The company that runs the world’s largest carbon offset exchange, Xpansiv, is headed for an IPO on the Australian Stock ­Exchange.​ ​Xpansiv creates, trades and manages ESG commodities in carbon, energy, water and fuels. Backers include Macquarie, Aware Super, the government’s CEFC, CBA, BP Ventures and S&P Global Ventures.

Given global interest, Xpansiv’s choice of Australia for its first listing might seem odd. But the pair who built the core business, the platform CBL, from scratch and bootstrapped it over 10 years are Aussies.​ ​If anything Ben Stuart and Nathan Rockliff were ahead of their time. The early years building up CBL were a grind.​ ​The last two years have changed everything. Companies suddenly faced with net zero commitments are looking for carbon offsets and how to trade them.​ ​

The voluntary carbon market, which trades offsets generated from renewable projects around the world, is ballooning.​ ​“We are like the picks and shovels of ESG,” says Stuart.

“If you want to demonstrate your credentials in this space and you’ve got a net zero commitment, you need to buy offsets in some cases to be able to meet that, or you need to buy methane performance certificates.” The Mark Carney-initiated Taskforce for Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets puts the potential size of the carbon offset market at $US180bn ($250bn) by 2030. 

In 2021 CBL carbon credit volumes passed 120 million tonnes, a 288 per cent increase on the previous year, with a value of $US550m.