Carbon Forward 2023

DelAgua was thrilled to be part of the Carbon Forward Conference 2023 in London. Our Group Chairman, Neil McDougall, led our team delegation including Rory McDougall, Group Commercial and Finance Director, Marcus-Alexander Neil, Carbon Sales Manager and Euan McDougall, Group Chief Operating  Officer.

Since its inaugural 2016 event, Carbon Forward has grown to become Europe’s leading and largest environmental markets conference. This year’s conference highlighted the latest information on climate policy, the role of carbon markets and how best to deliver energy transition and pathway to net zero.

Several speakers and panelists spoke about strategies implemented by companies and national Governments to achieve their Net Zero commitments, which have now become expected standards.

To achieve Net Zero, carbon offsetting through long-term agreements is necessary. This gives offset developers certainty that there will be a suitable market in the future and supports the restoration and protection of ecosystems as well as addressing long term challenges such as dirty cooking. Carbon finance is enabling the health and environmental crisis of dirty cooking to be tackled at scale and for the long term through projects like our Live Well clean cooking programme, which is funded solely by the sale of carbon credits. With over 1.6 million energy-efficient stoves distributed to rural populations so far, high quality carbon credits have been generated through this programme.

The growth of the global carbon markets ultimately translates to investment that allows DelAgua to distribute more stoves and reach more communities that would otherwise be excluded in the clean energy transition.

A report released by Ecosystem Marketplace (download here) during the conference shows that companies engaging in the voluntary carbon market are reducing their own emissions more quickly than their peers are. These companies are 1.8x more likely to be decarbonizing year-over-year and 1.2x more likely to have board oversight of their climate transition plans.

Additionally, analysts at the conference stated they were confident in the future of the voluntary carbon market with the ICVCM’s Core Carbon Principles (CCP) further boosting demand. All indicators show that demand for credits could hit 4 billion by 2030, but the supply of credits will only reach around 600 million by 2030.

David Antonioli’s session on how the VCM can overcome credibility questions was interesting and positive. Ultimately, developers, registries, policy makers and buyers are all working to increase the integrity of the market, and while there is sometimes a healthy and productive tension given our different perspectives it is important that we remain supportive and collaborative. We all agree that the VCM needs to succeed for two main reasons; firstly, it is a great tool to help hold corporates to account and accelerate their decarbonization journeys by tackling the emissions they cannot yet avoid or reduce; and secondly, because carbon financing underpins and affords so many co-benefits in LDC across Asia and Africa. David’s speech in many ways reaffirmed what many in the room knew, but it was encouraging to hear that message articulated so clearly and be received so warmly.

On Day Three of the conference, our very own COO Euan McDougall participated in a panel discussion on Sovereign risks: royalties, taxes, export blocks, and how host governments are impacting the Voluntary Carbon Market.

This session explored how DelAgua has used its partnerships with Governments in Rwanda, The Gambia and Sierra Leone to prioritize clean cooking as a climate solution, improve delivery by working with local community workers, manage political risk and to ensure our cook stoves reach those who are most in need.

Euan also highlighted how supportive and driven governments in our host countries have been, and emphasised the fact that regulatory risk does not only exist in the host country, but also in the buyers’ country, where changes to regulations on how VERs can be used and talked about can also have a detrimental impact on growing a market that delivers multiple environmental and economic benefits.

Carbon Forward also provided a great opportunity for our team to meet with existing and future partners, including BeZero, SCB and ACX. 

Thanks to Ben Garside and the Carbon Forward team for what was a very well curated conference prepared to debate the contentious topics as well highlighting the opportunities and providing a valuable platform for discussions that chart a pathway for the future of carbon markets.