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Carbon offsetting trends survey 2008

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This report is a compilation of responses from over 65 large and multinational organisations, covering a wide variety of geographies and industry sectors. The primary quantitative research conducted in this study provides industry insight and benchmarks regarding some of the strategies that are being utilised to help the transition to a low carbon economy. Key points include:

according to respondents, when seeking out carbon brokers or retailers, experience and reputation were the top-rated factors, while project types, locations and price rounded out the top five requirements for offset projects
companies that previously committed to become carbon neutral appear to be continuing with their offset initiatives in 2008. In Europe, the emergence of the Gold Standard and Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) as market leading standards is a notable development
despite the growth in project development, the market has witnessed increases in primary market prices. On the other hand, global economic difficulties do seem to be pushing secondary market prices downwards, thus squeezing the difference between primary and secondary pricing
the primary markets on the development side are very active with new projects coming on line around the world to meet an increase in real demand for Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) and the expected increase in corporate’s looking to balance their unavoidable emissions

The paper concludes that despite a somewhat negative reaction to carbon offsets amongst some media organisations and environmental advocacy groups as a form of ‘buying indulgences’, most of the companies involved in this survey have already begun or plan to offset emissions they can’t avoid generating. However, it remains to be seen just how much the global economic situation will affect both the size and growth of the voluntary markets and the prices on those markets. As more companies begin to implement their carbon management strategy, it will be interesting to see the demand patterns become more clearly defined. The corporate buyers of emission reductions will become savvier and the push towards quality will no doubt continue.