Quickly find answers about the growing suite of Voluntary Emissions Offset products: from recently added CBL Core Global Emissions Offset (C-GEO) futures to CBL Nature-Based Global Emissions Offset (N-GEO) futures and the original CBL Global Emissions Offset (GEO) futures contracts.

CBL Core Global Emissions Offset futures

1. What is the CBL Core Global Emissions Offset (C-GEO) futures contract?

CBL C-GEO futures are standardized instruments for high-quality voluntary emissions offsets that align with the initial recommendations for the Core Carbon Principles, an emerging set of transparent and consistent standards around the supply of carbon credits to be overseen by the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Markets.

2. Why did CME Group launch the C-GEO contract?

As the marketplace for voluntary carbon credits expands, CME Group recognized the need for a futures contract covering energy, renewables, and other technology-based offset credits that align with the initial recommendations for the Core Carbon Principles. The CBL C-GEO spot contract delivers that and complements the existing GEO and N-GEO futures contracts.

3. What are the key capabilities of carbon offset credits?

CME Group is applying the following C-GEO screening criteria as defined in CBL Markets’ Standard Instrument Program (SIP) Schedule 5:

  1. Unit types:
    • Verified Carbon Units (VCUs), including any additional certifications, and with the exclusion of the following activity and/ or unit types, methodologies, program elements, and/ or procedural classes:
      • Hydroelectric power plants utilizing CDM methodology ACM0002 grid-connected electricity generation from renewable sources, with electrical generation capacity larger than 20MW, with the exception of:
        • Run of river hydroelectric power plant projects.
      • Methodologies within sectoral scope 15. Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use
    • Project vintage eligibility: projects meeting criteria above for asset units with vintage meeting a 6-year rolling eligibility window. The rolling eligibility will begin by including asset units of vintage 2016 to 2021 and move, with time, in one-year increments. The window will “roll-over” on June 30 of each new year. That means that on July 1, a new vintage eligibility will apply to the contract.

Approved registries: Verra Registry, operated by Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Please see an overview of vintage availability below.

4. What do rolling vintage years mean?

It means that each year on the first of July, the vintages eligible for delivery into the C-GEO contract will have changed from one year to the next. On July 1, 2022, the vintage eligibility will move from 2016-2021 to 2017-2022. On July 1, 2023, the vintage eligibility will move from 2017-2022 to 2018-2023, etc.

Please see an overview of vintage availability below.

5. What is the process for onboarding with CBL and the Verra Registry?

Please see details on registering with CBL and the Verra Registry in the GEO and N-GEO futures sections.

6. What is the relationship between C-GEO, N-GEO and GEO? What are the main differences?

The three contracts all serve slightly different market segments as outlined below:

CBL Product Name Global Emissions Offset Nature-Based Global Emissions Offset Core Global Emissions Offset
CBL Product Launch 10/5/2020 3/11/2021 1/5/2022
Projects Tech-based (non-AFOLU) Nature-based (AFOLU) Tech-based (non-AFOLU, large hydro excluded w/ exception of Run-of-River hydro)
Framework Alignment ICAO's CORSIA Verra's VCS w/ CCB co-benefits Aligns with the initial recommendations for the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) set by the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (now the IC-VCM)
Registries 3 (Verra, ACR, CAR) 1 (Verra) 1 (Verra)
Vintage Structure Static and reflecting ICAO’s CORSIA Rolling.  On July 1st 2022, 2016-2020 will expand to 2016-2022. On July 1st 2023, 2016-2022 will roll into 2018-2023. On each following July 1st, the oldest vintage will become ineligible, and a new vintage will be added.   Starting Jul 1st 2023, N-GEO and C-GEO vintages will be aligned Rolling.  On July 1 of each year, starting in 2022, the oldest vintage will become ineligible for the contract, and a new vintage will be added.  Ex. On 7/1/22, the vintage range advances- 2016s will fall off and 2022s will be added.   Starting Jul 1st 2023, N-GEO and C-GEO vintages will be aligned
Current Vintage Years Please see an overview of vintage years below.
Contract Size 1,000 environmental offsets (each offset representing 1 mtCO2e) 1,000 environmental offsets (each offset representing 1 mtCO2e) 1,000 environmental offsets (each offset representing 1 mtCO2e)
Underlying Supply ~40 million credits ~70 million credits ~100 million credits

CBL Nature-Based Global Emissions Offset futures

1. What is the CBL Nature-Based Global Emissions Offset futures (N-GEO) contract?

N-GEO futures follow the industry leading Verified Carbon (VCS) Standard for Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) projects and require additional certification of Verra Registry’s stringent Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard, which identifies projects that simultaneously address climate change, support local communities and smallholders, and conserve biodiversity.

2. Why did CME Group launch the N-GEO contract?

As more companies rely on nature-based offsets as part of their individual climate strategies, N-GEO futures provide a standardized tool for managing the price risk associated with those initiatives. N-GEO futures are the latest market-based solution to help create a more transparent and efficient voluntary emissions offset market.

3. Why focus on nature-based projects?

A variety of solutions have emerged to help meet net-zero targets, including projects that protect or restore natural ecosystems, which remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The purchase of nature-based voluntary offsets allows businesses to finance natural climate solutions while transitioning to more sustainable business practices.

CME Group’s customers have expressed demand for a standardized offset contract that focuses on AFOLU projects. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the AFOLU sector is responsible for just under a quarter of GHG emissions associated with human activities. One way to mitigate emissions from this sector is through the generation and sale of AFOLU emission offset credits. A barrier to achieving this at scale is the lack of a standardized pricing benchmark. N-GEO futures help improve price discovery and provide a transparent platform for managing nature-based offset risk.  

4. What type of projects are eligible for delivery through the N-GEO contract?

Offsets delivered via the N-GEO futures delivery mechanism must be the following criteria:

  1. VCS AFOLU Project: An Approved Registry project qualifying and verified under the Verra Registry Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector program methodologies (found here): and
  2. CCB Label/Certification: Projects and Units certified and labelled under at least one Climate, Community, & Biodiversity Standards, Rules for the Use of Climate, Community, & Biodiversity Standards, Version 3 (found here)
  3. Vintage: Please see an overview of vintage availability below.

5. What is Verra’s Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard?

The Verra Registry’s CCB Standard is designed to go beyond emission reduction by supporting local communities and conserving biodiversity. In order to be certified under the CCB Standard, projects must adhere to independent auditing requirements, follow approved accounting methodologies, and be tracked in Verra’s registry system.

For more detail information, please see Verra’s CCB landing page: https://verra.org/project/ccb-program/

6. What is the process for onboarding with CBL and the Verra Registry?

Please see details on registering with CBL and the Verra Registry in the GEO section below.

7. What is the relationship between the N-GEO and GEO contracts?

N-GEO futures are complementary to GEO futures, providing CME Group customers with another standardized and transparent platform for managing their voluntary emissions offset risk. Together, the two contracts have an estimated 100M offsets in deliverable supply.  N-GEO and GEO futures help provide clear insight into near and long-term pricing for global voluntary offsets.

N-GEO is set in the rigorous criteria outlined in Verra’s CCB Standard. There are many similarities between the N-GEO and GEO contracts such as their expiration calendar, contract size (1,000 offsets), tick size, and block minimum. Both contracts also settle against CBL’s spot markets and utilize CBL’s EMA system for deliveries. The key difference is the underlying projects available under each contract. N-GEO also only allows for delivery from one registry, Verra, while GEO allows for delivery from three.

8. How can I trade the N-GEO contract?

Like the GEO contract, N-GEO can be traded electronically or as a block transaction through a voice broker. Electronic spread markets are also be listed between N-GEO and GEO, allowing firms to execute inter-commodity spread transactions with no leg risk.

CBL Global Emissions Offset futures

1. What is the CBL Global Emissions Offset futures (code GEO) contract?

The Global Emissions Offset futures (GEO) contract is a physically settled contract that allows for delivery of CORSIA-eligible voluntary carbon offset credits from three registries: Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), American Carbon Registry (ACR), and Climate Action Reserve (CAR). Deliveries will be facilitated through CBL, a global leader in spot energy and environmental markets.

Please see the Global Emissions Offset futures contract specifications for more information. 

2. Why is CME Group launching the GEO contract?

CME Group’s global customers are in search of a way to manage future price risk associated with carbon markets across regions. The GEO contract enables increased price transparency for voluntary carbon offsets in future months and provides a mechanism for convergence across different carbon registries and project types.

3. What are the key capabilities of carbon offset credits?

Carbon offset credits are generated from projects that lead to offsets in emissions behind business as usual practices. Offset credits provide a flexible way to meet certain compliance obligations for state or regional carbon reduction schemes or to voluntarily reduce emissions at the state, corporate, or individual level. Offset projects and credits also bridge the gap between emissions reductions across countries and industries. They are especially useful in the early stages of reduction efforts in compliance programs or voluntary efforts, while long-term low carbon business practices are developed.

4. Who is CBL?

CBL is a global exchange platform for transacting spot energy and environmental commodity products such as carbon, renewable energy, water, and natural gas. For more information, please visit cblmarkets.com.

5. What is CORSIA?

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN specialized agency, adopted the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) as a market-based mechanism to meet an ambitious goal of carbon neutral growth from international aviation beyond 2020. The ICAO has approved seven voluntary carbon offset registries that airlines can use to comply with CORSIA; three of which are included in the futures contract.

Please see the link below for more information on CORSIA:

6. How were the registries chosen for the GEO contract?

CME Group and CBL chose the three CORSIA-eligible registries based on a variety of a criteria including access to credits and the ability to resell credits under the programs.

Please see the links below for more information on each eligible registry:

Please register for VCS here: https://registry.verra.org/mymodule/reg/AHAgreement.asp

Upon receipt of the email instructions for submitting the required documentation, please provide the following to Verra VCS to facilitate the remainder of your registration:

  1. A copy of the passport of the account manager designated on the account
  2. A copy of a recent bank statement with company name on it
  3. A certified copy of the company’s organization documents, such as its Certificate of Incorporation or its Memorandum and Articles of Association 
  4. A certified copy of the appropriate approval document (e.g. board or member resolution authorizing the opening of the account on our registry) 
  5. A brief description of your business model and how it pertains to your account needs in the Verra VCS registry
    1. Do you intend to issue VCUs to retire?
    2. Do you intend to buy VCUs from other entities and sell? 
    3. Do you intend to issue VCUs to retire on behalf of other entities? 
    4. Do you intend to hold VCUs on behalf of other entities? 
  6. A copy of the Project Description Document if a Project Proponent request.
  7. In addition, we will need to know has the applicant, an affiliate of the applicant, a director, an officer, or a shareholder of the applicant previously applied to open, or actually held or holds, an account with:
    1. any voluntary offset registry (including without limitation Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, and/or American Carbon Registry)?
    2. any national registry for EUAs or CERs?

Climate Action Reserve (CAR) applicant:

Please register for CAR here: https://thereserve2.apx.com/mymodule/reg/AHAgreement.asp

Upon receipt of the email instructions for submitting the required documentation, please provide the following to CAR to facilitate the remainder of your registration:

  1. Copy of account manager’s (individual managing the account) current passport or government issued identification, as well as a copy of the passport or government-issued identification of the individual authorized to sign the Terms of Use (TOU), if that individual is not also the account manager.
  2. A copy of a bank statement of the account holder (organization).
  3. A copy of one of the following:
    1. The account holder’s certificate of incorporation, certificate of formation, certificate of partnership, or equivalent formation document, certified by an official of the account holder’s jurisdiction of formation;
    2. A certificate of good standing issued by the account holder’s jurisdiction of formation;
    3. Or with respect to a partnership for which no certificate as described above is available, a copy of the executed partnership agreement.
  4. A copy of your organization’s Articles of Incorporation and any amendments or corrections hereto.
  5. Documentation (Board resolution or similar evidence) showing that the account holder has been authorized to become an account holder of the Climate Action Reserve.
  6. Documentation (Board resolution or similar evidence) showing that the account manager has been authorized to act on behalf of the account holder in connection with the application to become an account holder of the Climate Action Reserve.
  7. A copy of your organization’s corporate structure or organization chart, which includes the names of the account manager’s immediate supervisors, if applicable.
  8. Two references, each from a different employer, including title/position and contact information (telephone number and email). References can include past employers, former professional colleagues, or someone who can speak to your carbon offset experience, such as a current Reserve Account Holder.
  9. A current resume of the account manager.
  10. Will the account holder entity trade, sell, and/or hold credits on behalf of a third party?
  11. The intended method of payment for Account Holder Invoices (check/ACH/wire).
  12. The name of the entity submitting payment, such as the account holder, a different account holder, parent company, etc.

Please note that all documents submitted in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. All information provided will be treated as strictly privileged and confidential. The Reserve maintains the right to request further information and documentation from your organization.

American Carbon Registry (ACR) applicant:

Please register for ACR here: https://acr2.apx.com/mymodule/mypage.asp

ACR will only process account applications submitted directly from the applicant organization because they want to confirm with the named account manager that they are the individual who reviewed and electronically signed the ACR Terms of Use to legally bind the organization and the email correspondence to confirm the login with that individual. 

Once in receipt of the email instructions for submitting the required documentation please provide the following to ACR to facilitate the remainder of your registration:

  1. Government-issued identification document with a photograph (e.g. driver’s license or passport) for the account manager and any other individuals who will have account access
  2. Certified copy of the applicant's organization documents, such as Articles of Incorporation, Operating Agreement, Partnership Agreement, etc.
  3. Board resolution or other appropriate authorization document from a corporate officer stating that the applicant has chosen to open an ACR account and the account manager named on the application is duly appointed and authorized to execute the ACR Terms of Use agreement.

7. What credits/vintages can I deliver against the GEO contract?

The ICAO has outlined specific criteria for how it qualifies registries and projects to comply with CORSIA and specifics on which registries and project types are approved to date. Note that the ICAO has a rolling application process for new registries and project types. CME Group will continue to monitor additions to the ICAO list of approved offset providers and projects and may enable additional registries and projects to deliver into the GEO contract over time. Advanced notice will be provided to the market ahead of such action.

8. Are eligible offset credits geared only to airlines?

While CORSIA sets the foundation for the GEO contract, carbon offsets that fall under this program should appeal to a wide range of firms that are looking to reduce carbon emissions in a meaningful way. The criteria for CORSIA was chosen as it was established for over four years and verified through a standardized process under UN guidance.

9. How do I know what type of offset credit I will receive from taking delivery of a GEO contract?

The GEO contract is a “seller’s option” contract, meaning that a firm that expires short with intent of making delivery against the futures contract selects which eligible registry it will delivery carbon offsets from. All participants that chose to make or take delivery must be registered with CBL and with the three eligible carbon registries ahead of futures expiration. Firms taking delivery will receive an offset credit from a registry and project that meets the CORSIA criteria.

10. What’s the process to onboard with CBL and the three registries?

There is no CBL application, but clients may register for EMA through CBL. Applicants must provide Supplemental Evidentiary Documentation:

  • A Certificate of Formation in the name of the applicant
  • Evidence of Authority for the registering account manager to open the EMA account on behalf of the entity. For example, board or member resolution authorizing the opening of the account on our registry or letter of authorization on company letterhead executed by company director authorizing the account manager to open and manage the account.
  • A copy of the account manager’s current government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport)
  • A list of registry accounts planned to be linked in EMA: account title, account number, user ID, password, and EMA Ops log in
  • XCHG EMA Agent Designation
  • A list of additional EMA users, if needed

Each GEO-eligible registry has its own set of requirements and supplemental documents.

11. Is it required to register with CBL and the three registries to trade GEO futures?

Firms are not required to onboard with CBL and the three registries to trade GEO futures. These registrations are only required if a firm plans to make or take delivery via the futures mechanism. Just like any other physically settled futures contracts, firms may choose to avoid delivery by exiting their position, rolling their position, or conducting an Exchange for Physical (EFP) transaction.

12. How can I trade the GEO contract?

GEO futures can be electronically traded through CME Globex or cleared as block transactions via CME Clearport.

To learn about access to CME Group’s front end trading system, CME Direct, visit https://www.cmegroup.com/trading/cme-direct.html.

13. What are the key use cases of exchange-cleared futures? How can I trade the GEO contract?

Futures contracts cleared with CME Group offer a host of features and capabilities such as mitigated counterparty risk, robust audit trail for compliance purposes, efficient price execution, access to a wider variety of buyers and sellers, and a transparent settlement process.

For 100 years, CME Group has been a leader in centralized clearing ‒ offering global benchmarks in the Interest Rate, Energy, Equities, Agriculture, Metals, and Foreign Exchange space. CME Group is excited to continue to leverage its experience and reputation to help advance global environmental markets.

Learn more about futures here: https://www.cmegroup.com/education/courses.html.

Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Trailing futures

1. What are the Trailing futures contracts?

The Trailing futures contracts allow buyers and sellers to trade emissions offset credits that are no longer within the eligibility window of the main C-GEO and N-GEO contracts.

The market structure of voluntary offsets is such that buyers have preferences for different vintages and types of offset credits. The current C-GEO and N-GEO contract specs specify a range of vintage years are that are allowed in each contract. Each year, this eligibility window moves forward according to a specific schedule. To capture the earlier vintages as the eligibility window rolls forward, CBL Xpansiv introduced “Trailing” spot contracts on C-GEO and N-GEO. Subject to applicable regulatory approvals, CME Group intends to launch futures contracts on those C-GEO Trailing and N-GEO Trailing spot contracts.

2. Why did we launch trailing futures?

The Trailing futures contracts complement the C-GEO and N-GEO products so that market participants can manage different vintage ranges more effectively. The Trailing contracts allow for price discovery for vintages that are no longer eligible for delivery in the main contracts.

As the eligibility window rolls forward, offsets from previous years are no longer eligible for delivery against the respective futures contracts. To help entities manage those vintages, CBL Xpansiv launched spot contracts that trail behind the C-GEO and N-GEO eligibility window.

For example: An N-GEO forestry project that restores tropical forests in South America will issue credits year after year. When the 2018-2023 vintage N-GEO eligibility window rolls forward to 2019-2024, entities will still be able to trade and deliver 2018 forestry credits with the N-GEO Trailing futures contract. Trailing contracts can give participants more flexibility and choice in executing their risk management strategy.

3. What are the vintage years?

For each contract, the vintage years are documented in the CBL Standard Instruments Program. Each year, on July 1, the vintage year is moved forward, meaning the oldest vintage year is no longer eligible and a new year is added to the main C-GEO and N-GEO contract. The vintage year that became ineligible in the main contract is added to the eligibility window of the respective Trailing contract. The below graphic depicts the yearly breakdown of CBL Xpansiv’s eligibility windows and Trailing contracts from now until 2027.

4. What type of projects do the trailing C-GEO and N-GEO credits come from?

The projects represented by the C-GEO and N-GEO offsets are the same projects that make up the respective Trailing contracts - the only difference is the vintage year of the credit offsets. See the below sections for details about project eligibility.

5. How can I trade C-GEO and N-GEO Trailing contracts?

These Trailing contracts can be traded the same way that the main C-GEO and N-GEO contracts are traded. See the related FAQ below for trading those contracts.

6. Are you making changes to the existing contracts C-GEO, N-GEO, GEO contracts?

No. The existing contracts will remain as they are.

7. When are the contracts launching?

C-GEO Trailing and N-GEO Trailing futures are available for trading on August 8, 2022.

Rolling vintage years

22-Jul 2016-2022   2017-2022  
22-Aug 2016-2022   2017-2022  
22-Sep 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
22-Oct 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
22-Nov 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
22-Dec 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
23-Jan 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
23-Feb 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
23-Mar 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
23-Apr 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
23-May 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
23-Jun 2016-2022   2017-2022 2012-2016
23-Jul 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
23-Aug 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
23-Sep 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
23-Oct 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
23-Nov 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
23-Dec 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
24-Jan 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
24-Feb 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
24-Mar 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
24-Apr 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
24-May 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
24-Jun 2018-2023 2016-2017 2018-2023 2012-2017
24-Jul 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
24-Aug 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
24-Sep 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
24-Oct 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
24-Nov 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
24-Dec 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
25-Jan 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
25-Feb 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
25-Mar 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
25-Apr 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
25-May 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
25-Jun 2019-2024 2016-2018 2019-2024 2013-2018
25-Jul 2020-2025 2016-2019 2020-2025 2014-2019
25-Aug 2020-2025 2016-2019 2020-2025 2014-2019
25-Sep 2020-2025 2016-2019 2020-2025 2014-2019
25-Oct 2020-2025 2016-2019 2020-2025 2014-2019
25-Nov 2020-2025 2016-2019 2020-2025 2014-2019
25-Dec 2020-2025 2016-2019 2020-2025 2014-2019

Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset futures

CME Group is home to the most liquid voluntary carbon market. Access standardized and validated instruments to manage risk in the emerging voluntary carbon emissions market.

All examples in this report are hypothetical interpretations of situations and are used for explanation purposes only. The views in this report reflect solely those of the author and not necessarily those of CME Group or its affiliated institutions. This report and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience.

CME Group is the world’s leading derivatives marketplace. The company is comprised of four Designated Contract Markets (DCMs). 
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