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Voluntary carbon offsets – the next big investment

Mark Carney has put his weight behind a new taskforce to speed up the development of voluntary carbon markets. The aim is to build infrastructure that will create liquid and investable carbon offset markets.

Mark Carney, UN special envoy for climate action

Voluntary carbon markets are about to get a boost.

Mark Carney, UN special envoy for climate action, finance advisor to UK prime minister Boris Johnson for COP26 and soon-to-be vice chair and head of ESG and impact fund investing at Brookfield Asset Management, launched the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets in early September, aiming to speed up liquidity and scalability.

There is an awakening happening
Stephen Donofrio, Ecosystems Marketplace

It is sponsored by the Institute of International Finance (IIF), with Bill Winters, Standard Chartered chief executive, as chair. DBS, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Itaú Unibanco and BNP Paribas form part of its 40-plus membership.

The voluntary carbon market has been growing steadily, but it is still small. Latest data from Ecosystems Marketplace shows the volume of offsets increased by 52.6% from 2016 to 2018, and rose in value by 48.5%.

That value, however, was just shy of $300 million in 2018. Data for 2019, set to be released later this year, should show an uptick again, but the new taskforce estimates that the voluntary carbon market will need to grow by up to 160 times to meet the Paris Agreement.

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