TSVCM Releases Final Report on Creating Large-Scale Carbon Credit Trading Market
The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) yesterday released its final report providing a blueprint for creating a large-scale, transparent carbon credit trading market (the Report). The TSVCM is a private sector initiative with a mandate to develop a blueprint for the infrastructure required for a scalable, liquid, transparent and reliable voluntary carbon market. The TSVCM was initiated by Mark Carney, the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and former governor of both the Bank of Canada and Bank of England, and is chaired by Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered PLC. Lisa DeMarco sits on the consultative group of the TSVCM.
The Report outlines six proposed areas of action with 20 corresponding recommendations:
1. Core Carbon Principles and attribute taxonomy. The Report adopts the view that Core Carbon Principles (CCP) would ensure high integrity credits and support the development of reference contracts. The TSVCM recommends the following actions:
Establish CCP and taxonomy of attributes
Assess adherence to the CCP
Scale up high-integrity supply
2. Core carbon reference contracts. The Report indicates that high liquidity in core carbon reference contracts supports transparent price signals allowing for price risk management and supply-chain financing. This ensures that market participants retain choice with respect to purchasing credit contracts on exchange with additional attributes or specialized over-the-counter (OTC) trades. The TSVCM recommends the following actions:
Introduce core carbon spot of futures contracts
Establish an active secondary market
Increase transparency and standardization in OTC markets
3. Infrastructure: trade, post-trade, financing, and data. The Report indicates that at-scale supply-chain financing facilitating supplier scale-up should be supported through robust exchange, clearinghouse, and meta-registry infrastructure and recommends the following actions:
Build or utilize existing high-volume trade infrastructure
Create or utilize existing resilient post-trade infrastructure
Implement advanced data infrastructure
Catalyze structured finance
4. Consensus on legitimacy of offsetting. The Report highlights the importance of achieving alignment across market actors on the critical role of offsetting in order to achieve net-zero targets. The TSVCM recommends the following actions:
Establish principles on the use of offsets
Align guidance on offsetting in corporate claims
5. Market integrity assurance. The Report acknowledges that strong processes need to be put in place to ensure market fairness, efficiency, transparency and to reduce the risk of fraud. Market integrity is needed to ensure delivery of the goals of the Paris Agreement and requires legal and accounting enablers to support the legitimacy of voluntary carbon markets. The TSVCM recommends the following actions:
Implement efficient and accelerated verification
Develop global anti-money-laundering (AML) / know-your-customer (KYC) guidelines
Establish legal and accounting frameworks
Institute governance for market participants and market functioning
6. Demand signal. The Report advocates for a strong and transparent demand signal through industry-wide commitments and new Point-of-Sale (POS) offerings along with a simplified buyer experience coupled with clear investor guidance on the use of offsetting. The TSVCM recommends the following actions.
Offer consistent investor guidance on offsetting
Enhance credibility and consumer awareness for consumer product offerings, including POS solutions
Increase industry collaboration and commitments
Create mechanism for demand signaling
The position of the TSVCM on key elements and takeaways from the Report include:
Governance. The Report provides the position of the TSVCM on the level of centralized governance required, indicating that an umbrella governance body is needed to fulfil governance roles not addressed by existing bodies. The Report outlines the governance role to be performed by the governance body including defining CCPs and additional attributes, participant eligibility and oversight, and market functioning.
CCPs. The Report indicates that the proposed new governance body must have the ability to impose limits and make exclusions to ensure sufficient quality of CCPs. In addition, projects based on REDD+ should be allowed under the CCPs; however, to ensure integrity, safeguards must be put in place, such as requiring nesting, requirements on buffers and leakage, and the ability to select jurisdictional REDD+ if desired as additional attributes. The Report supports and recommends financing for all project types including avoidance, reductions and removal, and sequestration with financing shifting over the longer-term to removal and removal technology.
Market integrity principles. In support of carbon credits being reflected in net-zero-aligned corporate claims, the Report indicates that actions to reduce emissions and decarbonize operations must be a clear priority, complemented with offsets where unabated emissions remain. However, the Report makes clear that offsets are not a replacement for the need to reduce value chain or Scope 3 emissions.
Legal and accounting. Legal and accounting needs with respect to voluntary carbon markets include standardized contracts, financial accounting methods, and carbon credit disclosure/accounting. The Report recommends the creation of standardized contracts to assist in scaling up the market. Standardized contracts are expected to form the basis of negotiating contracts and pricing signals for more specialized contracts with additional attributes.
Market infrastructure. The Report indicates that the current voluntary carbon credit market is fragmented, complex and lacks liquidity. The Report supports moving towards digital real time verification with periodic in-person verification to ensure market integrity. Adopting a digital verification data protocol and process is expected to lower costs and lead to future end-to-end value chain digital tracking.
Regulatory linkages. The Report indicates that the TSVCM did not take a position on Corresponding Adjustments. Instead, the Report highlights the potential benefits of compliance scheme fungibility, through the opening up of these compliance schemes to a certain percentage of private standard carbon credits.