Malaysia's bourse to launch voluntary carbon market by year-end

A general view of a business district in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Malaysia's stock exchange on Monday said it will launch a voluntary carbon market (VCM) by the year's end, with the aim of increasing transparency and enabling companies to buy carbon credits to offset their emissions.

The new exchange will encourage investments in high-quality offsetting projects, Bursa Malaysia chief executive Muhamad Umar Swift said in a statement, which can include projects like planting trees or switching to less-polluting fuels.

Critics say carbon offsets can allow companies or countries to keep polluting while paying someone else to take climate-friendly action.

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Bursa Malaysia will adopt the Verified Carbon Standard, also known as Verra, to ensure the integrity of the carbon credits, it said.

"We believe that the VCM exchange can serve as an important lever in realising Malaysia's net-zero GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions aspiration, as well as supporting the private sector's voluntary climate commitments and decarbonisation journey," Swift said.

Carbon credits are currently traded in a small but growing market and Bursa Malaysia joins global exchanges CME, ICE and EEX, which have also launched voluntary carbon market products in recent years. read more

It plans to offer standardised carbon credit products for trading via a rules-based VCM exchange, with distinct product categories for carbon credits derived from nature-based solutions and technologies that reduce or remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

It plans to auction a supply of carbon credits by year-end to enable price discovery for the new carbon credit products that will be listed on the VCM exchange.

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Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

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