Merrill, ICF collaborate on voluntary carbon consultancy

Environmental Finance, 24 April 2008 - Merrill Lynch and ICF International have launched a carbon consultancy service aimed at businesses that want a carbon strategy but do not currently face regulations to reduce emissions.

Merrill Lynch said its ”Green & Gold' service aims to help businesses save emissions, cut costs and enhance their brand. For clients that wish to become carbon neutral, the investment bank will offer carbon offsets with the “highest sustainability” credentials, such as those that meet the Gold Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) standards.

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Consultancy firm ICF will be responsible for assessing the client's carbon footprint and identifying energy saving opportunities.

Abyd Karmali, managing director and global head of carbon emissions at Merrill Lynch, said: “Demand in the rapidly growing voluntary carbon offsets market is shifting towards emission reductions that provide stakeholders with an independent guarantee of environmental sustainability and credibility. Our decision to finance and distribute carbon credits with a strong hallmark of sustainability is aligned with our objective of promoting environmental stewardship.”

Gold Standard and CCBA credits are scarce at the moment, but Merrill Lynch is developing larger-scale sources of credits, Karmali said, citing as an example its recent deal to secure an expected 100 million tonnes of credits from an Indonesian avoided deforestation project.

The Green & Gold service will be offered globally by the firm's existing investment banking and commodity trading staff. Karmali said the new service was part of the reason behind his most recent hire — Jason Patrick, formerly with carbon broker Evolution Markets, who will now head up the bank's origination and commercialisation efforts in the Americas.

This article is reproduced with kind permission of Environmental Finance magazine.
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