ICROA analysis of voluntary carbon market data shows that 43.5 million carbon credits were retired1 in 2016 across the major voluntary market standards.
The total volume retired is equivalent to removing 9.3 million cars from the road for one year. However, this is a slight dip in levels from 2015, which at 45.9 million credits was a record high for the voluntary market. Over the last five years, the market volume has more than doubled, demonstrating the continued growth in demand for voluntary offsets from corporate buyers.
“The voluntary carbon market continues to deliver strong results,” says ICROA Programme Director Simon Henry. “Credit retirement data is the clearest measure of the size of the market, and the data indicates volumes are very close to the record high we saw in 2015.”
ICROA’s analysis uses data from the public registries of the major voluntary market standards: American Carbon Registry (ACR), Clean Development Mechanism, Climate Action Reserve (CAR), Gold Standard, and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). All these standards are endorsed within ICROA’s Code of Best Practice for Carbon Management Services.
“ICROA is optimistic of future growth in the voluntary carbon market, particularly since there is an ambition gap in the Paris Agreement that requires more than has been pledged by countries so far,” Henry adds. “ICROA’s members are seeing that the private sector is willing to play a role in helping close that gap.”
“The voluntary market will still have a role to play in engaging business in the climate fight even under the Paris Agreement,” says Dirk Forrister, IETA’s President and CEO. “It allows private sector actors from all over the world to step into a leadership role and find new ways of responding to climate change.
“There is a disconnect between where science says we need to be and how far the Paris Agreement will take us, and the voluntary carbon market will be crucial in bridging that gap.”
NOTES1: A carbon offset credit is classed as retired when it is permanently removed from the marketplace, such as to voluntarily reduce or neutralise the emissions from an individual, government, corporate, or other organisation.