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Published on February 10, 2020

A market for carbon assets based on carbon negative products

Scalable and measurable carbon removal and storage is already possible in an unexpected way. As the latest IPCC report states, carbon emissions and removals must be in balance by 2050. Carbon pricing should help but we have seen that it still covers only a fraction of the world’s emissions, with too-low prices to have a significant and fast climate effect. However, we already have carbon net-negative products that sequester more CO2 than they emit in their whole production. Because they remove carbon from the atmosphere for the long term, their commercial growth should be incentivized. This is why we at created the world’s first voluntary carbon removal marketplace for businesses and the next generation of carbon assets, CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs), based on these products.


Verified CO2 removal now has a price.

The voluntary marketplace was born out of the need for faster impact than regulatory carbon markets. We decided to go ahead and not wait for regulation in order to validate the demand for carbon removal.  We know that businesses on a global scale are becoming climate responsible and understand that carbon neutrality creates tangible business benefits.  So we wanted to match them to suppliers of verified methodologies that capture CO2 and produce carbon net-negative products. We created the CORC, a verified digital tradable carbon asset that confirms one tonne of CO2 has been sequestered in those products for the long term and quickly started trading in the marketplace’s first auction, in May 2019. So far (by January 2020) companies have bought 5000 CORCs from suppliers, equivalent to 5,000 tonnes of CO2 removed and stored from the atmosphere for at least 50 years.

Trading on the marketplace creates economic drivers to accelerate the development of carbon removal today. By issuing CORCs, we offer carbon removal suppliers a new revenue stream that improves profitability and enables an injection of capital to invest in R&D, operations capacity and sales and marketing . On the other hand, CORC buyers neutralize their CO2 emissions and can even create carbon-neutral products and services for their customers. By directly connecting carbon responsible companies we create a network effect with real climate and economic impact.


Verification is Key to CORC adoption

Science-based certificates must represent the real CO2 removed from the atmosphere. Therefore, our verification methodologies require scientific measurement and quantification of the removed carbon. With our methodologies we have resolved one important aspect of efficiency: CORCs are a lot lower in overhead costs per tonne removed than CDMs. We verify that all lifecycle cradle-to-gate emissions are accounted for and only the carbon net-negative part is issued CORCs. So far, we have identified three carbon removal methods that have significant industrial volume potential and where costs are reasonable: biochar, carbonated building elements, and bio-based construction materials. New carbon net-negative verified methods with a time storage of at least 50 years are welcome.


The process for verification is the following:

  1. A supplier makes a claim to us on the net-negativity of their products by presenting evidence: Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) or Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) which attests that the product has absorbed more CO2 than it has emitted in the production.
  2. Based on this evidence, compliance to methodology requirements is done by our independent assessor, DNV GL, who visits the production facility, validates the accuracy of data and issues a publicly available audit statement.
  3. The verified volume of extra carbon absorbed in the products is then issued CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs) for every tonne of CO2 removed and stored. The life cycle of the certificates is managed in a registry which has been adapted from the Guarantee of Origin scheme.
  4. CORCs are sold in the marketplace to companies who want to neutralize their emissions by removals and become climate positive.


CORCs are the new instrument for climate action ahead of regulation

We already have solutions that will capture a lot of CO2 if the opportunity is given to the new carbon net-negative economy to grow.  We must incentivize the operations of CO2 capturing products with long term durability. These products, like biochar, carbonated building elements and carbonated wooden elements, deserve to be rewarded for their climate service of negative emissions. Buying CORCs not only neutralizes a company's emissions, it mobilizes investment into these valuable carbon net-negative operations.

We believe that the future direction of regulation is to include carbon removals of net-negative products.  Many questions will arise, like what products are allowed to claim carbon net-negativity? and what are the requirements of the climate impact? We decided to start the voluntary market to validate and answer those questions ahead. The carbon markets need innovative products that meet the tough challenges we have.  Maybe the CORC will become a standard in carbon exchanges because it is a measurable innovation proven to have customer demand.


The carbon removal ecosystem

Publications like MBI TradeNews Emissions, help disseminate developments in carbon pricing and are part of our growing ecosystem. We have seen other players too, like LCA and carbon footprint consultants, carbon offset brokers and advisors, channel partners, supplier aggregators, investors, lobbyists, verifiers and regulators. Ask yourself, in my role, can I be a part of this ecosystem? Can I be part of a paradigm shift where we give value to carbon net-negative emissions?

The pressure is on - we need carbon neutrality solutions that yield climate results rapidly and where accuracy and verification are priority. The marketplace is on scale-up mode, and auctions are held regularly. Join us in the next auction. Our inventory is full of high quality CORCs. If you don’t know where to start, contact me now and I’ll help you achieve your climate positive goals.


Elba Horta
Business Development Manager, the world’s first marketplace for CO2 removals goes beyond emissions reductions, by making CO2 removals verified, comparable and tradable. The marketplace will enable the future of the Carbon Net-negative Economy by showcasing developers of net-negative products that can store carbon away from the atmosphere for at least 50 years.

1 ref 
2 ref “State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2019” State and Trends of Carbon Pricing (June), World Bank, Washington, DC. Doi: 10.1596/978-1-4648-1435-8.


This article was first published in MBI TradeNews Emissions magazine on February 5th, 2020, in German, as "Verifizierte CO2-Entfernunghat jetzt einen Preis". To download article in German please click here.


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