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Race to Zero: role of voluntary offsets

October 21, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm EDT


Time & Location

21 Oct, 19:00 – 20:15 CEST

About The Event

Carbon offsets are in renewed demand as corporates and other organisations set net zero targets and face up to the challenge of complete decarbonization. This applies to both voluntary and mandatory offsets.

Offsets took off mainly under the mandatory schemes, the EU ETS being the most advanced example. Voluntary offset markets are shaping up, with corporates tapping into it to meet their net zero targets, and according to the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (2021), “voluntary carbon offsets market worth could reach USD100 billion by 2030 vs USD300 million in 2018”.

A caveat is that there is no overarching governance system in place and corporates/traders are rushing to start trading without agreeing on how offsets fit in with effective climate action. Offset projects are incredibly diverse, covering different approaches to emissions reduction, avoidance and removal. Only a small fraction actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and past projects have often shown to be not fully additional.

Learn more about the role of offsets in race to zero with Olga Krylova, Oxford alumna/OxCAN Europe, who will moderate the session, and:

Dr Steve Smith, Oxford/Imperial alumnus and Executive Director, Oxford Net Zero; Deputy Director, CO2RE, co-author of The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting

  • The scale of the challenge: staying below 1.5°C
  • The state of net zero commitments and offsetting
  • Relevance of The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting

Owen Hewlett, University of Bristol alumnus and Chief Technical Officer at the Gold Standard Foundation

  • Taxonomy of claims associated with carbon markets
  • Integration of markets and claims into an holistic corporate climate framework
  • GS work on aligning VCM with Paris and corporate climate action

Eli Mitchell-Larson, Oxford/Yale alumnus and Scoping Team Lead, Carbon Removal Advocacy Europe 

  • Limits of relying on voluntary commitments and the need for a rapid transition to regulation and compliance markets
  • Database of the observable universe of carbon credits (Berkley Carbon Trading Project/Carbon Removal Advocacy Europe high-level VCM analysis)
  • Creative ‘contribution claim’ commitments without transference of carbon credit

Lori Guetre, VP and Head of Business Development at Carbon Engineering Ltd.

  • The importance of looking at the whole net zero problem
  • Should we change the question?
  • The state of compliance markets and the key role that voluntary markets can play in accelerating the buildout of climate solutions

Zhizhen Wang, Sustainability Programme Manager at Signify 

  • The role carbon offset plays in corporates’ journey to carbon neutrality
  • What do companies value when selecting carbon offset projects
  • Net zero and different types of carbon offset credits, what’s ahead

Interventions will be followed by 15 min Q&A.

Register here:


October 21, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm EDT



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