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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace eNewsletter

October 8, 2015    

From the Editors

From the Editors

Ecosystem Marketplace's V-Carbon News Brief quietly celebrated its 100th issue last month, marking more than four years of continuous coverage of voluntary carbon news. Meanwhile our Forest Carbon News Brief published its 96th issue in September. In honor of this centennial and almost-centennial, we're letting these two newsletters go into retirement and as of today launching a joint newsletter with a few new features. 

This merger reflects the changes we're seeing on the ground. Forestry has been the most common category of voluntary carbon offset transacted in the last two years, and voluntary markets are increasingly influenced by compliance ones – and vice versa. This newsletter will continue to report on the details of carbon market transactions (see 'Here's the Deal'), as well as project development, policies relevant to market actors, carbon finance, and more.

The new 'For Carbon Wonks' section includes announcements from standards and project developers. You'll also see a couple of fun new features – 'Digits' and 'Quoted this Week' – in the sidebar.

As we begin this new chapter, let us know what you'd like to see in the revamped newsletter, and consider becoming a Supporting Subscriber. $250 gets your organization's name and weblink included for one year.

V-Carbon and Forest Carbon newsletters are merging. What name do you want to see in your inbox?
Carbon Copy
All Tonnes Considered
The Carbon Chronicle

Cast your ballot, or do a write-in.

Now, without further ado, the news...

For comments or questions, please email: agoldstein@ecosystemmarketplace.com

Voluntary Carbon

In the News


Offsets for you and me

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) launched a new portal called Climate Neutral Now through which individuals can calculate and voluntarily offset their personal emissions. The new platform marks a turning point for the UNFCCC's treatment of Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) originally developed under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for compliance purposes. So far, only a handful of the potential 7,500 CDM-registered projects appear on the online platform, though all are eligible. Project developers may set their own prices, with current averages running between $2 and $3.5 per tonne.

No net (emissions) for these tennis players

The U.S. Open offset the emissions of 256 tennis stars and 920 employees as they traveled to New York last month for the two-week tournament. Between players flying an estimated 2.1 million airline miles and employees commuting to the tournament on a daily basis, the Open calculated 1,225 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) produced from travel emissions. They purchased offsets from landfill gas projects to neutralize the impact. "The stuff we can't reduce we buy offsets for," said Bina Indelicato of Eco Evolutions LLC, a consultant for the tennis association. "It's interesting to see how big an impact just 250 players have just from flying."

One defat latte, hold the carbon

San Diego airport surveyed 500 flyers and found that 78% said they would be willing to pay up to $9 to eliminate the environmental impact of their flight. However, fewer than 1% had actually purchased offsets. To change that, the airport's Good Traveler project plans to make participating more fun by creating a mobile app for offsetting. While the app is in development, the airport is selling $1 stickers that each offset 500 flight miles through TerraPass. Funds will be dispersed across two carbon offset projects – the Arcata Community Forest and the Big Smile Wind Farm – as well as a water restoration project in the Colorado Delta (not an offset project). The first airport concession to sell these stickers will be Ryan Brothers' Coffee.

Blackbird meets Farmer

Alberta, Canada-based oil and gas exploration company Blackbird Energy announced its partnership with The Carbon Farmer to plant 2,500 native trees in northwestern Alberta. The company expects to finance the planting of 20,000 trees by the year end. Though Alberta has a carbon tax that covers major oil and gas emitters, Blackbird is too small to be affected. Instead, the company's CEO Garth Braun explained his motivation to act local: "I'm taking these trees out [with well pad development], so I'd like to plant them somewhere else." Blackbird may also decide to purchase offsets once available. The Carbon Farmer estimates there will be 459 tCO2e in certified from the tree-planting project, and hopes to verify under The Gold Standard.


A cool million for innovation

The Climate Trust, a Portland, Oregon-based offset manager, has been issued a $1 million Innovation Grant from the US Department of Agriculture to develop new ways to sequester carbon from forestry, grassland and biogas projects. The group plans to actively raise an additional $4 million in private capital to invest upfront in farmers, ranchers and forest owners that are trying out carbon accounting for new conservation practices – 'innovations' the Trust hopes will result in 800,000 tCO2e reduced over 10 years. The Trust plans to invest in four to 12 projects and is looking for suggestions. Projects certified under the American Carbon Registry, the California Air Resources Board (ARB), the Climate Action Reserve, or the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) may express interest here.

Hold the phone on those offsets

California's ARB has announced its second investigation into the validity of offsets generated by Environmental Credit Corp (which was recently bought by ClimeCo), this time regarding a livestock methane project in Indiana. The ARB claims the facility, operated by T&M Bos Dairy, was in non-compliance with state laws during the generation of 15,070 offsets and may be subject to invalidation. According to Carbon Pulse, Dirk Eggleston, controller at T&M Limited Partnership, says the company is responding to the ARB and is confident the offsets will not be invalidated. The project has 25 days to provide additional data and assist the ARB, after which the ARB has 30 days to rule on the matter. The ARB has previously invalidated offsets from Environmental Credit Corp and EOS Climate at an out-of-compliance Arkansas facility.


Not a two-way street

In submitting its climate to the UNFCCC, Brazil promised to slash emissions 37% below 2005 levels by 2025, with a further decrease of 6% by 2030. To do that, it aims to preserve the progress it's made on deforestation, but the role for market mechanisms is unclear. The document leaves room for international emissions reduction "units" but explicitly prevents other countries from using those units to offset their own emissions. "The US state of California and the Brazilian state of Acre can do what they want, but we will not recognize the use of these units in the federal carbon accounting of other Parties to the UNFCCC," said Adriano Santhiago de Oliveira, Director of the Environment Ministry's Department of Climate Change.

The neighborly thing to do

The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quιbec signed an MOU to collaborate on carbon offset protocols, a move that will facilitate the linkage of the provinces' carbon markets. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced in April that the province would design an emissions trading scheme (ETS) to cut emissions 37% below 1990 levels by 2030; Quιbec already has an ETS in place. "If Ontario and Quebec did this separately, it would create more complexity and cost twice as much," said Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray. Within the Quιbec market, which is already linked with California's, compliance entities may utilize offsets for up to 8% of their emissions.

Made (and offset) in China

The Chinese province of Guangdong announced plans to expand its pilot carbon market to cover six new sectors, including ceramics, textiles, non-ferrous metals, chemicals, paper-making and aviation. The expansion will effectively add 431 companies to the market and triple existing demand. When China launches its national ETS in 2017, it is expected to cover 6-8 sectors in total. Shanghai's pilot market is also considering adding additional sectors to the market ahead of national trading. Estimates of the scope of China's national market range from 3-4 billion tonnes a year by 2020 – less than half of China's total emissions.

Arrival time unknown

Earlier this year, King County – which envelops the city of Seattle – passed legislation establishing a Transit Carbon Offset Program for the county's metro system. While the program was the first of its kind for any transit agency in the US, a new ordinance passed in September may make that point only theoretical. In the latest legislation – and upon further consideration of a financial feasibility study of using carbon offsets – the county council added key text to expand from carbon offsets to include alternative "environmental attributes." In practice, the new text could mean a complete shift away from offsets.


Reduce, reuse, price carbon

CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) reported a threefold increase in the number of companies that use an internal price on carbon. 436 companies now use an internal price on carbon, up from 150 companies last year. Many of these companies – including General Motors, Microsoft, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, TD Bank, Commerzbank, and others – use this internal price in part to finance carbon offset purchases. Another 583 companies said they plan to use an internal price on carbon in the next two years. In a report published earlier this year, Ecosystem Marketplace found that companies with an internal price on carbon were five times more likely to include offsetting in their carbon management strategy.

Dirty money

Young Erumuse, director of The London Carbon Credit Company Limited (LCCCL), has been banned from directing or managing companies for 15 years due to unscrupulous practices. Erumuse purchased carbon offsets for an average of £3.5  and resold them to unknowing customers at an average of £110.7, taking home a profit of £1.7 million , according to The Mirror. The company's website used logos from the Gold Standard and the VCS without permission. The High Court ruled that LCCCL had presented carbon offsets as an investment when they had no genuine resale value and had failed to keep adequate records of transactions.


Happy anniversary NYDF

Firm Commitments: Tracking Company Endorsers of the New York Declaration on Forests launched last month at Climate Week. The report found that 92% of the Declaration's private sector endorsers have issued their own forest sustainability targets and/or procurement policies, while 56% have publically disclosed progress towards these goals. At a launch event in New York, Mike Barry of M&S, one of the endorsers, encouraged full disclosure – even if companies fall short of their targets. "I would rather have a thousand companies with silver medals than 10 with gold. We need thousands to sign on," he said. 

40 and counting

The tally for national carbon pricing programs is up to 40, according to the World Bank's State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2015 report, released in September. In addition, the report tracked 12 sub-national carbon pricing efforts around the world. "Together, carbon pricing instruments cover about half of the emissions in these jurisdictions, which translates to about 7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or about 12 percent of global emissions," the authors find. Previous research by Ecosystem Marketplace has found that the existence of compliance markets often spurs rather than deters voluntary offset buyers.

The forest's keepers

A new report by the Rights and Resources Initiative shows that while indigenous people across the globe hold customary or community-based tenure rights to 65% of the world's land area, they only have formal legal claim to 8%. The study showed that five countries – China, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and Mexico – contain about two-thirds of land formally owned by indigenous peoples. Defining land rights has significant implications for REDD+, the authors state, since legally recognized community forests contain approximately 37.7 billion tonnes of carbon – and much more may be sequestered in forests managed by communities without legal land rights.


Fairtrade International released its Fairtrade Climate Standard, developed in collaboration with the Gold Standard to be used as an add-on standard for carbon offsets. The standard requires a minimum offset price as well as an end-buyer commitment to reduce emissions beyond offsetting. More details here.

The Gold Standard has launched a public consultation regarding their Climate Finance Transparency Initiative, which seeks to publicize issuance and pricing data of Gold Standard offsets for prospective buyers. The consultation is open from October 5-November 3.

The Ejido Verde reforestation project in Mexico has issued a Request for Proposals for completing a project design document for the voluntary carbon markets, as well as assistance with offset sales. More information here.

Want to announce something in this section? 

Email Allie Goldstein (agoldstein@ecosystemmarketplace.com)


Want to announce something in this section? Email Allie Goldstein at agoldstein@ecosystemmarketplace.com.


Director of Investments – The Climate Trust

Based in Portland, Oregon, the Director of Investments will lead the development of The Trust's pilot investment fund, which will provide early-stage investment to high-quality carbon projects in agricultural, forestry, and livestock sectors. The successful candidate should have 10 years of experience in finance (strong preference for conservation finance); experience in financial modeling and cash flow analysis; and demonstrated knowledge and exposure to financial planning, impact investment and fund structuring.

- Read more about the position here

Carbon Market Analyst – Thomson Reuters

Based in Houston, Texas, the Carbon Market Analyst will track the existing and emerging cap-and-trade programs in North America as well as Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations and produce both market briefs and lengthy analytical reports for Thomson Reuters' Eikon subscribers. Successful candidates should have at least a bachelor's degree in environmental economics or public policy; a minimum of two years of experience in research and analysis; excellent quantitative analytical skills; and a proficiency using Excel.

- Read more about the position here

International Climate Policy Specialist – Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Based in Seoul, South Korea, the International Climate Policy Specialist will report to the Secretary to the Board and s/he will lead efforts for GCF engagement with multilateral climate processes and international climate finance bodies, as well as assist in the preparation, development and follow-up of the meetings of the GCF Board. The successful candidate should have an advanced university degree in international relations, environmental policy or economics; at least seven years of relevant work experience in the international arena; and the ability to read and communicate in English and one other major language.

- Read more about the position here

Program Performance and Control Specialist – Clean Development Mechanism

Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Program Performance and Control specialist will be responsible for managing program-wide costs, project schedules (implementation plan), and for estimating and reporting on key milestones. The successful candidate should have a bachelor's in engineering or management; five to ten years of experience setting up large development-focused control systems; and experience in project management.

- Read more about the position here

Program Officer – VCS

Based in Washington, D.C., the Program Officer will report to the Program Manager and assist in supporting project developers, methodology developers and verification bodies; oversee and screen projects for entry into VCS's registry; and participate in training sessions, conferences and other events. The successful candidate will have a master's degree in engineering or forestry; a good understanding of general auditing concepts; and knowledge of the forestry, agriculture and energy efficiency sectors.

- Read more about the position here



Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com. 

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Carbon Continuum

Quoted This Week

"You need someone to say, 'you said you would do this, now how is it getting on?'"

– Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership at the World Economic Forum, on corporations' reporting on their own deforestation commitments

Carbon Continuum



Tonnes of carbon the U.S. Open offset for Serena Williams's travel to New York

Carbon Continuum


Tonnes offset for the Switzerland-based Roger Federer

Carbon Continuum

$50 billion

Net worth of existing carbon pricing schemes around the world today

Carbon Continuum

$62 billion

Amount of climate finance committed by rich nations to poorer nations in 2014

Carbon Continuum

For Carbon Wonks

Fairtrade International released its Fairtrade Climate Standard, developed in collaboration with the Gold Standard to be used as an add-on standard for carbon offsets. The standard requires a minimum offset price as well as an end-buyer commitment to reduce emissions beyond offsetting. More details here.

The Gold Standard has launched a public consultation regarding their Climate Finance Transparency Initiative, which seeks to publicize issuance and pricing data of Gold Standard offsets for prospective buyers. The consultation is open from October 5-November 3.

The Ejido Verde reforestation project in Mexico has issued a Request for Proposals for completing a project design document for the voluntary carbon markets, as well as assistance with offset sales. More information here.

Want to announce something in this section? 

Email Allie Goldstein 

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