Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) said on May 9 it had launched a nature-based solutions carbon credit futures contract to help bring price signals to the voluntary carbon market.

Nature-based solution (NBS) carbon credits can be generated through schemes such as planting trees, agricultural projects or protecting forests that would otherwise be destroyed.

“The NBS future is our first contract specifically designed to measure the carbon sequestration and storage capabilities of nature, which we hope will be an important valuation tool to conserve and grow the world’s natural capital base,” Gordon Bennett, managing director of utility markets at ICE, said in a statement.

The ICE NBS futures contract for expiry in December 2022 traded at $11.25 per tonne by 1109 GMT, ICE website data showed.

Many global companies such as oil major Shell have pledged to reach net-zero emissions, and said they will seek to use some nature-based credits, to help compensate for emission reductions they are unable to cut from their operations.

“The launch of the ICE Nature-Based Solutions Carbon Credit Future is another important milestone in bringing more transparency and scale to the voluntary carbon market,” Bill McGrath, Shell’s general manager for global environmental products said in the ICE statement.

The new contract was also welcomed by several other companies such as trading houses Trafigura and Vitol.

The contract includes carbon credits that have been verified by non-profit group Verra.