U.S. publishes 7 principles for voluntary carbon market participation

Joint policy statement on the voluntary carbon market

The Biden-Harris Administration has released a joint policy statement and 7 principles for responsible participation in voluntary carbon markets. Co-signed a number of leading figures including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the move reinforces this government’s commitment to advancing the responsible development of VCMs and credible climate action.


The seven Principles for Responsible Participation in voluntary carbon markets (VCMs)

The Administration’s Principles for Responsible Participation announced in May 2024 deliver on this need for action to help VCMs achieve their potential. The seven principles are:

  1. Carbon credits and the activities that generate them should meet credible atmospheric integrity standards and represent real decarbonisation.
  2. Credit-generating activities should avoid environmental and social harm and should, where applicable, support co-benefits and transparent and inclusive benefits-sharing.
  3. Corporate buyers that use credits should prioritize measurable emissions reductions within their own value chains.
  4. Credit users should publicly disclose the nature of purchased and retired credits.
  5. Public claims by credit users should accurately reflect the climate impact of retired credits and should only rely on credits that meet high integrity standards.
  6. Market participants should contribute to efforts that improve market integrity.
  7. Policymakers and market participants should facilitate efficient market participation and seek to lower transaction costs.


Remarks by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen 

In a recent speech, Secretary Yellen spoke about the United States international just energy transition partnerships and the evolution of the multi-lateral development banks so they are better equipped to help countries address global challenges including climate. She also stressed the importance of “using all the tools at our disposal creatively, thoughtful and at scale”.

According to Secretary Yellen: “I believe harnessing the power of markets and private capital is critical and this includes efforts to grow high integrity voluntary carbon markets”.

“High integrity VCMs offer significant potential economic and climate opportunities. They can enable buyers to source costs effective credits from different technologies, ecosystems and geographies and they can channel capital towards the most effective climate solutions.”

“Today VCMs are relatively small but these markets have the potential to support significant decarbonisation if we address some key challenges.”

Watch the full speech below.


Looking to access VCMs? 

If you’re looking to participate in voluntary carbon markets, contact our Corporate Solutions team.