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The Vital Role of Voluntary Carbon Markets in Accelerating Climate Action

Published: November 15, 2023 by Editorial Team

In the face of recent controversies in the global carbon market, the significance of the voluntary carbon market (VCM) in addressing climate change remains as substantial as ever. A new Ecosystem Marketplace report demonstrates that organizations acquiring voluntary carbon credits actively contribute to a holistic approach for expediting global climate change mitigation while reducing their carbon footprint. This report signifies the VCM’s role in swiftly funding climate action, offering an alternative to waiting for government policy decisions to regulate the private sector.

This report holds significance as it refutes the notion that carbon offsets are used to delay or avoid meaningful climate action. Sylvera and Trove have reported similar findings, showing that companies purchasing carbon credits accelerate their decarbonization efforts compared to those that do not. Such companies are likely to adopt more transparent, accountable, and ambitious climate mitigation strategies. Publicly setting and consistently reporting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets is a crucial and self-driven initiative, leading to substantial climate benefits by guiding strategic investments in emission reduction. Consequently, buyers of voluntary carbon credits are likelier to establish and pursue ambitious climate targets and a comprehensive strategy with science-based net-zero goals than companies not purchasing such credits.

Despite the increasing investment in high-quality nature-based projects for climate mitigation, there is a need for accelerated investment and action to meet the requirements for both decarbonization and carbon credit acquisition, mainly to account for emissions that cannot be entirely eliminated. The intensified scrutiny in the media and limited due diligence by project developers in certain voluntary carbon credit projects, especially those related to nature-based solutions (NBS), have adversely affected VCM’s growth this year. According to research by the Boston Consulting Group, specific NBS project categories have faced criticism, but there is potential for other NBS projects or program types to improve quality within the VCM. Carbon credit investors are willing to pay significantly higher prices for credits that can unequivocally demonstrate their high quality. This trend has been evident in 2021 and 2022, where despite a lower volume of credits issued in 2022, the annual value remained nearly constant, close to 2 billion. Similar trends are anticipated for 2023.

In summary, our work at TCT as project developers is in harmony with the pivotal principles of high-integrity carbon credits. We fully grasp the indispensable role of the VCM in propelling global climate action and the necessity for top-notch carbon credit projects. As we advance, it’s imperative for all stakeholders to collaborate in sustaining the VCM’s success as a potent tool in our collective fight against climate change.