Raising ambition: State of the Voluntary Carbon Market 2016
01 June 2016

10% growth in voluntary demand for carbon offsets amid dropping prices.

Other report findings include?

  • Voluntary buyers around the world paid to offset the equivalent of 84.1 million (M) tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2015.
  • The average price of carbon offsets fell 14% to an all-time low of US$3.3 per tonne, driving the overall value of the voluntary market down to US$278 M.
  • Suppliers transacted the majority (98%) of offsets to private-sector buyers in 2015, and most of the volume (92%) went to buyers previously active in the voluntary carbon markets.
  • Almost all (98%) of the offsets that found a buyer in 2015 were verified by an independent third-party standard.
  • Offsets from wind energy surpassed those tied to avoided deforestation (REDD+) as the most sought-after project type in 2015.
  • Alongside California’s growing compliance carbon market, voluntary buyers in the United States purchased the most offsets of any country in 2015 – 16 MtCO2e, nearly equal to the combined voluntary demand of all European countries.
  • A record 39.5 MtCO2e were retired in 2015, and across all years, nearly half of the total 329.8 MtCO2e ever issued have now been retired.
  • Suppliers reported 55.9 MtCO2e remained in their portfolios unsold at the end of the year. In addition to existing unsold supply, respondents reported they planned to issue another 70.4 MtCO2e in 2016.
  • Looking ahead, new voluntary climate commitments, a market-based mechanism for airlines emissions, supply chain management efforts, and the development of additional “beyond carbon” metrics could continue to build offset demand.



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