Introducing CMW

Carbon Market Watch is a not-for-profit association with unique expertise in carbon pricing and a track record of policy work in international organisations and the European Union. Our strengths lie in evidence-based advocacy to improve climate policies, turning complex issues into comprehensible messages, and helping people understand and influence those policies.

What we want to achieve

Carbon Market Watch exists to ensure that carbon pricing and other climate policies cut pollution and drive a just transition towards zero-carbon societies. Given the urgency of halting the climate breakdown, we want market-based climate policies to fulfil their promise and be used in wise combination with regulatory and incentivising measures.

Our key goals

How we work

Evidence-based advocacy is central to our work. We watch critically over the design and implementation of market-based climate policy tools in particular and call out where these underperform, lead to environmental damage or ignore people’s rights. We turn complex issues into a comprehensible language to inform media, policy-makers and civil society organisations. We help people understand and influence climate policies that affect them.

What guides us in our work

We hold by the principle “the polluter pays”. Fair and effective climate policies depend on robust democratic processes. Climate measures need to be implemented in line with universal human rights so that they work for people and the environment. We take responsibility for our own unavoidable carbon footprint through an internal carbon budget and adhere to our values of transparency and democratic governance in our own practices. 

Our channels of influence and partnerships

Carbon Market Watch is an accredited observer at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is registered in the European Union transparency register for interest groups.

We are observers at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as part of civil society groups, namely the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation and the Clean Shipping Coalition.

We contribute to several high-level policy fora and are a member of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC). We work with representatives of governments, the private sector, and civil society to promote effective carbon pricing policies that reduce emissions while encouraging innovation and protecting the rights of those affected.

As a member of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 950 NGOs, we coordinate two working groups, on market mechanisms, and aviation and shipping. We are also a member of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

How we grew to renown

Carbon Market Watch grew out of a decade’s work of scrutinising the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a carbon offsetting programme under the UN’s Kyoto Protocol. In the course of investigating the effects of CDM projects in countries of the Global South, Carbon Market Watch (then called “CDM Watch”) built a cooperation network with community groups across the world.

Steps in the evolution of CMW


Set up as the initiative CDM Watch, hosted by the German Forum for Environment & Development (Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung).


Change of name to Carbon Market Watch and establishment of the not-for profit association Nature Code (in Austria) to host the project.


Change of name of the association to Carbon Market Watch – project and association thus became identical.


The founding director, Eva Filzmoser, handed over to a new Executive Director, Sabine Frank. Set-up of Carbon Market Watch as a Belgian not-for-profit association.

Our most important achievements

Over the years, Carbon Market Watch has successfully advocated for stronger civil society participation in international and EU climate policy-making. In cooperation with partners across the world, Carbon Market Watch has helped trigger major policy changes at the UN and EU level. Our key achievements include:

  • The reduction of loopholes in the Climate Action Regulation (also known as the Effort Sharing Regulation).
  • Leading the international call to end the Clean Development Mechanism and to set up the Paris Agreement Article 6 as a climate financing tool that places sustainable development at its core.
  • Avoiding that global carbon markets become the biggest loophole in the Paris Agreement at COP25 in Madrid.
  • The inclusion of some of our campaign points in the Paris Agreement, such as the recognition of human rights in climate change in its preamble.  
  • The deregistration of the controversial Barro Blanco project from the UN Clean Development Mechanism on the grounds of violations of local communities’ rights. This was the first and so far only time that a CDM project was deregistered after the host country rescinded the project’s letter of approval.
  • The recommendation by the European Parliament’s environment committee in 2017 to stop giving free pollution permits to the cement sector. 

Carbon Market Watch is a Not-for-profit Association registered in Belgium

Donations are welcome!

Would you like to support us in our exciting initiatives? The challenge we face as a non-profit organization is raising enough money to continue our work. Your donation, no matter what size, can help a great deal.

If you can provide such a gift, you can donate by bank transfer using the following details:

Bank name: KBC Bank
IBAN: BE09 7390 1966 7557

Your generosity is hugely appreciated! For every donation, a confirmation of receipt will be sent.

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