From the Editors
The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon
William Shakespeare famously wrote that all the world's a stage. Well in the carbon world, that stage is shared by the public and private sectors, Ecosystem Marketplace's State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report observed. EM experts and carbon market participants pondered that interaction, along with other findings from the report, during a presentation in Washington, DC last week.
Overall volume in the voluntary carbon market declined 26% as a large number of tonnes transitioned into California's regulated market, but was boosted by a major public sector transaction in which German development Bank KfW agreed to pay the Brazilian state of Acre for its performance in mitigating forest carbon emissions, said Ecosystem Marketplace Director Molly Peters-Stanley.
Despite the challenges in the voluntary carbon market, the participants saw a silver lining in the strong momentum in favor of projects with co-benefits beyond emissions reductions. Forestry and land use projects – many of which fit this mold – took home a 45% market share, according to the report.
"The good thing for people like us is that competition is also causing the value and the quality of the offsets to go up," said Hans Wegner, Chief Sustainability Officer at the National Geographic Society. "For me, it's really, really important – because credibility is so important to us as an organization – that we have everything verified, that we've purchased offsets of high value that are accounted for."
National Geographic purchases carbon offsets from a reforestation project in Panama and avoided deforestation (REDD) projects in Brazil and Tanzania to cover emissions from discrete aspects of its operations, from natural gas use in its buildings to business travel. Since only 4% of the Society's emissions are within its direct control, Wegner works with suppliers to offset their 'Scope 3' or indirect supply chain emissions. He hopes that these relationships may expand the concept of offsetting beyond National Geographic's doors.
Spanish soccer club Getafe is taking a slightly different approach to engagement. Last week, it announced a five-year commitment with offset supplier ALLCOT Group to neutralize its emissions, including those from the team's travel, which has been calculated to be about 20,000 kilometers per season. (Getafe is still in the process of calculating the club's total footprint.) The club is considering three possible forest carbon projects developed under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), but is allowing its fans to have the final say. On a voting page, fans can decide whether they want Getafe to invest in the Cikel REDD project in Brazil, the Madre de Dios REDD project in Peru, or the RMDLT Portel Para REDD project in Brazil. Almost 800 fans have cast their vote in just the first week.
"The projects are all very similar – in the three cases we talk about reforestation works – and this is an idea that appealed to the club, especially to our president, since the moment we heard about them," said David Torres, Sport Project Leader at Getafe. "Letting our fans vote for what project they want to proceed is also really important for us as a club, as we think without their support we would never get very far."
Here at Ecosystem Marketplace, we're turning our sights to continued data collection for the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 report. This year's report will consist of some exciting features, including:
- • A closer look at the co-benefits of forest carbon projects, from employment to endangered species protection
- • New information on forestry's role in emerging compliance carbon markets, including finance flowing to jurisdictional nested REDD
- • Emerging trends in buyer motivations and activities, from internal carbon pricing to customer engagement with offset programs
However, our data is only as good as you make it! If you have yet to respond to the forest carbon survey, please sign up here or email Allie at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an account. Please note that all transaction data is kept completely confidential and only presented in aggregate. Other project information may be made visible on the Forest Carbon Portal at your request.
We look forward to hearing from you!
More news from the forest carbon marketplace is summarized below, so keep reading!
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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