Voluntary standards represent an increasingly important tool for stimulating climate-friendly market growth. The inter-jurisdictional reach and flexibility of voluntary standards makes them particularly promising tools for leveraging market forces in the global context. Recent activity suggests particular potential to use voluntary instruments to promote climate change mitigation in forestry and agriculture.
The degree to which this potential will be realized depends upon factors ranging from the direct impacts of voluntary standards on climate change mitigation to the relationship those standards have with developing-country producers and sustainable livelihoods. Given the diverse characteristics of product carbon footprinting and sustainable-management and voluntary carbon-offset standards, mitigation gains appear possible through crossfertilization of approaches.