Blog Post

All about Carbon Markets

As global concerns over climate change escalate, businesses are increasingly called upon to adopt sustainable practices and contribute to environmental preservation.

One effective method corporations are using to meet these expectations is through participation in the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM). This segment of the carbon market allows businesses to voluntarily purchase carbon credits, supporting projects that reduce or remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

These projects range from renewable energy initiatives to reforestation efforts. The VCM operates alongside the Compliance Carbon Market (CCM), but unlike the CCM, it is not mandated by law and offers greater flexibility. This attracts a diverse group of participants, from large multinational corporations to small businesses and nonprofits, all committed to enhancing their environmental impact. This introduction will delve into the mechanics, participants, and significance of the VCM in the global push for net-zero emissions, exploring its structure, challenges, and the evolving dynamics of this important market.

Key Differences and Market Participants

Unlike the CCM, the VCM is not legally mandated and uses independent entities like Verra and Gold Standard for carbon credit verification. The VCM's market size is significantly smaller than the CCM's, with VCM valued at around $2 billion compared to the CCM's $800 billion. Participants include project developers on the supply side and corporations such as oil companies and airlines on the demand side.

Pricing Mechanisms and Market Dynamics

Carbon credit pricing in the VCM depends on factors like project type and location, with a notable lack of price transparency due to over-the-counter transactions. Supply and demand dynamics are less regulated than in the CCM, with an excess supply keeping prices low. High-quality credits remain underrepresented.

Investment Focus and Market Flaws

The market has traditionally favored cheaper avoidance credits over more costly removal projects, although this is beginning to change. Challenges persist with reliability and transparency of credits and navigating diverse standards across different providers.

Ongoing Improvements and Future Outlook

The market is seeing greater scrutiny from organizations like the ICVM and VCMI, aimed at improving quality and transparency. Digital MRV technologies are improving data collection and cost-effectiveness. Increasing convergence with the CCM could lead to better quality credits and more robust market structures.


The VCM is crucial for financing scalable climate solutions and must maintain stringent governance to enhance credibility and effectiveness. While participation is voluntary, maintaining transparency is essential for sustaining market integrity and corporate reputation.