Saudi company sells 2.2 mln tonnes of carbon credits in auction


More than 2.2 million tonnes of carbon credits were sold on June 14 at an auction organized by the Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Co. in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the Saudi firm said. 

"Today's auction beat the record set by the previous voluntary carbon credit auction in October 2022, where 1.4 million tonnes of carbon credits were sold," according to the news release from the company.

16 Saudi and international firms participated in the auction, with Aramco, Saudi Electricity Co. and sustainable energy company Enowa buying largest number of credits. 

The auction offered a basket of high-quality CORSIA Eligible Offsets from 18 projects, representing a mix of carbon dioxide avoidance and removal, the company said. The credits were sold at 23.50 Saudi riyals ($6.27) per tonne.

Companies view the voluntary carbon market as essential in helping them to achieve environmental targets because they allow investment in projects that freeze climate-warming emissions that they are unable to reduce from their own operations.

As more companies target net-zero emissions by 2050, demand for offsets is set to grow, although concerns around the quality of some projects have deterred some, prompting calls from climate campaigners, industry and other potential buyers for tougher rules.

Worth around $2 billion in 2021, according to Ecosystem Marketplace, the annual global market for voluntary carbon credits could reach $50 billion by 2030, consultants at McKinsey have estimated.

Criticisms of the carbon offset market have included a lack of transparency and a limited supply of credits, as well as questions over the quality of projects. 

Riham ElGizy, the CEO of RVCMC, rejects the criticisms and indicates that the company works with two separate, independent teams of experts to examine projects that contribute credits for sale.

"If there are any red flags, we immediately exclude this from the auction," ElGizy said. 

Some 70% of the credits at the auction were generated by projects in Africa, RVCMC said.

"This includes the supply of improved clean cookstoves to communities in Kenya and Rwanda and renewable energy projects in Egypt and South Africa," it said. 

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