Discredited: The Voluntary Carbon Market in India

The event is complete

The global voluntary carbon market (VCM) sector has exploded in recent years, and India has been an integral part of this boom. The country has become the world’s second-largest source of carbon offsets in the voluntary carbon market. As of June 2023, over 1,400 projects are registered or are under various stages of consideration in the two major crediting programmes -- Verra and Gold Standard. Indian projects account for one-fifth of the total carbon credits issued under these two programmes.

But this boom brings with it a strong whiff of fraud, finds a new investigative report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Down To Earth. ‘Discredited: Does the Voluntary Carbon Market Benefit People and Climate in India?’ begins by asking some fundamental questions: does VCM help in the reduction of global GHG emissions? Does it guarantee financial benefits to carbon-sequestering communities and sectors which would otherwise not get financing?

With its focus on the supply side of VCM – projects on the ground that are doing the heavy lifting of carbon avoidance or sequestration, while companies abroad buy credits and claim their net zero targets – the CSE-DTE investigation has zeroed in on hundreds of projects in Verra and Gold Standard’s registries and communicated with their developers. The investigation team also visited close to 40 locations in four Indian states for an on-ground assessment, speaking to project developers, farmers, rural households, activists, and local NGOs.

The team’s expose is an eye-opener: it shows how there are no rules in this market which is under a shroud of secrecy and opaque at best. Join us on October 5, to hear about the findings from the project team, and the proposed way ahead.


Sukanya Nair
+91 88168 18864



Discredited: The Voluntary Carbon Market in India
DTE cover story
A Forensic Dive Into Carbon Trade
Webinar recording
Press release
Voluntary carbon market is not benefitting people or planet, might in fact be leading to more emissions – says new CSE investigation
Discredited: The Voluntary Carbon Market in India
A CSE - Down to Earth investigation
Director General
Programme Manager
Climate Change, CSE
Programme Officer
Climate Change, CSE
Senior Reporter
Down To Earth
CSE and Down To Earth invite you to a webinar to understand how this shadowy, dark world operates, and what it means for all of us. October 5. Block the date in your diary.