Increasing net-zero commitments by individuals, companies and governments have been accompanied by the growth of the voluntary offset market, including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Technologies, notably blockchain, are starting to enter the REDD+ space, and may have the potential to address issues such as additionality, permanence, leakage and property and community rights. In this Perspective we first examine voluntary markets and the role forest carbon offsets have played within them, highlighting the evolution of REDD+ and the issues that have hindered its development. We then examine the potential of blockchain to address each of the issues, using literature and emerging experience from the use of blockchain in forestry space. We find that the technology may have the potential to improve verifiability and reduce transaction costs, and to a lesser degree aid in addressing additionality and permanence concerns. However, greater learning from the emerging use of blockchain in pilot projects is needed to fully assess and maximise its potential.
|Accepted/In press - 31 Mar 2022