Assessing the transparency and integrity of benefit sharing arrangements related to voluntary carbon market projects

This study takes a first step in evaluating how benefit sharing arrangements are treated in the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) and how they are being implemented. The study assesses different aspects of benefit sharing agreements, including:

  • Any (emerging) requirements related to benefit sharing agreements in the VCM;
  • How high the level of transparency of the information reported on benefit sharing is, especially with regard to the provision of evidence of actual implementation; and
  • What the overall integrity and fairness of VCM-related benefit sharing arrangements is, with a view to understanding what portion of monetary and non-monetary benefits are actually flowing to local stakeholders and whether this portion is fair.

The study first reviews the existing literature and rules in the VCM in order to develop a common understanding on how benefit sharing is defined both in theory and the extent to which carbon crediting programmes and initiatives in the VCM require the inclusion of benefit sharing in practice. This is followed by an evaluation of a sample of project design documents (PDDs) and other project documentation to evaluate how such arrangements are being implemented. A discussion on how benefit sharing is applied in the VCM is provided before some concluding remarks and recommendations for future research.


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Sienna Healy



Carbon Market Watch