VCS Launch - A New Quality Assurance for the World's Carbon Market

19 November 2007

A new global carbon offset standard launches today at the London Stock Exchange boosting business, consumer and government confidence in the voluntary carbon market. The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) provides a new and much needed quality assurance for certification of credible voluntary offsets.

The rigour and transparency of the new VCS will boost market confidence for many companies and individuals keen to take a lead on tackling climate change by going carbon-neutral. The robust international standard will drive greater investment into credible offset projects certain to result in real and additional emissions reductions around the world.

Market analysts estimate that annual transactions in the voluntary carbon market could reach US$4billion in the next five years and that the VCS - already popular with buyers - will be instrumental to this future growth.

The new VCS marks the end of a two year consultation with the industry, NGOs and market specialists, led by The °Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Andrei Marcu, President of The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and co-chair of the VCS Steering Committee, says: "While the main action must be in regulatory approaches, voluntary actions and offsets have an important role to play, and the VCS will provide them with necessary credibility."

Mark Kenber, Policy Director of The °Climate Group and co-chair of the VCS Steering Committee, says: "The Voluntary Carbon Standard means business and consumer buyers can now trust the offsets they buy. Its robust quality assurance will trigger a new global confidence in the voluntary market from corporate buyers, consumers, and policy-makers. The VCS is vital for the environment and for growth of an important global market."

Adam Kirkman, Program Manager, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, says: "Many WBCSD member companies already participate in emerging carbon markets or implement emission reduction projects on a voluntary basis. The Voluntary Carbon Standard provides additional incentive to business to invest internationally in low carbon technologies, allowing companies to monetize the gains from their early voluntary actions via a robust standard supported by third-party verification that delivers environmental integrity, consumer confidence, and market credibility."

Although direct cuts in emissions should be the first step for any individual or business looking at minimizing its impact on climate change, the voluntary carbon market has an important role to play. Government regulation and appeals for people to change their behaviour will not be sufficient alone to achieve the carbon reductions needed at the speed required. Carbon offsetting is a valuable transition solution because it allows additional investment in carbon reductions over and above that which Government regulations have achieved, and makes those reductions wherever they can be made fastest and at the lowest cost.

Explaining the valuable role of the voluntary carbon market, Mark Kenber says: "Urgent and drastic action is required to stabilise climate change. The voluntary carbon market has an important role to play in bringing down emissions quickly and priming the pump of clean green innovation while the politics catches up."

GLOBAL SUPPORT FOR THE VCS "The combination of rigour and flexibility of the VCS will prove irresistible to U.S. businesses, consumers, and policy makers."
Terry Tamminen, Former Chief Advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger

"The VCS will promote confidence and show Government that industry is keen to set its own clear and robust standards."
Tim Yeo MP, Chair of UK Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee

"The VCS provides the first offset standard that specifically incorporates exacting principles from ISO 14064 series and ISO 14065."
Alan Bryden, ISO Secretary-General

"The Voluntary Carbon Standard brings a new level of assurance to the voluntary offset market and gives buyers confidence."
Kerryn Schrank, Program Director targetneutralTM, BP

"Our research indicates that the VCS will become the leading standard against which all voluntary offset projects are judged."
Ricardo Bayon, Director of Ecosystem Marketplace

"For the first time, we have a standard outside the CDM that provides an incentive for additional investment in credible projects across Asia."
Agus Sari, Country Director, EcoSecurities Indonesia

"The VCS launch mitigates risks associated with the voluntary carbon market which is vital for market growth and our environment."
Blythe Masters, Global Head of Commodities, JPMorgan

For further information and interviews, please contact:
Tom Howard-Vyse Head of Media, Europe
The °Climate Group
+ 44 (0)7800 933 831

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