Carbon credit retailers

Last changed: 30 January 2023
Money and trees

This guide helps you as a retailer to identify key issues that are important to make carbon forestry projects contribute to positive benefits for local populations.

Carbon forestry projects usually communicate all the good things about their results and gloss over potential problems - projects may sound perfect when described on webpages, in Project Design Documents or other materials. Even if you rely on standards and certifications, these are not all-encompassing. Also, since contexts are complex, standards cannot guarantee that the project brings benefits to local communities. Therefore, the questions in this guide are still relevant.

Avoid calling the selling of carbon forestry credits ‘carbon offsetting’ as this term is seriously questioned by science. Advise your customers that carbon forestry investments should never be replacing possible emission reductions, and that they should not call their products “carbon neutral” or “climate positive” as a result of offsetting.


This guide can be used in addition to standards. For example, the questions could guide the assessment of Project Design Documents/Project Description Templates, or when evaluating which projects to include or continue supporting. Also, you could expect offset buyers to ask these questions about your projects – so be prepared to answer them.
Warning signs point to great risks for negative local impacts. You should not include projects that raise warning flags in your portfolio without investigating them further.

Click on one of these five themes to see the guide:
  1. Understanding the local context
  2. Land use and access for local populations
  3. Degradation/deforestation
  4. Socio economic opportunities and risks for local populations
  5. Power relations including participation

Instead of investing in potentially problematic projects you can focus your money and energy on lowering your own emissions through means you have perhaps not considered yet. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) gives some ideas on this page. Another very important action you can take is to get engaged in a civil society organisation or in a political party and show that you are among those who want action on climate change to happen.



Scientific References