Community Carbon Marketplace Blog

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Local Community Solution to the Global Problem of Climate-Change

In 2005, New Society became the first North American book publishing company to become carbon neutral. There was no model to follow, so in true New Society Publishers fashion, they created one. Ever since then, New Society has taken steps to not only reduce its emissions but also balance them every year to maintain its carbon neutral commitment. New Society has been using 100% post-consumer recycled, ancient forest friendly paper that yields a reduction of 36% in their annual carbon emissions over “business as usual.” The balance of the emissions which cannot be reduced is neutralized by investing in local greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction initiatives that prevents the release of a similar quantity of emissions, or which will achieve long-term carbon-storage.

In 2005, New Society neutralized 213 tonnes of carbon. In 2014, nearly 10 years later, they are balancing 200 tonnes GHG emissions through Vancouver Island-based Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM), the first online community carbon credits market in North America. The CCM is an appealing alternative in the evolving Carbon market as it functions as a “micro-exchange.” CCM is accessible by community-based greenhouse gas (GHG) initiatives and local governments, and directs offsetting dollars to invest in the development of a local low-Carbon green economy to balance communities for a healthy planet.

The Community Carbon Marketplace, a not-for-profit initiative of Cowichan Energy Alternatives Society (CEA), is an online community carbon exchange that helps local governments and businesses meet carbon neutral objectives through the purchase of community carbon credits (CCCs) generated by local organizations and projects that reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHGs).  If your organization or business is working on a green project that reduces GHG emissions, such as using renewable fuel/energy, land conservation/restoration etc, you may be doing more than a good thing for the environmental – you may be generating revenue which until now you haven’t been able to access in the form of CCCs. These can be listed and sold through the CCM for organizations to meet their carbon-neutral commitment entirely from community offset sources.

Funds from the purchase of each CCC go to the organizations and projects that produce them, as the CCM supports credible, ethical community-based GHG reduction projects by ensuring community dollars are transparently directed to local organizations and small-businesses to invest in their green initiatives.                                                                                                

“We encourage non-profits and green businesses throughout Vancouver Island and Coastal BC to visit our website where they can do a simple self-assessment for eligibility, and get on a waiting list for possible subsidies.” – Hassaan Rahim, Project Manager – Cowichan Energy Alternatives.

CCM recently entered a “community champions” contest run by BC Hydro and need your votes to win $10,000. Each person can vote once per day until the contest ends on November 30th. BC teachers and schools can also support the CCM video and enter themselves for a chance to win $1000 for their class!  You can watch the video and vote for the CCM initiative at:

Let’s vote for CCM each and every day and support their mission to provide sustainable and local solutions to our global problems.


For more information on the Community Carbon Marketplace, visit the CCM website at: or watch our animated video below:


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Social Enterprise Demystifies Carbon Market

Community Carbon Marketplace simplifies carbon credit purchases online

When one hears carbon offsets, what might come to mind is an opportunity for a business or individual to purchase credits, which mitigate the total carbon output for running their business or taking a flight. Where this money goes hasn’t always been clear. People increasingly want to know it’s going to good projects with real social and environmental benefits.

Brian Roberts spotted this need and helped to pilot a solution — an online marketplace that matches those interested in purchasing carbon offsets while also bringing revenue into the local green economy with community-based carbon-offsetting projects that need funding in order to materialize.

  Four steps involved in using the Community Carbon Marketplace online platform.

“We like to think that the most accountable projects are those being done right in the communities where you live and do business,” says Brian, executive director of Cowichan Energy Alternatives Society (CEA). “Many local green projects often do not know that they are eligible to sell credits, or how to do it. At the same time, municipalities and other buyers can’t find or access local credits even if they want to.”

Carbon offset projects can range from a company that invests in bio-fuels instead of fossil fuels to an organization involved in forest conservation, other forms of alternative energy or even preventing organics from decomposing in landfills, which releases methane, a significant contributor to global climate change.

The Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM), developed by CEA, is now expanding throughout Vancouver Island and beyond after an award-winning year piloting the project in the Cowichan Valley.

“We’re energized with how well it’s been received by local governments,” Brian says. “It seems that it was really well-timed.”

Most of B.C.’s local governments have signed the Climate Action Charter, making a commitment to measure and report on their community’s greenhouse gas emissions. Many municipalities buy carbon credits as part of this pledge.

A significant learning for Brian and his team over the last year has been around the need for education about the carbon marketplace.

  Island Biodiesel Co-op receives cheque for carbon credits from the Community Carbon Marketplace.

“One of the things we’ve learned is just how complicated the carbon market is and how misunderstood it is,” he says. “We find it takes a lot of one-on-one time to explain how this can work.”

Supplementary to the marketplace, CEA offers carbon footprint assessments to businesses that want to better understand their energy use and emissions.

The team is also producing a video to shed light on the carbon market and how businesses and community groups can now access its benefits through the CCM.

“It’s like recycling — it took a while for it to get through to the critical mass needed to make it an accepted way of life,” Brian says.

The grand hope for the initiative is to expand the marketplace throughout B.C. and other parts of Canada. Anyone can purchase community carbon credits from the online CCM, from governments, businesses, organizations and individuals. For businesses that want to be carbon neutral but cannot because of the nature of their business, the marketplace offers a means for them to mitigate their greenhouse gas output by supporting carbon-offsetting projects with local benefits.

The Social Enterprise Portfolio Program, a partnership between the Vancity Community Foundation, Vancity credit union and the City of Vancouver, extended its funding for the project after its successful first year. The program supports 10 social enterprises through financial and other forms of support.

“We support groups that have a strong business plan that lays out a social enterprise with a strong and needed impact in the community,” explains manager of strategic programs Emily Beam.

  Vancouver Island’s first B.C. Biofuel Network biodiesel blending pump.

The program supports initiatives with strong business plans designed to make significant impact by providing early-stage equity so that organizations can grow into achieving their goals and running self-sustainably.

Brian is energized by the enthusiastic reaction the marketplace received from governments and other interested buyers.

“We had more demand for community carbon credits than supply. Now we have to get the word out to businesses that they can generate a whole new revenue stream by making sustainable business decisions that also reduce emissions,” he says.

“I think there’s been an awakening and I think we’re at the forefront of it. More and more companies are demonstrating social and environmental responsibility and being rewarded for this by a public that is increasingly aware of the issues and voting with their dollars. The CCM is just another way of facilitating this shift to a local, green economy.”

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