The COP28 climate summit was unequivocally buoyant for voluntary carbon markets, with strong endorsements from the United Nations, World Bank, COP Presidency, the United States, many developing nations and other policymakers.  The establishment of an end-to-end integrity framework brought much-needed certainty to companies seeking to reduce their net emissions through offsets.

On December 4th, a number of significant announcements were made regarding the VCM:

  1. At a specially-convened Presidential Roundtable – attended by Carbon Growth Partners – a number of senior climate leaders expressed their strong endorsement of voluntary carbon markets. This is the first time such an explicit, coordinated declaration of support has been made from the highest levels of global policy leadership (see examples below).
  2. The Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative (VCMI), Science Based Targets initiative, GHG Protocol and The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) announced they will come together to establish an End-to-End Integrity Framework that provides consistent guidance on decarbonisation that includes the use of offsets for residual emissions. This will provide the clear guidance companies have been waiting for, and that we have flagged in previous updates.
  3. The six major carbon crediting standards – Verra, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, ACR at Winrock International, ARTrees and Global Carbon Council announced they will collaborate to establish consistent standards on quantification, verification, permanence and to put these forward in a consistent way for endorsement to the ICVCM.
  4. The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) released its Proposed Guidance on Voluntary Carbon Markets, which Commission Chair Rostin Behnam said was essential to helping the VCM achieve its necessary scale, through greater oversight and financial innovation.

More broadly, COP28 finally established a loss and damage fund to help developing nations deal with the effects of climate change and for the first time, the final communique – known as the ‘UAE Consensus’ – recognised the need to transition away from fossil fuels.

Carbon Growth Partners was one of the VCM’s most influential thought leaders at COP, participating in many bilateral discussions and around a dozen roundtables, panel discussions and other events.  We will continue to work hard to be a voice for market-based solutions as we head into the new year.

Support for the VCM came from the highest levels of climate policy

“I have become a firm believer in the power of carbon markets to drive increased climate ambition and action, and the VCM is a vital tool to keep 1.5 degrees in reach. Let’s not waste any more time or let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.

– US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry

“No developing country who wants to use voluntary carbon markets should be left behind.”

– UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell

“I commend the efforts of the CFTC to support high-integrity voluntary carbon markets and I look forward to continued collaboration with the CFTC and other government agencies involved in shaping the development of responsible, high-functioning, and high-integrity VCMs”.

– US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen

“Developing countries should get paid for the climate benefits they provide; we have to get this market done”.

– World Bank President Ajay Banga