20 July 2023

How economic SDG claims can be impactful in the VCM

Akina Wong

Natural Capital Intern

Torrey Sanseverino

Research Manager, Sustainable Development Goals

9 min

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 8, & 12 address, respectively: poverty; employment growth; and consumption and production. These goals are commonly known as the ‘economic SDGs’. Thus, in the VCM, projects often use them to demonstrate their economic co-benefit impacts. However, it can be difficult to effectively communicate economic co-benefit impacts through SDG claims. SDGs were not designed for the VCM and there are significant country and project data gaps. However, a selection of the SDG 1, 8, & 12 indicators are appropriate for VCM use and can have significant impacts in the VCM.

Key Takeaways:

  • The economic SDG indicators are to some extent appropriate for use at the VCM project scale. As much as 9.5% of the indicators are scalable from national to project scale.

  • Lower Income Countries (LICs) have relatively low progress towards SDG 1 & 8. Therefore, the economic impacts made by carbon projects located in LICs have high potential for additionality.

  • The economic SDGs do not have a significant influence on carbon credit prices compared to other SDG claims. On average, credits with SDG 1 claims lead to a 25% premium compared to any other SDG claim. But, credits with SDG 8 and/or 12 claims have lower prices (0.8% lower, 8.5% lower).

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