Willingness to pay for carbon offset certification and co-benefits among (high-)flying young adults in the UK
Voluntary carbon offsets represent a growing share of the carbon market as a whole, and have the potential to contribute to meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets and reducing anthropogenic climate change. Certain offset project types may also deliver co-benefits including safeguarding or promoting biodiversity, supporting human development and poverty reduction, and enabling market and technology development in low-carbon sectors. These co-benefits might encourage consumers to participate in the voluntary offset market, depending on their effects both on consumers' willingness to pay (WTP) for offsets and on implementation costs. However, the offset market is not yet sufficiently developed to give a clear indication of consumer WTP for offsets with varying attributes. This exploratory stated preference study therefore uses a choice experiment to estimate WTP for certified and uncertified offsets, with or without these specific co-benefits, in an aviation context. It is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to do so. Our results suggest that uptake of voluntary offsets may be encouraged by investing in projects with co-benefits and by emphasising those co-benefits to consumers. They also suggest that certification regimes will add value to offsets, helping compensate for increased costs, provided that consumers are made fully aware of them.
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