Private sector taskforce to help scale up voluntary carbon markets

FILE PHOTO: A fishing vessel sails in the ice fjord near Ilulissat, Greenland September 12, 2017. Picture taken September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

LONDON (Reuters) - U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Action Mark Carney launched on Wednesday a private sector taskforce to scale up voluntary carbon credit markets, which he says are vital if countries and businesses are to meet emissions targets set under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Many global companies such as oil major Shell RDSa.L and consumer goods giant Unilever ULVR.L have pledged to reach net zero emissions but will need to buy or generate carbon credits to offset the emissions they are unable to cut from their operations.

“The financial sector can use their expertise in building market infrastructure to create a carbon offset market which connects this demand with supply,” said Carney in a statement.

The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets will work to take stock of existing voluntary carbon markets and identify the key challenges to scaling these up.

It is made up of around 40 industry experts from companies such as Shell and BP BP.L, Tata Steel and airline Etihad and is being sponsored by global finance association the Institute of International Finance. 

“By scaling voluntary carbon markets and allowing a global price for carbon to emerge, companies will have the right tools and incentives to reduce emissions at least cost,” said Bill Winters, chair of the taskforce and Group Chief Executive of bank Standard Chartered.

Carbon offset schemes could include projects that reduce emission from deforestation or conserve, rehabilitate and replant forests.

Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Mark Potter