Exploring the market for voluntary carbon offsets


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London: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)


This paper explores the potential for financing small-scale high-benefit sustainable development projects through the voluntary and retail sector of the carbon market. Through a literature review and interviews with offset retailers and buyers from the private sector, the non-profit sector and government, the paper looks at how the voluntary and retail sectors fit into the overall carbon market; who the main buyers and sellers are; what motivates buyers to voluntarily purchase carbon offsets; and how this market can be further developed. The aim is to consolidate information on the voluntary and retail sectors in order to help potential buyers to understand the market and to provide a starting point for those on the supply side to discuss strategies for further developing the market.



Carbon sequestration, Marketing and trade, World markets, Sustainable development, Payments for environmental services, Climate control, Markets, Climate change, Carbon markets, Carbon offsets, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Market development, Voluntary market, Retail market, Co-benefits


Markets for Environmental Services 8