What makes a high-quality carbon credit is not a simple question.

Many different criteria must be considered to answer this question and those selected may need to be weighed based on their perceived importance, the context in which the carbon credit is generated and used, and buyer priorities. For example, some criteria, such as addressing the risk of non-permanence, may not be relevant for all types of climate mitigation activities or in all contexts.

The criteria represent the authors' judgment on what aspects of a carbon credit should be considered high quality.

Quality objective
1 Robust determination of the GHG emissions impact


Vulnerability (applicable to collapsed markets only)

Robust quantification of emission reductions and removals

2 Avoiding double counting

Avoiding double issuance

Avoiding double use

Avoiding double claiming

3 Addressing non-permanence

Significance of non-permanence risks

Robustness of approaches for addressing non-permanence risks

4 Facilitating a transition towards net zero emissions

Enhancing adoption of low, zero or negative emissions technologies and practices

5 Strong institutional arrangements

Overall program governance


Public consultation

Robust third-party auditing

6 Environmental and social impacts

Robustness of environmental and social safeguards

Sustainable development impacts of the project or project type

Contribution to improving adaptation and resilience

7 Host country ambition

Commitment to the global temperature goal

Stringency and coverage of the current NDC

Possibility to use part of emission reductions for NDC achievement