23 March 2023

Eye for detail: buyers want to know the evidence behind SDG claims

Louisa Ruck

Ratings Ops Analyst

Phoebe Bracken

Ratings Ops Analyst

Torrey Sanseverino

Research Associate

Dr Nick Atkinson

Chief Science Officer

10 min

According to the literature, project co-benefits influence buyers’ credit purchases. However, there is little existing research on buyer preferences regarding SDG claims. This report details the results of interviews with buyers about how they interpret and utilise project SDG claims. We find that buyers prefer projects with a depth of information behind SDG claims, rather than a breadth of SDGs without detailed underlying information. However, buyers noted several challenges regarding accessing such information about voluntary carbon projects. 

More transparency is needed to connect buyers to the detailed information they are looking for. Assessing SDG claims can be challenging due to the complexity and dynamic nature of co-benefits. Nevertheless, analytical tools for co-benefits could encourage integrity in the market.

Key Takeaways:

1. Buyers consistently expressed interest in co-benefits in the carbon credits they purchase, and take time to compare and research co-benefit claims.

2. How claims are presented and the depth of information regarding the monitoring of their impacts was influential in buyers' decision-making processes.

3. Buyers identified several challenges when trying to assess co-benefit claims’ integrity, such as a lack of reporting standards, data quantity and co-benefit fungibility. 

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