Resilience Dispatch #20: On the Road to COP26, Carbon Markets at COP

Nov 9, 2021

In this edition

On the road to COP26

Greetings! This is the second in a special series of the Resilience Dispatch.

Last week, we took a look at why water and adaptation measures are worthy of first-tier attention. This week, we want to highlight carbon markets. What role do they play in meeting Paris targets? What is the outlook for COP26 negotiations on markets? What parallel progress is being made outside the UN framework?

To answer these questions, we sat down (briefly) with the (very busy) Stephen Donofrio, Director of our Ecosystem Marketplace initiative and a carbon markets expert. Enjoy our Q&A with Stephen below.

Next week, some exciting updates on new financing mechanisms for indigenous and traditional forest defenders.

Headed to COP and want to set up a meeting or attend one of our events? Get in touch. We are still confirming plans, and would be happy to keep you in the loop!

The Forest Trends team

Carbon Markets at COP: Here’s What to Watch for

A Q&A on carbon markets and COP (Article 6, improving market transparency and quality, and reasons for optimism) with Stephen Donofrio, Director of our Ecosystem Marketplace initiative, and Genevieve Bennett, our Director of Communications.

Genevieve Bennett: Hi Stephen! COP26 starts this weekend. How are you preparing right now?

Stephen Donofrio: It’s been busy! I’ll be at COP for the full two weeks, presenting data and market developments on a number of panels [see a list below]. In general, there seems to be conclusive awareness that in order to achieve the infamous 1.5 degree C Paris Agreement goal, companies and governments to invest in all types of carbon credit projects. And all the while, climate change has become impossible to ignore with as its influence on our natural world are becoming all too regular and familiar. It’s now at a point of “climate action or bust.”

GB: Article 6, which governs carbon trading, is the one of the last pieces of the Paris rulebook where an agreement still needs to be hammered out. What do we need to know about those negotiations?  

SD: The issues left to negotiate are pretty technical, but the gist of it is we need to decide, one, how to handle accounting around internationally traded emissions reductions to avoid countries and private actors “double counting” the same reductions, and secondly the question of how to wind down the old Clean Development Mechanism.

Two thirds of countries have said they definitely are going to use Article 6 to meet their climate targets. So it’s important. The upside is I think that means there’s a sense of urgency among a majority of people at the negotiation table to get this done.

[But] A lot of people watching this would agree that no agreement would be better than a weak agreement. Especially since you can accomplish quite a lot outside of the UN framework in the meantime even while Article 6 remains unresolved.

GB: Yes, it doesn’t seem like the private sector is waiting on the UNFCCC. That’s been a really interesting dynamic in the last couple of years. For me, honestly a little unexpected too – that despite these delays, despite the global pandemic, that so many companies and cities and others have grabbed the baton and kept moving forward on their own plans for action.  

Absolutely – Companies have set ambitious net zero targets, and a lot of them are using carbon credits to tackle that last five percent or so of emissions that are really tricky to address. We projected in September that this would be a billion-dollar year for voluntary markets for the first time ever. Demand is higher than we’ve ever seen in the sixteen years we’ve been tracking markets. And that’s starting to move prices upward.

Personally, I think that’s a very good thing. We’re seeing emitters willing to pay more for emissions reductions, and especially for credits that come from projects with all of these other benefits for sustainable development, whether that is protecting forests in the Amazon, or getting clean cookstoves to families in Africa – which especially is good for women – or sustainable agriculture, or so on.

Carbon markets are becoming a bigger and bigger driver of finance for sustainable development. I think that sometimes gets missed in all of this focus on the technical aspects of COP negotiations or the market opportunities that everyone’s excited about in London and New York.

[Read the full interview here.]

Forest Trends at COP: The Full List of Events

Delivering High Integrity, Inclusive Voluntary Carbon Markets for 1.5C
November 3, 15:00 – 17:00 GMT
Nature+Zone (Blue Zone) [invitation only] | Watch it live

Convenor: UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Global leaders from across government, the private sector, civil society and indigenou communities discuss what is needed to ensure voluntary carbon markets are high integrity and accelerate additional action towards the 1.5C goal, while supporting inclusive, sustainable development globally. Keynotes and panel discussions interrogate what ‘integrity’ means, on both demand and supply sides, in order to identify shared challenges and pathways for collaborative solutions. Representatives from key initiatives supporting high integrity working together on these topics also discuss their next phases of work.

Featuring: Beto Borges, Director, Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative; Panel to be announced

Private Finance for Sustainable Landscapes and Net Zero Goals
November 1 | 13:15 am – 14:45 
GEF/GCF Pavilion | Watch it liveConvenors: International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance (ICROA) & International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)

The business models and investment case for investment in landscape initiatives for climate change mitigation and adaptation are not widely understood by investors and the private sector. This session will showcase initiatives in which the private sector is driving innovation, including market-based instruments, and capital markets transactions in-setting and offsetting, carbon market finance, and supply chain scope III investment.  Then, speakers will share with participants examples of blended finance as a structuring approach to de-risking investments and increasing private sector investment in landscape initiatives.


  • Ingo Puhl, Co-founder and Director South East Asia, South Pole
  • Jenny Henman, Clarmondial
  • Kevin Rabinovitch, VP Sustainability Mars, representing the Livelihoods Fund
  • Stephen Donofrio, Director, Ecosystem Marketplace & Supply Change Initiatives, Forest Trends
  • Florian Kemmerich, Managing Partner, Bamboo Capital
Future of Voluntary Carbon Markets: Projects, Players, and Impacts
November 4 | 16:30 – 18:00 
IETA BusinessHubConvenor: Vertis
Demand in voluntary carbon markets has been growing exponentially in recent years. Who is pushing the growth? Which are the trending projects? How will Article 6 of the Paris Agreement impact the market?


  • Paz Nachon, Director, Strive – Vertis Environmental Finance
  • Stephen Donofrio, Director, Ecosystem Marketplace &  Supply Change Initiatives
Scaling up Nature-based Solutions for Adaptation to Climate Change
November 4, 15:30 – 17:00 GMT / 11:30 – 13:00 EDT
Water & Climate Pavilion (Blue Zone) | Watch it hereConvenors: FWP, IUCN, OIEau, INBO, UNECE, The Flow Partnership, Shanghai Urban Construction Design and Research Institute (SUCDRI), Frank Water; Arup, Forest Trends, Reconstrucción Con Cambios Authority (Peru), USAID Peru, Canadian Embassy Peru
Climate change primarily affects water with unpredictable rainfall patterns, aquatic ecosystems degradation, altered river flows, sea level rise-induced salinization of coastal groundwater, more frequent and intense floods and droughts. Water-related disasters represent about 90% of all natural disasters. Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are effective no-regret measures that can help address this challenge of climate change adaptation. Now that the IUCN global standard for Nature-based Solution has been made public, this session will present case studies of Nature-based Solutions that were implemented because of their climate change adaptation benefits.Master of ceremony

  • James Dalton, Director of the Global Water Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)


  • Eric Tardieu, Director General, International Office for Water (OIEau)
  • Gena Gammie, Deputy Chief of Party, Natural Infrastructure for Water Security, Forest Trends, Peru
  • Thierry-Emmanuel Ratovoniaina, Technical Director General, Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Madagascar
  • Tamara Kutonova, Regional Coordinator,  GEF Project in the transboundary river basin of the Dniester, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Louise Bingham, Environmental Consultant, Arup
  • David Hetherington, Associate, Arup
A Call to Action: Building Water and Climate Resilience through Nature-based Solutions
November 4, 17:30 – 19:00 GMT / 13:30 – 15:00 EDT
Water & Climate Pavilion (Blue Zone) | Watch it hereConvenors: Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, The Nature Conservancy, LimnoTech, Danone, WWF, IUCN, Forest Trends, United States Army Corps of Engineers, City of Cape Town, Asia Pulp and Paper, Heineken
This session will bring together key stakeholders from the public, private and NGO sectors. The discussions will center on the challenges and opportunities for mitigation and adaptation that exist in addressing the water-climate nexus as well as considerations of biodiversity and the environment. Approaches like nature-based solutions and resilience thinking will be foregrounded to help build the business case for investments in water and climate solutions. The focus of the session is on building collective action, gaining allies / forging alliances, and breaking down barriers/silos.

  • Naabia Ofosu-Amaah – The Nature Conservancy


  • Torgny Holmgrem, Stockholm International Water Institute
  • Todd Bridges, USACE
  • Tamsin Faragher, City of Cape Town
  • Pilar Cruz, Cargill (TBC)
  • Stacey Tank, Heineken
  • Jan Cassin, Forest Trends
  • Jason Morrison, Pacific Institute
Climate Finance to Secure Community Governance and Direct Financing

November 7, 15:15 – 16:45 GMT
Global Landscapes Forum, Glasgow University Senate Room | Register to watch it live

Convenor: Wildlife Works and Forest Trends
Join a discussion between Indigenous Peoples leaders who support a new perspective in the climate financing architecture that can directly support indigenous and local communities. They will share guiding principles needed to ensure that forest protection finance from the private sector is distributed equitably and directly to forest communities. The panelists will give examples of successful REDD+ projects, lessons learned, and challenges for more efficient and direct contributions for forest stewardships.


  • Beto Borges, Director, Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative


  • Francisca Arara, President of the Regional Committee for Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities of the Governors Climate and Task Force
  • Harol Rincon, General Secretary of the Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC)
  • Wrays Perez, Social Technical Coordinator of the Autonomous Territorial Government of Wampís Nation (GTANW)
  • Nonette Royo, Executive Director, The Tenure Facility, Asia
  • Gustavo Sánchez, Executive Commission of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples Forests (AMPB)
  • Marciely Ayap Tupari, Communicator of the Association for Ethnic Environmental Protection; Councilor of the Union of Indigenous
  • Women of the Brazilian Amazon (UMIAB); CMDM Counselor; Communicator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB)
Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Drive Greater Transparency in the Voluntary Carbon Markets

November 9  | 13:30 – 15:00 GMT
IETA BusinessHub | Register here

Convenor: International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance (ICROA)
For over fifteen years, The VCM has been a unique space for innovation to deliver and certify emission reduction and climate impacts around the world. This event will explore and discuss the latest developments from organizations that work to enhance the market’s transparency and legitimacy through new technology.


  • Antoine Diemert, Programme Director – ICROA


  • Guy Turner, CEO – Trove Research
  • Stephen Donofrio, Director – Ecosystem Marketplace.  
  • Diego Saez Gil, CEO – Pachama
  • Marcelo Labre, CEO – Viridios AI
  • Charlotte Streck, Founder – Climate Focus
  • Lars Kroijer, Founder and Managing Director – Allied Crowds
  • Paula VanLaningham, Global Head of Carbon – S&P Global
Innovations in the Forest Carbon Market   

November 9  | 11am – 12pm EST
Register here

Convenors: Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace &
Join the US Chapter of and Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace for a discussion on how innovations in the forest carbon market are making the field more scientifically rigorous, accessible, and scalable than ever before.


  • Stephen Donofrio, Director, Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace & Supply Change Initiatives
  • Julianne Baroody, Senior Director, Forest Carbon Innovations, Verra
  • Jad Daley, President & CEO, American Forests
  • PJ Marshall, Founder & Executive Director, Restore the Earth Foundation
  • John Niles, Senior Manager, Natural Climate Solutions, Salesforce