Picking Up Steam, State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2007

In the course of 2006 and 2007, interest in climate change, carbon offsets and the voluntary carbon markets accelerated dramatically. And yet despite this interest, and the fact that voluntary carbon markets have effectively been operating since 1989, quantitative data surrounding this market has been sorely lacking. Because of this situation Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance teamed up to undertake the most comprehensive analysis to date of the voluntary carbon market. The research has involved a wide ranging survey with responses from over 70 organizations involved all stages of the supply chain including developers, aggregators, brokers and retailers, and covered five continents.

The results show that, like the early stages of the regulated carbon markets of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the Kyoto Protocol, the voluntary markets are evolving rapidly. They also show that 2006 was a year of significant growth with many new retailers, brokers, and other actors entering the market. Since 2002 the number of organizations supplying carbon credits into the market has grown by 200%, with online retailers being the fastest growing sector of the marketplace.

Between 2005 and 2006 the Over the Counter (OTC) voluntary offset market also grew 200%.

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