Bursa Malaysia is eyeing regional carbon standards to scale local carbon projects, Umar Swift, CEO of Bursa Malaysia, announced at the launch of the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) Handbook on the 5th October 2023.
The registration and trading of Malaysia-generated carbon credits has been a challenge for the Bursa Carbon Exchange (BCX) even prior to the launch of the platform in December 2022.
In a podcast interview, Ralph Dixon, the executive director of sustainability at YTL and a member of Bursa Malaysia’s industry working group for the BCX, confirmed that the BCX’s inaugural auction was delayed from December 2022 to March this year in the hopes to include a verified Malaysia-generated carbon credit project, which did not happen.
According to Umar, global standard registries like Verra pose a bottleneck to scaling and accelerating carbon projects. As such, it is engaging in discussions both locally and with Indonesia to develop local standards consistent with global best practices.
“We envisage a perhaps not-too-distant future where there are local standards in the ASEAN region that are recognized among respective markets for high-quality carbon credits,” Umar shared.
There may even be an inter-operable ASEAN carbon registry where the facilitation of both cross-border trading and data linkages can take place, Umar detailed.
Notably, Indonesia launched its carbon exchange, the IDXCarbon, and held its inaugural auction late last month on the 26th September 2023.
In Malaysia’s uphill battle to introduce Malaysia-generated carbon credits to the BCX, Umar shared that its carbon ‘supermarket shelves’ will soon be stocked with Malaysian products as the Kuamut Rainforest Conservation Project in Sabah is nearing its first issuance.
“I am pleased to note that the BCX is organizing their next auction to offer Malaysian nature-based carbon credits,” Nazmi Nik Ahmed, the minister of natural resources, environment and climate change, noted.
According to the minister, the auction date will be announced when Verra issues the Kuamut project’s carbon credits. The project is being verified for a triple gold labeling under Verra’s co-benefit standard of Climate, Community and Biodiversity.
Both Umar and the minister have voiced disappointment in the uptake of sustainability initiatives by corporate Malaysia. The launch of the VCM Handbook, which is a joint effort between Bursa Malaysia and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, is expected to contribute to the scaling of the space.