Last Thursday, August 18th, in front of a standing-room only crowd of more than 500 participants at the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, Fundación Natura and the Colombian Mercantile Exchange officially launched Colombia’s Voluntary Carbon Market. The market focuses primarily on forest projects, with room for expansion. With the launch, Colombia joins an increasing number of countries and governments using carbon markets to drive emission reductions. Our CEO David Antonioli had the opportunity to speak at the launch event, as the Colombian market recognizes credits from the VCS Program.

Long in the making, the Colombian Voluntary Carbon Market represents an excellent first step towards a comprehensive, country-wide approach to addressing climate change and brings together numerous stakeholders, including the Colombian Ministry of Environment. Indeed, at the launch event, the Minister of the Environment, Luis Gilberto Murillo, recounted how he has been hoping for a mechanism like this since the late 1990s to recognize emission reductions from the forestry sector.

Colombia’s voluntary carbon market may also help chart a course for their intended Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, linking in-country carbon credits to broader national and international goals.  Speakers at the event were already looking to additional future actions, such as a possible emissions trading scheme or other economic instruments to mitigate emissions. In VCS’s view, the Voluntary Carbon Market could serve as “early action” in a future emissions trading scheme, which would boost the market while generating social and environmental benefits.

Overall, it was an exciting launch. We look forward to continued involvement in Colombia’s Voluntary Carbon Market and to more developments to come.