Corporate pledges fuel record growth in voluntary carbon markets

Voluntary carbon markets are set to rise to a new record high in 2020 despite the COVID-19 crisis, according to Ecosystem Marketplace.

In 2019 corporate carbon-neutral pledges boosted the transaction volume to a record of at least 104 million mt of CO2 equivalent in 2019. Voluntary carbon markets grew 6% last year, while nature-based offset projects saw prices rise 30%, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest State of Voluntary Carbon Markets Report. 

Carbon-neutral pledges have been proliferating among companies that had never taken climate action before, said the environmental markets group in a statement. 

“The year opened with a strong tailwind from year-end climate talks in Madrid, but by late March and early April, COVID-19 had spread across the world. Greenhouse-gas emissions plummeted – but only because the economy had ground to a halt, and there was a widespread fear that emissions would spiral upward once the economy recovered. 

When we conducted a survey of market participants in April, however, we found something astonishing: while participants feared the worst as airlines rolled back their purchases to match lower emissions, broader corporate demand for voluntary carbon offsets were increasing.”

Ecosystem Marketplace

In June 2020, the Climate Ambition Alliance launched a campaign to encourage countries, companies, universities, cities, and investment groups to deliver carbon-neutral pledges by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney launched in September a global taskforce to scale up voluntary carbon markets to slash emissions.