UPDATED 29 January 2024


Zurich Carbon Market Association: Offsetting and/or finance contributions?

06 Oct 2021 - 06 Oct 2021
15:00 - 17:00 (GMT) 17:00 - 19:00 (CEST)
Online, Zurich, Switzerland
Hosted by
Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Perspectives

Context and objective of the event:

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (PA) provides two approaches to international carbon markets which allow balancing out emissions with at least an equivalent volume of mitigation outcomes achieved abroad, commonly referred to as “offsetting”. Such offsetting can relate to national emissions targets under NDCs, but also voluntary targets of private and other non-state actors. Countries engaging in or authorising the international transfer of mitigation outcomes need to ensure robust accounting to avoid double counting through double bookkeeping, so-called ‘corresponding adjustments’. 

There are three main uses of offset credits: Compliance with mitigation obligations and carbon pricing instruments, voluntary offsetting that enables actors with emissions to make carbon neutrality claims, and credit cancellation in the context of results-based finance for mitigation. Our event addresses the latter two use cases, where different positions of stakeholders have surfaced. The controversial point is whether the mitigation outcomes that are or may be counted towards host country targets can simultaneously be eligible for offsetting by non-state stakeholders on the voluntary carbon market(s) without the need for corresponding adjustments. Recently, there have been calls to distinguish accounting for credits traded on the voluntary carbon market(s) based on their use, with an emerging distinction of “offsetting” vs. “finance contributions” to be delivered by the use of a carbon credit. 

The event features representatives of carbon market regulators, voluntary market standard setting bodies and activity developers/intermediaries. It will discuss purposes of carbon credit use in different voluntary carbon market segments, how these purposes can be best defined and their implications for accounting for voluntary carbon market actions in the context of the Paris Agreement. 


Setting the scene and agenda

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    Philipp Ischer, , SECO

Definitions of use cases under voluntary carbon markets 

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    Hanna-Mari Ahonen, , Perspectives 

  • Axel Michaelowa, , University of Zurich/Perspectives 

Panel discussion I on use cases on the voluntary carbon market(s) 

  • Hugh Salway, Senior Director, Market Development and Partnerships

  • Naomi Swickard, , Verra 

  • Gesa Schöneberg, , Foundation Development and Climate Alliance

Panel discussion II on regulating the voluntary carbon market(s) 

  • Perumal Arumugam, , UNFCCC Secretariat

  • Melissa Pinfield, , VCMI 

  • Maria Carvalho, , South Pole 

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