Urban Forests and Carbon Markets: Buyers’ Perspectives
Currently, carbon credit prices frequently do not reflect the type and location of offset projects. Because of the social image and ancillary benefits, buyers may place higher value on credits sourced from certain types of projects such as urban forestry. This study surveyed carbon credit buyers participating in the Chicago Climate Exchange to assess their preferences for credits from various offset projects. Specifically, it evaluated the desirability of carbon credits sourced from urban forestry projects and analyzed buyers’ preferences, motivations, and attitudes toward a price premium for credits from urban forests. Results indicate that the buyers are largely interested in knowing the type and location of offset projects. Locally generated credits were strongly preferred to those produced farther away, and credits sourced from urban forestry projects were more desirable than those sourced from other common projects currently in the market, such as methane capture or agriculture. Buyers indicated environmental and social benefits, offset quality, environmental responsibility, and public image as motivations for preferring credits sourced from urban forestry projects, for which they were also willing to pay a modest price premium. Furthermore, significant differences in preferences and willingness to pay were observed between buyers with different corporate goals, emission levels, and geographical scope of operation.