6:00 PM, followed by a reception. To attend, RSVP by COB tomorrow, June 12 via email to [email protected].


At the DC event, a panel of US-based carbon experts will join Ecosystem Marketplace to present the latest findings in this report series, including:



  • In 2011, the value of the voluntary marketplace increased to $576 million as the average offset price increased slightly from $6/t in 2010 to $6.2/t. Actors in the voluntary carbon markets contracted 95 MtCO2 for immediate or future delivery. Of this total volume, suppliers reported that they or their buyers retired 13 MtCO2e.  
  • Credits from wind projects transacted the largest volume of credits among any project type (23.5 MtCO2e), followed by afforestation/reforestation (7.6 MtCO2e) and REDD (7.3 MtCO2e). As a category, renewable energy projects generated 35 MtCO2e or 45% of all volumes that were tied to a project type in 2011 – roughly the same space occupied by forest carbon credits in the year before.
  • Unlike previous years where the high end of the price spectrum was dominated by low-volume transactions of boutique project types, this year some of the voluntary market’s most popular credit types also transacted credits at above average prices – most notably clean cookstoves ($13.2/tCO2e) and REDD ($12/tCO2e).
  • Overall, we tracked 10 MtCO2e of offsets transacted for California pre-compliance purposes, at an average price of $8/tCO2e – for a total value of $85 million in 2011. Respondents attributed the largest volume of transacted credits to CAR early action ODS credits, followed by IFM.
  • In 2011, the VCS, CAR, the Gold Standard and ACR were the front-runners for market share among independent third-party standards, together guiding the development of 75% of all transacted credits. Continuing a 5-year streak at the top of the chart, the Verified Carbon Standard saw 41 MtCO2e of credits transacted utilizing its standard.
  • In 2011, suppliers reported selling 53% of credits to final buyers with the understanding that they or their buyers would retire the credits to offset emissions. All told, purely voluntary buyers’ transactions were worth $368 million – or 64% of overall market value.
  • 92% of all credits were transacted by for-profit corporate buyers. The largest proportion of these buyers voluntarily purchased offsets to attain corporate GHG targets that were established for CSR or public relations and branding purposes.
  • European buyers maintained their lead as the largest source of offset demand, transacting 33 MtCO2e worth $204 million – a little over 1/3 of overall OTC market value in 2011. In the context of both country-level and purely voluntary demand, the US came out on top – purchasing 19 MtCO2e for purely voluntary purposes, with 12.4 MtCO2e going directly to end users.




—The Editors

For comments or questions, please email: [email protected]

V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Bain and M&S broaden their portfolios

Boston-based consultancy Bain & Co and London-based retailer Marks & Spencer both announced carbon neutrality last week, zeroing out their footprints via internal reductions and carbon offsets sourced through The CarbonNeutral Company. Bain has invested in six offset projects covering wind, biomass, forestry, geothermal and methane capture in the US, Brazil, Turkey, India, and China. M&S, the first big UK retailer to go carbon neutral, is helping finance offset projects with direct community benefits, including Meru and Nanyuki reforestation in Kenya (VCS/CCBA), Sabah rainforest rehabilitation in Borneo (VCS), improved cooking techniques in South Africa (GS), the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in Kenya (VCS/CCBA), Wuhe agricultural biomass in China (VCS), and Bandirma and Tekirdag wind projects in Turkey (GS).

   – Read more


Insolvency Service minds its manors

Manor Rose Carbon Credit Ltd and eight land banking firms that were also engaged in selling carbon credits to individual investors have been ordered into liquidation in the High Court on grounds of public interest. The Service’s Company Investigations (CIs) found that the companies misled the public into investing around £6.5 million ($10 million), based on claims that inflated the investment potential of the carbon credits and land. On the rise of carbon credit scammers, Jonathan Phelan, the FSA’s head of unauthorized business, was quoted by IFA saying, “Typically we think they are the same people who have run boiler rooms and land banking fraud. They are moving from con to con.”

   – Read Insolvency Service press release
   – Read more from IFA


VCS wetland restoration and conservation requirements

The Verified Carbon Standard is hosting a webinar this Wednesday at 11am EST to discuss newly released draft requirements for crediting Wetlands Restoration and Conservation (WRC) activities. These requirements are the first ever for methodologies that credit greenhouse gases removed by wetlands, including mangroves, freshwater tidal coastal wetlands, salt marshes, sea grasses, and floodplains. The draft requirements, incorporated directly into the VCS AFOLU Requirements doc, are open for public comment until June 23.

   – Register for the webinar
   – Review the draft requirements


Paradigm shifts to bigger recipes for good

From a warehouse in Nairobi, the Paradigm Project produces 2,000 “Jiko Poa” stoves a month, sold via a network of 40 dealers. Paradigm claims that the stoves are 45% more efficient than open fires and reduce toxic smoke by 50%. The proof of concept came in January when Paradigm first sold 125,000 tCO2e in offsets to the Climate Neutral Group. Originally raising $3 million in private equity to fund 400,000 stoves over 10 years, Paradigm has raised its target to 3x that number, with plans to launch a similar product in Ethiopia and Rwanda later this year. Paradigm is looking to expand to other emissions-cutting products, including a water filtration unit.

   – Read more


Cheers to all the roving ambassadors

Adventure travel company Peregrine and Aussie carbon offset suppliers Carbon Neutral have joined forces to offer Australian travelers more carbon neutral opportunities to sate their wanderlust. Together, they’ve established a unique carbon reduction programme that offsets carbon emissions created by Peregrine’s trips, offices, and staff travel through biodiverse tree planting in rural Australia and a renewable energy wind farm project in India.

   – Read more


Teasing out tonnes per tire

Contrary to what you might think, Harmonic Energy Inc. does not specialize in music-based alternative energy. But it does do something pretty resourceful – remanufacturing scrap tires into new tires or completely recycling them into marketable chemical commodities, using its trademarked Tyrolysis process. Harmonic announced last week that it is undergoing a technology equipment review for carbon credits earned through Tyrolysis, working with a leading engineering firm that develops carbon offset projects and specializes in adapting and implementing new lower-emissions technology. Harmonic’s unaudited opinion is that each tonne of tires processed via Tyrolysis instead of being burned would offset about 2.5 tCO2e.

   – Read more


Reduce & Retire: The Latest on Carbon Neutral

Pack your offsets and go


Amid handshakes and handouts, the UN will be offsetting emissions for its Rio+20 staff delegation, estimating that its 1,400 staff will generate about 3,600 tCO2e, largely from air travel. The Carbon Emissions Offsetting Initiative (CEOI), a brainchild of the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, will leverage the South-South Global Assets and Technology Exchange (SS-GATE) to offset emissions, using Gold Standard CERs from CDM projects with an emphasis on LDC projects.


NativeEnergy sponsored carbon offsets to cover activities, travel, and accommodations for last week’s 2012 Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego. Its Help Build™ carbon offsets provide upfront funding for clean energy and carbon avoidance projects. Recent projects include the Iowa Farms Wind Project, the Wewoka Biogas Project, and the Indiana Community Wind Project.


   – Read more about Rio+20 offsetting
   – Read more about Sustainable Brands Conference offsetting


A freight train of thought


Expolanka Freight Ltd, one of Sri Lanka’s largest freight forwarders and a premier provider of services in the fashion industry, was recently awarded CarbonNeutral certification by the Carbon Consulting Company, making it Sri Lanka’s first-ever CarbonNeutral freight and logistics company, and one of Asia’s first. Expolanka Freight has neutralized its carbon footprint for the year 2011, purchasing carbon offsets to zero out fully.


   – Read more


Climate North America

New Hampshire may stay, New Jersey wants back in

Republican leaders in the House and Senate have struck a deal that may keep New Hampshire in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Rep. Jim Garrity said last week that while the House prefers a repeal date, it “can live with the Senate version because it does help ratepayers.” The Senate version of the bill redirects state revenue from credit auctions to an energy efficiency fund controlled by utility firms, and lowers the rebate threshold on auction proceeds to reduce rates for customers. The version allows New Hampshire to exit RGGI if certain conditions are met. RGGI advocates argue that the amendment waters RGGI down, with funding for energy efficiency projects cut in half.


The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey filed a lawsuit last Wednesday in the Superior Court in Trenton against the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, seeking to reinstate New Jersey in RGGI, arguing that the withdrawal was done without following state administrative laws, which they say would require giving the public time to comment. Gov. Christie questioned the program’s effectiveness, saying that New Jersey was reducing its emissions regardless. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection officials said the withdrawal was fully legal, done in consultation with the attorney’s general office.

   – Read more on NH from Concord Monitor
   – Read more on NJ from The New York Times
   – Read more on NJ from Inside Climate News


A new roof for The Climate Trust

It was announced last Tuesday that The Oregon-based Climate Trust has just opened an office in Denver to administer the Colorado Energy Office’s Carbon Fund, which supports statewide carbon offset projects. The fund, established in 2008, was the nation’s first voluntary, state-based program designed to help residents offset emissions. At the time, The Climate Trust helped the energy office select offset projects. Over 1,000 individuals and 75 Colorado organizations have reduced their emissions through the program, retiring over 30,500 tCO2e in carbon credits.

   – Read more


Not in our hood, says LaHood

Last week, the EU said it won’t ease the emission reduction burden on airlines by assessing only one leg of flights in the ETS, though its law exempts incoming flights from a country if it undertakes equivalent measures to tackle aviation emissions. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that if the EU persists in applying the ETS to US airlines, the most-discussed next option is for the US to file a complaint under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention, the founding document of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The EU should negotiate for a global system through ICAO, LaHood said. ICAO will present a global carbon regulation plan later this month.

   – Read more


Cali gets ZEV-savvy

Corporate demand for green credits may draw strength from a new source. Starting this year, California is requiring the biggest automakers to sell increasing numbers of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to meet clean-air rules. Makers that undershoot their quotas can buy ZEV credits from rivals that exceed their targets, but otherwise face fines or limits on their ability to sell cars. The regulations affect auto sales in 11 other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, where makers earn credits for ZEVs sold in those states to meet thresholds based on their California sales. Regulators expect the six largest carmakers to sell 60,000 ZEVs across affected states through 2014, and a cumulative 1.4 million by 2025. The order is tallest for Toyota with the largest market share in California, followed by Honda, Ford, GM, Nissan, and Chrysler.

   – Read more from Bloomberg
   – Read more from Sustainable Business


Kyoto & Beyond

ACAD gets bold in Africa

The African Carbon Asset Development (ACAD) Facility – an incubator for developing UNEP-steered carbon projects – has announced plans to support at least 20 more projects in Africa by the end of 2013. ACAD has launched a fresh call for projects and financial partners, with Standard Bank already re-enlisted in the public-private partnership. The German Government’s International Climate Initiative is providing further funding to ACAD based on the success of its first phase, in which 14 projects in 9 countries received seed funding. ACAD project successes include the first UN-registered large-scale wind power project in Africa and small-scale hydropower projects in East Africa.

   – Read more


Deadlocked and delayed responsibility

The Bonn talks were intended to work out a new global climate pact by 2015 in which both rich and poor nations worked to curb emissions. Instead, delegates failed to resolve how to share the climate mitigation burden. “The US and Japan and Russia aren’t taking their responsibilities seriously; yet the developed countries are right in that you can’t rebuild the firewall and pretend that the future for China is the same as the future for Bangladesh,” said Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists. On common but differentiated responsibility, delegates were split between a more dynamic rich/poor division and one based on historical blame. The issue has been left open until Doha in November.

   – Read more from redOrbit
   – Read more from Reuters Africa
   – Read more from Agence France-Presse


Solace for the small guys

Small emitters and hospitals can opt-out of the EU ETS from next year in a move the UK government says could save industry up to £80 million ($124 million) through 2020. Around 250 eligible installations, accounting for about 1% of UK carbon output under the EU ETS, can instead apply to be given individual emission reduction targets outside the scheme. The opt-out lifts disproportionately higher administrative costs (over £1/tCO2) faced by small emitters, while large emitters pay £0.04/tCO2. To opt out, stationary installations must have verified annual emissions below 25,000 tCO2e from 2008 onward and, if applicable, thermal capacity below 35MW in 2008-2010. Companies can apply to opt-out on the DECC website until July 18.

   – Read more


EU ETS on the operating table

EU regulators have pledged to guarantee  “fair and equal” access  for market participants in a planned proposal to delay carbon permit auctions to curb oversupply in the 2013-2020 trading period, to be discussed in mid-July. Backloading would be a stopgap measure without changing the pollution cap, according to the European Commission. European environment ministers are expected to  reopen a debate  later this month on deeper EU emission cuts. While Germany proactively supports bigger cuts, coal-reliant Poland has been less enthusiastic.



Recovery with intervention

European carbon prices could treble from current levels to average over €19 ($24) over the next eight years provided EU governments cut permit supply and Europe’s economy recovers, according to a PwC survey. EUA prices could rise above €38 ($48) by 2030, the survey found, while UN carbon credits could average nearly €12 ($15) each in the 2013-2020 trading period and €22 ($28) by 2030. The survey found that Brazil, Indonesia, and many sub-Saharan African countries would be major UN-backed offset suppliers by 2020. The role of China, the largest offsets supplier to date, would fall as China’s economy grows and buyers source credits from poorer countries.

   – Read more


Global Policy Update

Kenya’s building blocks

The day when talk of a climate authority becomes bread-and-butter is here for Kenya, as increasingly volatile weather continues to cost the country food security, money, and lives. In response, environmental scientist and parliament member Wilbur Ottichilo has drafted a bill to create an independent Climate Change Authority, which would establish a national registry for energy and carbon emissions reporting, set emission reduction targets, and develop incentives to promote renewable energy. Ottichilo is confident the bill will go before parliament, with over 100 MPs out of 222 already expressing support. Nigeria is the only other African country to have approved a bill to set up a similar body.


Kenya has also finalized a proposed national policy that would introduce a carbon market at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in Nairobi, which currently hosts the Africa Carbon Exchange.  The Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources has created a national climate change roadmap on top of policy measures geared toward increasing private sector participation.

   – Read more on climate authority
   – Read more on NSE carbon market


There’s REDD, but what about blue?

Seagrasses could be a multibillion-dollar marketplace for mitigating climate change, according to a new study by James Fourqurean and other scientists. The first global analysis of seagrass carbon storage, the study shows seagrass meadows capable of storing as much carbon as any forest. At the 35th SBSTA session in Bonn, Norway proposed to further explore policy options surrounding blue carbon. As the largest UN REDD Programme funder, Norway noted that while the UNFCCC has developed strategies and mechanisms to enhance terrestrial carbon sinks, less attention has been given to marine and coastal ecosystems.

   – Read more from Blue Carbon Blog
   – Read more from Phys.Org


Iron fist, bare hands

Miroslav Blazek, director of Czech company Topic Energy – which links North Korea and potential buyers – says North Koreans “jumped” at the chance to get into carbon trading in response to perceived returns, with workers digging at hydro dam sites with their bare hands. There are currently seven North Korean hydroelectric projects in advanced stages and registered for trading. The seven dams may yield up to 241,000 CERs annually, worth almost $1.3 million. While over 30 potential buyers pulled out due to the US trade embargo with North Korea, Blazek struck a deal with a Chinese-controlled conglomerate that needs to offset emissions from facilities in Europe.

   – Read more


Birthing and teething

China’s seven upcoming trial platforms should enjoy policy-created demand and support from a new national climate change  think tank. But challenges abound, says Wang Tao in  China Dialogue, ranging from the roughness of available emissions data to the government’s lack of coordination on carbon markets policy. Wang says trial targets won’t lead to national targets, and adds that trials based on key industries and emitters will more likely succeed than a more universal approach. The vice-head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC) said last week that China’s proposed national scheme would exclude the power sector if “rising electricity prices and shortages cannot be solved” (Morning Whistle,  Reuters). A Bloomberg article shows Chinese carbon-cutting projects skirting around the nation’s unofficial floor price for carbon credits, suggesting China is less likely to show supply restraint going forward.



Divided, yet closer

While the EU and China are still tense on the airline emissions issue – with Brussels saying that it would exempt Beijing if it implements its own equivalent scheme – and while an EU special advisor has expressed frustration at Beijing’s uncoordinated climate policymaking, mentorship has emerged between the bickering. Meetings between EU and Chinese officials aimed at helping Beijing draft plans for its own carbon emissions market are “increasing in intensity,” according to the EU’s chief climate negotiator. The Beijing Energy and Environmental Exchange (CBEEX) and Shenzhen Carbonneutral Bio-gas have reportedly started on blueprints for a domestic carbon trading scheme.

   – Read more


And then there were 14

As companies panic last minute  in anticipation of Australia’s carbon tax, new carbon programs in at least 14 emerging nations show emissions trading may take off, according to Xueman Wang from the World Bank. South Korea, Ukraine, Brazil, Chile, and China are considering domestic carbon trading, while India and South Africa are studying their own plans. Costa Rica, Columbia, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Vietnam, Jordan, and Chile are considering emissions-crediting systems. Emerging countries are choosing industries where emission credits can encourage carbon cuts, cutting climate protection costs in support of domestic climate objectives. “U.S. intransigence has not stopped emerging economies from valuing carbon in their own way,” said Bunge’s James Cameron.

   – Read more from BusinessWeek
   – Read more from The Washington Post


Carbon Finance

Bearish bourse loses faith

Bavaria’s stock exchange Bayerische Borse is dropping its EU carbon trading platform Greenmarket on June 30, citing plunging carbon prices and a lack of acceptance of emissions trading by the market. IETA CEO and President Dirk Forrister replied, “We are sorry to see an exit like this, but we are confident of the long-term viability of the market – as is demonstrated by successful performance of other exchanges.” IETA said market figures indicate EU emissions trading is well accepted by industry, is liquid and transparent, and shows increasing volume traded on exchanges “likely to be further reinforced by the forthcoming overhaul of financial regulation.”

   – Read more from Platts
   – Read more from Reuters


Prompt market not so prompt

ICE suspended prompt trading in January last year after thefts of carbon allowances roiled the market. Most recently, ICE Futures Europe said it might extend a 16-month suspension of its prompt market as it waits for a software upgrade at a new EU registry. The upgrade will allow traders to set up trusted accounts in the registry that allow for streamlined trading. Without the accounts, transactions could take up to seven days to settle – too long for what is otherwise a daily market. The European Commission said the new registry, which combines about 30 registries from countries participating in the market, will be activated on June 20.

   – Read more


Featured Jobs

Program Coordinator, Energy Program – Environmental Defense Fund

Based in Austin, Texas, the Program Coordinator will provide budget and financial reporting support for the Energy program. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree, a minimum of four years of relevant work experience in business administration or public administration.  

   – Read more about the position here


Policy Associate, Climate and Air Program – Environmental Defense Fund

Based in Washington, DC, the Associate will play a key role in the development and execution of EDF’s international climate strategy and carbon reduction policies. Candidates should have a graduate degree or equivalent work experience in areas related to climate change, experience in project management, and knowledge of US federal policy processes or UN agencies.

   – Read more about the position here


Senior EHS Technical Director – Institute for Sustainable Communities

Based in Shanghai, the Technical Director will oversee the design, implementation and evaluation of Environment, Health and Safety training programs. Candidates should have an advanced degree in environmental science/engineering, industrial/occupational health and safety or related field and 10+ years experience managing energy, carbon, and EHS related issues with multinational corporations. Fluency in English or Mandarin required.

   – Read more about the position here


Summer Intern – Verified Carbon Standard

The Summer Intern will be responsible for helping VCS conduct research to support VCS policy outreach, draft summaries of legislative and regulatory proposals, among other tasks.  Candidates should have good knowledge of the voluntary and regulated carbon markets, with relevant course experience.

   – Additional resources

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