24 November 2022

Interpreting SDG claims in voluntary carbon projects

Cara Howse

Research Analyst

Torrey Sanseverino

Research Associate, Natural Capital

Dr Nick Atkinson

Chief Science Officer

10 min

Claims of impact towards UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are made by approximately half of projects in the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) to represent non-carbon project benefits. However, scaling the SDG framework, which was designed for national level reporting, to the project level is challenging. For some of the SDGs, weaknesses in the framework would have to be resolved for their effective application at subnational scale. Buyers should exercise due diligence when purchasing carbon credits with associated SDG claims. 

Click here to download the full report

Key Takeaways:

1. VCM projects with SDG claims are increasingly purchased. However, these claims are not consistently verified

2. The SDG framework is designed to operate at a country level. This introduces complications for application at the individual VCM project level.

3. Caution is required in interpreting SDG claims attached to VCM projects, particularly in the context of meeting corporate ESG targets.

To sign up to updates from BeZero Carbon, including ratings, events and insights, click here.

Read more from BeZero Carbon:

28 October 2022
Time to rethink biodiversity: SDG 14 & 15
22 September 2022
Mapping the SDG declarations lifecycle
20 June 2022
Can carbon and biodiversity outcomes be delivered from the same project?