Voluntary Carbon Market: How Companies Offset Their Emissions

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While many companies are looking to adjust their processes and reduce their environmental footprint through green innovation, there are many sectors in which these adjustments will not have a large enough impact to play their part in combating climate change. As such, these organizations have more recently begun turning to other ways to offset their environmental impact. One example of such an opportunity is the Voluntary Carbon Market.

The Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) is a global network of companies, verifiers, not-for-profits, non-governmental organizations, and individuals who work together to help reduce global emissions and fund carbon capture initiatives. Through the VCM companies who are able to significantly offset their carbon emissions are able to receive financial benefit from their emissions offsetting, while companies who are looking to reduce their net carbon footprint are able to pay to assure that their emissions are offset through various carbon capture techniques. This significantly incentivizes the development of new carbon capture projects and technologies, and it allows climate conscious companies that are forced to emit carbon dioxide to reduce their environmental impact. 

The VCM works through a multi-step process that starts with the capture of CO2 by an organization with carbon dioxide removal capacity. Following this capture, this organization will approach a carbon credit verifier with proof of their ability to capture carbon, and apply for crediting through one of the verifier’s carbon capture methodologies. Once this application is submitted, the verifier will review the information provided by the carbon capture organization and determine if the organization was able to properly capture carbon, and how much carbon they were able to capture. Once this has been determined, the verifier will issue the organization carbon credits, which they can then sell on a VCM registry to any company who hopes to offset their carbon emissions. As of 2023, carbon credits can cost anywhere from $10 per tonne of CO2 offset to over $80 per tonne of CO2 offset, with this range coming from the type of carbon offset being pursued, and the quality of the verification process that is used to validate the carbon offsets.

Overall, the VCM provides an important transactional platform through which companies can offset their inherent carbon emissions by helping to fund the development of carbon capture projects. While the VCM has been around for a while, it is still very much in its infancy, and many experts believe that the market could grow to upwards of $50 billion dollars by 2030.

References:

  1. Favasuli, S., and Sebastian, V., 2021. Voluntary carbon markets: how they work, how they’re priced and who’s involved. S&P Global. https://www.spglobal.com/commodityinsights/en/market-insights/blogs/energy-transition/061021-voluntary-carbon-markets-pricing-participants-trading-corsia-credits
  2. Jha, M., and Rocha, C., 2023. California Leads CCUS Development: Incentives and Projects Driving Progress. cCarbon. https://www.ccarbon.info/article/california-leads-ccus-development-incentives-and-projects-driving-progress/
  3. CarbonCredits.com, 2023. What is the Voluntary Carbon Market?https://carboncredits.com/what-is-the-voluntary-carbon-market/
  4. GoldStandard, 2023. CARBON PRICING: What is a carbon credit worth?https://www.goldstandard.org/blog-item/carbon-pricing-what-carbon-credit-worth
  5. Blaufelder, C., Levy, C., Mannion, P., and Pinner, D., 2021. McKinsey Sustainability. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/sustainability/our-insights/a-blueprint-for-scaling-voluntary-carbon-markets-to-meet-the-climate-challenge  

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Jeff Garcia-Seminario

Associate

He holds a Bachelor of Anthropology from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru) and a Masters in Science in Sustainability and Responsibility  (Ashridge Business School, UK).   As a lifelong learner, he recently completed a Global Business Management (High Honours) at Seneca College in Toronto. 

Jeff brings global experience in leading corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community engagement projects in the extractive sector.   Jeff excels in stakeholder mapping, community engagement, and conflict resolution.   Applying his private and public sector experiences, Jeff can bridge cultural and historical divides between extractive industries and their communities.  His areas of focus include food security, sustainable procurement, and good governance. Most recently, Jeff contributed to the development of an ESG strategy for a multi-national company.  

Jeff’s native language is Spanish. He enjoys morning runs in the neighbouring parks.

Kaitlyn D'Lima

Associate

Kaitlyn D’Lima holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science and Sustainability Management degree from the University of Toronto.   She is also trained in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting.

She brings extensive experience in sustainability and business transformational projects. She is known for her ability to execute projects of any size with both urgency and accuracy.   Kaitlyn has a natural talent for improving stakeholder engagement. She’s a real trailblazer when it comes to benchmarking and research.

Kaitlyn is a runner who participates in outdoor adventure races.

Arun Balu Pazhayannur

Advisor

Arun B Pazhayannur holds a degree in mechanical engineering and is a Chartered Accountant. He also has an MBA from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. Along with his academic achievements, he has a thorough knowledge of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, which he incorporates into his consulting work. 

Arun is well-known for his leadership abilities as well as his strong skills in data analysis, financial modeling, and operations management. He has been recognized for his ability to identify practical solutions and deliver value to clients ranging from banks to payment companies to software providers. Arun is also a past President of Toastmasters Club. 

In his free time, Arun enjoys scuba diving.In his spare time, Arun likes to scuba dive. 

Gregory Donovan

Senior Advisor

Gregory  Donovan is a Chartered Accountant. He is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Credential Holder.  He obtained an Honours in Business Adminstrations (HBA) from the Ivey Business School (Western University) and a Master or Laws (LLM) from the London School of Economics. Gregory is the CEO of Avondale Private Capital, a sustainable finance firm focused on energy transition finance and carbon markets.  He has presented on these topics at conferences in Canada, the US and UK.  

Greg participates in the occasional triathlon and loves to go skiing and sailing with his two young children.

Margaux Loptson

Associate & US Operations Lead

Margaux Loptson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, she holds several research certifications, including Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

She has been an essential player in AI-powered teaching and learning projects as a User Experience (UX) lead.  Margaux is known for applying her design thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills to make a positive impact. She is a native French speaker

Margaux is a fitness enthusiast who can be found hiking around Central Park in NYC.

Ritika Jain

Associate / Responsible Supply Chain Lead

Ritika Jain holds a Masters in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management from Lund University (Sweden)  and a Bachelor of Technology from Indraprastha University (India). As a lifelong learner, she is pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Toronto.

Ritika is a recycling and responsible supply chain specialist.  Through her work, she collaborates with organizations to implement circular economy focused policies to ensure compliance with regulations.  

Her proficiency in data analytics and with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) enable her to manage complex sustainability data. Ritika also volunteers with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, engaging with youth to drive positive change.  

Ritika is a native Hindi speaker.  She is a certified hiking leader who enjoys travelling.

Jonathan Spence

Associate & Western Canada Operations Lead

Jonathan Spence holds an Honours Bachelor of Integrated Sciences (Earth and Environmental Sciences) from McMaster University and has his certification in Geographic Information Sciences from the ESRI Canada Center of Excellence at McMaster University. Jonathan worked as a research analyst in the environment and sustainability group for a TSX listed company.  

He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, where he is researching the development of carbon capture techniques and their applications to the mining industry.  Jonathan is focused on helping companies to minimize their carbon footprint while supporting their economic growth.   

Jonathan is an avid water polo player and coach. He plays for the local National Championship League team. 

Gurnoor Gandhi

VP Business Development & Strategic Partnerships

Gurnoor Gandhi holds an MBA from Ivey Business School (Western University) and a postgraduate diploma in Maritime Energy Management (Sweden). Gurnoor brings experience with sustainability frameworks including TCFD, GRI, and CDP and is pursuing FSA credential (SASB). 

Gurnoor has global leadership experience in the shipping industry managing assets worth millions of dollars on the high seas and has led diverse teams worked in Monaco, Singapore, and India. Most recently, he led organizational development and client partnerships at CARD, a non-profit focused on rural development and renewable energy.

Gurnoor brings a blend of technical and leadership skills. He applied his knowledge of greenhouse gas accounting and carbon capture to support clients with niche energy transition projects. He is known for putting his problem-solving, stakeholder management, and project management skills to work to help firms expedite their ESG Journey. 

Gurnoor is a certified BMW adventure motorcyclist who finds off-road rides rejuvenating for body and spirit.  He enjoys hiking with his family.

Lisa-Annabel Ellis

Founder & CEO

Lisa Annabel Ellis holds an Honours Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Ivey Business School (Western University). She is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP) with a Six Sigma Green Belt. Lisa is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Level II Candidate. Applying her deep expertise in business and operational strategies, she has led award-winning transformational initiatives.

Drawing on her well-rounded science and finance expertise, she launched YellowYellow to help clients advance their sustainability practices. As an advocate of transparency and good governance, she partners with clients to understand their risks and opportunities to generate superior long-term value. Stakeholders across the value chain recognize the impact of this effort. She has been called upon to be a keynote speaker and lecturer.

Lisa is an advanced scuba diver who enjoys most water-related sports.