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VCM Access Strategy Toolkit

The VCM Access Strategy Toolkit provides guidance for countries to engage in high-integrity voluntary carbon markets (VCMs) in support of national climate and economic prosperity.

About the Toolkit

Developed in partnership with Climate Focus and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Toolkit sets out key considerations for host countries to aid decisions on whether, why, how, and when to engage with VCMs.


Corporate commitments to climate targets are rising steeply, with that, demand for high-quality carbon credits from credible projects. This Toolkit aims to help governments create an enabling environment to unlock this growing demand while maximising the benefits of thriving, high-integrity VCMs for their country.



The VCM Access Strategy Toolkit is available in full, or as separate decision sheets in printable format:

Decision Sheets:

  1. Deciding whether to engage in voluntary carbon markets.
  2. Nationally determined contribution (NDC) financing and voluntary carbon markets.
  3. The role of carbon markets in achieving NDC goals.
  4. Legal and institutional matters 
  5. Ensuring high-integrity carbon market activities

The VCM Strategy Toolkit will be available to download in the following languages soon: Español, Português, Français.

Read the Toolkit launch press release here:

Mark Kenber profile picture
Mark Kenber Executive Director, VCMI

“As it stands, few counties have clear strategies for engaging effectively with voluntary carbon markets. The launch of the VCM Access Strategy Toolkit continues our work of supporting host countries to access high-integrity VCMs, helping them to make the right decisions for them, and empowering them to reap the myriad of environmental, social and economic benefits that carbon finance offers.”

Charlotte Streck profile picture
Charlotte Streck Director, Climate Focus

“The VCM Access Strategy Toolkit guides policy makers harnessing voluntary carbon markets to support the achievement of their climate and development goals. The increasing interest in carbon markets results in a flurry of requests from project developers and investors to support carbon market activities, which often overwhelm local officials with little relevant experience or expertise. At the same time, host country officials know that carbon markets provide significant opportunities to channel foreign investment and they want their countries to maximize those benefits while avoiding risks. The Toolkit gives policymakers a foundation to engage with carbon markets confidently and effectively.”

Usha Rao-Monari profile picture
Usha Rao-Monari Associate Administrator, UNDP

“Carbon markets hold immense potential for helping the world tackle the climate crisis and accelerate progress across the 2030 Agenda. A robust carbon market relies on climate-credible demand as well as stable and high-integrity supply of carbon credits. Governments are essential partners and can catalyze the generation of real and measurable greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals. UNDP is proud to be partnering with VCMI and Climate Focus on a Toolkit that provides a starting point for policymakers to consider how they engage with voluntary carbon markets as a source of much needed finance to deliver their climate targets.”

About the VCM Access Strategy program

VCMI seeks to engage host countries and regions to facilitate participation in VCMs in ways which maximize the environmental, social, and economic benefits that carbon finance can bring.

Through the first phase of the VCM Access Strategies program, VCMI offered support to policymakers to access high-integrity VCMs and channel finance into priority sectors. Delivered in partnership with Climate Focus and UNDP, the VCM Access Strategies program engaged an initial set of host countries from June 2021 to November 2022.

The program took a country-specific perspective, considering prior experiences, national circumstances and existing carbon finance mechanisms and infrastructure. This included providing information and supporting stakeholder engagement to inform decision-making on how to direct investment from VCMs into mitigation action and align VCMs with other financial instruments to deliver national climate and economic priorities.

The first output of this program, based on feedback gathered during this first phase, is the VCM Access Strategy Toolkit.

For updates on the program and Toolkit, please subscribe to the VCMI newsletter.

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