Environmental Market Rankings 2023-2024

Navigating the finance-policy nexus

Fiona Oliver-Glasford, Robyn Gray and Kate Hullah of ClearBlue Markets explain how the company is expanding its offerings and adapting to changing client needs as compliance carbon markets expand and the universe of sectors tapping into compliance and voluntary markets grow.

Environmental Finance: How are you helping companies in the carbon compliance space?

Fiona Oliver-Glasford Fiona Oliver-Glasford: ClearBlue has been helping companies facing carbon compliance obligations for decades. When a compliance programme is first established in a jurisdiction, companies often need help understanding the programme and creating a strategy for how they can confidently and effectively implement their obligations.

This nexus between finance and policy in carbon markets is ClearBlue Markets' area of expertise and is why we have become a trusted advisor for hundreds of clients.

ClearBlue's role in carbon markets is to help clients develop a clear strategy for managing a compliance position with minimised compliance costs through scenario assessment, efficient market execution, avoidance of unnecessary penalties, an assessment of revenues to be generated, and robust risk management.

ClearBlue also supports facilities generating carbon credits within the programmes to optimise the value of their position through strategic management, scenario assessment and transaction support. ClearBlue's risk management services provide entities with the ability to both realise and maximise their opportunities in the carbon market by identifying, assessing, prioritising, and mitigating carbon price risks such as policy or market changes and reputational issues that create uncertainty on a company's objectives.

EF: How have the needs of your industrial and compliance market clients evolved in recent years?

Robyn GrayRobyn Gray: In jurisdictions where carbon markets have existed for some time, our clients are becoming more sophisticated with their questions and the depth of analysis they require. We also see them making more links between the carbon compliance programmes and the possibilities for their company, such as taking a more holistic approach to assessing opportunities within their value chain.

Where carbon markets are being introduced or are still nascent, companies seem quicker to realise they need assistance navigating policies and developing effective strategies. Put another way, companies recognise sooner that having carbon obligation expertise from third parties is extremely beneficial. More are coming to us before running into potholes.

For example, as the political landscape develops across North America, the space can be harder to navigate while at the same time, the layering of policies can lead to multiple opportunities for industrial emitters to benefit from their decarbonisation strategies. In this case, one programme may not hold a significant benefit, while another programme does.

ClearBlue's expertise across the diverse political landscape and funding opportunities enables our clients to see the full potential of the projects under consideration.

EF: How has ClearBlue adapted to these changing needs?

RG: ClearBlue's work for compliance entities has been customer-centric since our inception. We work closely with clients over the long term to understand and support their businesses' carbon market needs. We recognised that with our clients' increasing sophistication, they became more curious and capable of running their own scenarios off the data and reports ClearBlue provides and diving deeper into the analysis. This led us to develop our Vantage carbon intelligence platform.

Since its launch last year, ClearBlue has enhanced Vantage with an evolving suite of robust position management tools. Position manager tools create dynamic visualisations to run decarbonisation scenarios and provide reporting insights toward strategic resource decisions.

EF: What types of companies can benefit from ClearBlue's Position Managers?

Kate HullahKate Hullah: ClearBlue has position management tools for compliance entities in the North American and EU markets, shipping companies in the EU, and companies participating in the voluntary markets towards climate ambition goals.

Given the complex global context for carbon markets, where we see more compliance markets, an uptick in the voluntary market and a convergence between the two markets, in combination with elevated scrutiny about all environmental work, the time is right for ClearBlue's newest position manager tool – for industrial clients.

ClearBlue's Industrial Position Manager provides any type of company regulated under an industrial emitter programme in one or more jurisdictions – such as steel, cement, food manufacturers, mining companies, etc., with a central place to effectively track, implement and manage their portfolio. The Industrial Position Manager can support those looking to improve their understanding of their compliance obligations and credit generation potential and consider the impacts of strategic credit management and decarbonisation plans.

EF: How does the Industrial Position Manager tool work?

KH: As with our other Position Manager tools, ClearBlue's Industrial Position Manager provides a comprehensive overview of your carbon compliance position—what you've procured to date and your progress against targets, budget, and remaining financial exposure. It equips you with insights into future pricing, supply, and demand to support flexible and dynamic strategic planning and efficient reporting.

The Industrial Position Manager integrates relevant emissions by scope and carbon credit data into one user-friendly interface. Facility forecasts under industrial emitter programmes are visualised and can be compared against strategies under consideration to facilitate decision-making and contemplating the financial impact of decarbonisation projects through the lens of the compliance programmes under which the industrial emitters are covered.

This saves time and enables all stakeholders to quickly access a snapshot of your position and contribute to internal reporting related to compliance obligations.

The Industrial Position Manager also serves up quarterly risk reports to clients via our Vantage platform and subsequently makes them accessible at any time to that client.

Quarterly risk reports can be used by those responsible for managing a carbon compliance obligation within a company and can be shared with senior leadership for optimising their position.

ClearBlue is continuing to develop these tools by adding market coverage and will provide global companies with the ongoing ability to manage their carbon portfolios across borders and programmes so that they can best optimise their planning.

EF: How are you seeing industrial clients use this information to date?

FG: With the rising carbon price, ClearBlue is seeing more discussions around the next steps with industrial emitters, whether that includes decarbonisation assessments, funding opportunities, or strategic position management.

ClearBlue's Advisory group helps our clients navigate the regulatory considerations that impact how projects translate to emission reductions. Strategic position management can be developed under varying industrial emitter programmes while connecting the dots with funding and potential opportunities under complementary policies.

These discussions primarily focus on the financial impact of decisions. ClearBlue assists companies at different stages by providing clear financial comparisons between their usual business scenarios and available options. This enables effective decision-making, with ongoing support throughout the process.

Fiona Oliver-Glasford is chief revenue officer, Robyn Gray is vice president, advisory and Kate Hullah is manager, advisory at ClearBlue Markets.

For more information see: clearbluemarkets.com