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Commodity Genome Project: The Open-Source Language for Commodity Markets

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A consortium led by Context Labs, the UNFCCC Climate Champions, and Xpansiv today announced the launch of the Commodity Genome Project™ (CGP), an open-source language for commodity markets housed at One Earth, a not-for-profit organization working to accelerate climate action.

The CGP establishes a language for describing commodities’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) footprints—in addition to their physical attributes. The project’s goal is to accelerate the proliferation of sustainable commodity standards by 2030 by creating a common language for describing the comprehensive data profile for any given unit of commodity production. This collective framework will serve as an essential foundation upon which new standards can be built.

By enabling clear comparisons of ESG footprints and ensuring the integrity of product information, the CGP empowers markets to appropriately value the materials at the base of global supply chains. This paradigm shift in commodity valuation can potentially redirect trillions of dollars toward regenerative production practices.

The CGP was created as a public good, and participants are collaborating to define new digital ESG-inclusive commodities and price signals. Available without charge and license-free, the CGP welcomes contributions—this is a collective effort designed to contribute to the global commons, empowering a better future for us all.

“Commodities markets were created when natural resources seemed infinite and there was little data to differentiate one commodity from another,” said Nigel Topping, UN High Level Champion for COP26. “As a result, global markets broadly treat commodities the same, regardless of provenance, context, or impact. The CGP supports an evolution in the way the world values everything.”

We now know that commodities are not sourced and created equally. The “footprints” of a ton of concrete, a bushel of corn, or a barrel of oil vary significantly depending on land, labor, energy, water, and other essential inputs. For example, innovations in steel and concrete manufacturing can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%, and the GHG-intensity of a barrel of crude oil can be 12 times higher depending on its field of origin and emissions during production, processing, and transport.

“The total value of commodity markets—the food, fuel, and materials we consume—is approximately $20 trillion per year,” said Curtis Ravenel, Senior Advisor to Mark Carney, COP26 Finance Advisor and UN Special Envoy. “The CGP is a lingua franca for anyone working to create digitized, regenerative commodity markets, unlocking enormous potential to make measurable progress toward increasingly ambitious climate goals.”

“An open-source description framework is the substrate from which new standards are created,” said Digital Asset Founder and CEO Yuval Rooz. “The CGP doesn’t dictate what constitutes good or bad production practices, or whether a commodity’s footprint has a high or low intensity. Instead, it provides a common language for others to do so. This helps accelerate the emerging ecosystem of new standards and accounting practices.”

Comprehensive ESG profiles can be used to establish new industry benchmarks and define sustainable production practices, empowering market participants to share, register, transact, and ultimately retire ESG-oriented information, certifications, and other derived assets.

Dan Harple, Internet Pioneer, Founder & CEO at Context Labs said: "This consortium has come together at COP26 to promote an open-source approach to removing impediments to data exchange in the world's oldest market—commodities. We hope to empower a shift in the way we value commodities as we accelerate the transition to a net-zero future.”

“Building on proven digital migrations in other economic sectors, the CGP helps us close the ESG information gap,” said Jonty Rushforth, Senior Director at S&P Global Platts. “It is open-source and extensible, laying the foundation for a scalable system of impact accounting. That starts with immediate targets such as methane and carbon intensity and will eventually include elements such as worker rights and community co-benefits. By providing a common language for evolving the concept of ESG value, the CGP will accelerate the transition to regenerative commodity markets.”

The CGP empowers supply chains and markets to differentiate and value commodities according to how they’re produced, driving capital toward commodities that reflect desirable ESG-oriented attributes—including those outlined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In turn, accurate price signals and greater liquidity will accelerate advances in environmental monitoring systems, smart contracts, standards and certification organizations, and sustainability-reporting frameworks. This digital ESG value chain can collectively spur the data-driven transformation of global markets.

“This is the first in a series of announcements,” said Xpansiv CEO Joe Madden. “We are working with major market participants to deploy and expand the CGP description framework in real-market settings.”

Please visit commoditygenomeproject.org to subscribe for further updates and news.

About UNFCCC Climate Champions

The UN High Level Champions for Climate Action from Chile and UK—Gonzalo Munoz and Nigel Topping— build on the legacy of their predecessors to engage with non-state actors and activate the “ambition loop” with national governments. Their work is fundamentally designed to encourage a collaborative shift across all of society toward a decarbonised economy, so we can all thrive in a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon world. Gonzalo and Nigel have convened a team to help them deliver on this work through flagship campaigns, targeted stakeholder engagement, and leadership in systems transformation. Racetozero.unfccc.int

About OneEarth

One Earth is a philanthropic organization working to accelerate collective action to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5°C. The solutions for the climate crisis already exist, and the latest science shows we can achieve the 1.5°C goal through three pillars of action—a shift to 100% renewable energy by 2050, protection and restoration of half of the world’s lands and oceans, and a transition to regenerative, climate-friendly agriculture. To achieve these goals, we must rapidly scale philanthropic capital to meet critical funding gaps over the coming decade. OneEarth.org

About Xpansiv

Xpansiv is the global marketplace for ESG-inclusive commodities. These Intelligent Commodities bring transparency and liquidity to markets, empowering participants to value energy, carbon, and water to meet the challenges of an information-rich, resource-constrained world. The company’s main business units include CBL, the largest spot exchange for ESG commodities, including carbon, renewable energy certificates, and Digital Natural Gas™; H2OX, the leading spot exchange for water in Australia; XSignals, which provides end-of-day and historical market data; and EMA, the leading multi-registry portfolio management system for all ESG-inclusive commodities. Xpansiv is the digital nexus where ESG and price signals merge. Xpansiv.com

About Context Labs

Context Labs provides solutions for customers who demand trusted provenance in their data, tracked veracity through the data’s supply chain of use, and a requirement for trusted insights. Its purpose is to provide the world’s trusted data-fabric platform for asset-grade data, using its Immutably Data Fabric platform, deploying machine learning, and AI-driven asset grade analytics, for context-driven insights. With its subsidiary company, Spherical|Analytics, it is dedicated to sourcing, organizing, and contextualizing the world’s ESG information, enabling data to become trusted, shared, and utilized as asset grade data (AGD) to provide insights and solutions through asset grade analytics (AGA) that informs markets. ContextLabs.com

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Contact information

Alex Joss, COP26 Lead for Technology & Innovation: alexjoss@climatechampions.team

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