Finance giants team up to launch digital carbon offset trading platform

The platform, called Carbonplace, formally launched today (15 February) following a pilot in 2021 that was called ‘Project Carbon’. Participating businesses are hoping to bring its full scope of functions and capacity online by the end of the year.

Project Carbon was jointly facilitated by NatWest Group, Itau Unibanco, CIBC and National Australia Bank. Joining this cohort for February 2022 are UBS, Standard Chartered and BNP Paribas.

CarbonPlace has been created in a bid to provide those buying and trading carbon credits through voluntary schemes with “clear and consistent pricing and standards”, amid persistent concerns around the credibility of credits and whether pricing trends could cause issues for organisations relying on offsetting to achieve net-zero commitments.

Only credits verified under internationally agreed standards, like REDD+ and Gold Standard, will be listed on Carbonplace.

The other motivation behind setting up Carbonplace is to ensure that the IT infrastructure is in place for organisations to trade carbon credits securely.

Standard Chartered’s head of carbon markets development Chris Leeds said:  “Carbonplace will reduce barriers to entry in the voluntary carbon market, and give project developers in the global south direct access to large numbers of customers looking to fund carbon reduction and removal projects.

“It builds on the work Standard Chartered has been involved in, in the Taskforce for Scaling the Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM), and ensures that carbon credits on this platform are of the highest quality.”

The TSVCM was launched in September 2020 by Mark Carney in a bid to take stock of existing voluntary offsetting schemes and identify key challenges to scaling them up while ensuring credibility. In September 2021, the Taskforce launched its new global, independent governance body, the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (ICVCM).

The ICVCM is currently working to establish global standards for voluntary carbon markets and draw up plans to ensure these so-called ‘Core Carbon Principles’ are adhered to. Draft proposals were published late last year.

Bloomberg NEF last month published forecasts on the likely trajectories for carbon credit pricing, integrity and uptake, warning that nations and corporates should prioritise emissions reductions, in line with climate science, over offsetting, in any scenario. Building on this, an analysis of corporate net-zero targets from the New Climate Institute and Carbon Market Watch last week revealed that many currently have plans too reliant on offsetting to be regarded as credible.

edie Explains: Carbon Offsetting

Readers interested in this article are encouraged to access edie’s new ‘Explains’ guide on carbon offsetting, produced in association with South Pole, to learn more about this topic.

From exploring the different types of offsetting and how they work to outlining the benefits and controversies surrounding them, this guide outlines how offsets can be utilised as a part of a climate strategy that focuses on reductions first and foremost.

Click here to download your free copy of this guide.

Sarah George



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