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COP26 is almost here, and it’s time to face the facts. The twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss are threatening all corners of the globe, and we’re not doing enough to stand up to the challenge. 

We’ve got a long way to go, and this is undeniable. But at Ecosphere+, we’re entering the conference on Sunday energised and hopeful. As a pioneer in bringing natural climate solutions to market, we’ve spent the past five years working to put nature at the heart of business strategy, and to entwine profit with responsibility. At the time of our inception in 2016, we entered an opaque market, characterised by a lack of transparency and operating without any clear rulebook. Our aim was simple: help to build a transparent, verifiable and robust voluntary carbon market, led by strong values and principles. 

Since then, we’ve worked with a dedicated client base to finance more than 35 million voluntary carbon units. Not only has this translated into significant avoided emissions across our projects in Latin America and Southeast Asia, but worked to conserve vital biodiversity, uplift and empower marginalised communities and drive long-term, sustainable land-use change with alternative livelihoods and enterprises. Our clients have proven what the voluntary carbon market can deliver: tangible, verifiable emissions reductions, underscored by significant and long-term outcomes for nature and people. 

Today, this market looks a lot different. Initiatives like the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets and VCMI are working to ensure high levels of market integrity, businesses from across sectors are setting ambitious climate and biodiversity targets and new and innovative natural climate solutions are driving real change in threatened ecosystems across the world. The market has come a long way, but there’s still work to be done.

Greater trust in a strong and fair voluntary carbon market can help to unlock the USD $8.1 trillion financing gap needed to successfully tackle the interlinked climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises. This needs to be a focus at COP26.