Analysis of Carbon Neutrality Programmes in the International Market
Carbon Neutrality is a new concept that lacks a broadly accepted definition. There are diverse definitions and many different carbon neutrality programmes available in the market. The availability of so many diverse definitions and programmes can create confusion about what consumers are buying and whether or not it is of a reasonable level of quality. This thesis's aim was to analyse a selection of programmes from the Carbon Neutrality market to gain a greater understanding of content, process, and criteria that comprise carbon programmes. As there was a lack of literature available on Carbon Neutrality; this thesis developed a series of criteria that were developed from a literature review of the broader literature of environmental. The literature review focused on potential market failures, environmental reporting and eco-labels, which identified issues such as information asymmetry, lack of transparency, and adverse selection. Of the Carbon Neutrality service providers asked to participate in this thesis, the majority declined, as a result two were analysed; The Carbon Neutral Company, and CarbonZero. The analysis showed that the programmes use many, but not all, of the criteria identified by this thesis as necessary to provide accurate and comprehensive Carbon Neutral accreditation. The programmes varied in their definitions of what is Carbon Neutrality. This was illustrated by which sections of their programmes were voluntary and which were mandatory. This thesis came to the conclusion that as an undeveloped market there are issues around what should be included in a programme. The criteria developed by this thesis also have the potential to be used for analysing environmental reporting standards and eco-labels. Furthermore methods of communicating a programme's content and the outcome of CN accreditation varied, exhibiting both positive and negative aspects addressing issues such as information asymmetry and adverse selection.