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Voluntary Carbon Market

Through the voluntary carbon market (VCM), emission reduction credits (carbon offsets) are sold and bought by private parties in markets that are not government regulated. Buyers of carbon offsets typically include the general public and companies. Though conservation and restoration activities, coastal blue carbon can be measured and sold as carbon offsets on the VCM.

The market for blue carbon offsets is relatively new, however community based blue carbon projects are emerging around the world with the potential to improve economic and environmental conditions, such as has been accomplished Kenya and Madagascar. While scaling and replication is needed to meet the high demand for blue carbon offsets, a good track record using blue carbon to finance project development is being established.

Below are the key questions asked at the initial stages of a VCM project.

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How do you choose a standard to certify your VCM blue carbon project?

To ensure that VCM blue carbon projects deliver promised carbon offsets and are of the highest quality for environmental integrity, socio-economic benefits, and social safeguarding, they are certified through carbon offsetting standards. To date, standards used for certifying blue carbon projects include Plan Vivo and Verra. For more detailed information on how to choose a carbon standard, click the "learn more" button below.

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What legal framework is required to enable a blue carbon project? 

Legal frameworks at the local and national levels allow for VCM projects to be pursued as part of national climate change mitigation efforts, and ensure that they are in synergy with other existing policies and incentive schemes (biodiversity, climate change adaptation, fisheries, etc.).

 

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What guidance exists for finding funding sources to set up a wetland carbon project?

Wetlands have long been the focus of conservation and restoration efforts for over a century, and conservation actors are now increasingly interested to engage in wetland conservation and restoration activities for climate change mitigation. Governments, international actors, including civil society and academia, and local communities face challenges in securing appropriate funding sources to set up a blue carbon project. However, numerous funds and finance mechanisms can provide the needed finance.

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How are communities engaged to ensure sustainable blue carbon project outcomes? 

Informed and empowered communities are vital to ensure effective blue carbon projects. Incorporating social safeguards and equity considerations are required by VCM projects, and can reduce risk and support sustainable and long-term project outcomes. 

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What does the process for planning and managing a blue carbon project entail?

Many proponents are beginning to implement VCM blue carbon conservation and restoration projects. Understanding the challenges to overcome, steps and investment needed to plan and manage a blue carbon project is crucial for replicating successes in Kenya and Madagascar. The first step in planning a blue carbon project is to conduct a feasibility assessment and identify the appropriate location and scale of your project.