The Treasury Department and other U.S. agencies announced a coordinated federal policy Tuesday concerning carbon credits and other voluntary incentives to encourage businesses and agriculture to cut their carbon footprints.

Excessive carbon emissions from manufacturing, energy production, and agriculture are behind climate change expected to worsen without stronger interventions. The United States and other nations have adopted a goal of being “net zero” in carbon emissions by 2050.

To move toward that goal, a small slice of U.S. businesses have set their own objectives to reduce or eliminate their carbon emissions by a certain time. Some participate in a voluntary carbon market (VCM) as a path to reach their reduction goals.

In a VCM, a company receives a credit for every tonne of carbon dioxide emissions they reduce. Companies can buy and sell credits to suit their need for carbon reduction.

But VCMs have been riddled with carbon-reduction projects that “don’t deliver the positive climate impact they promised,” according to a Treasury press release. Companies have steered clear of VCMs as a result.

The purpose of the agencies’ joint policy statement is to bring more integrity to VCMs and ultimately encourage more companies to participate, the Treasury said.

The 12-page statement urges businesses to have procedures to address the risk of double counting, double registration, double issuance, and double selling of credits and to start with a definite baseline measurement.

The statement follows efforts by other federal agencies to provide guidance about VCMs for their regulated industries. In December, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission proposed guidance about listing voluntary carbon credit derivative contracts.

The policy was directed by the White House and issued by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, and Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy John Podesta.

“Voluntary carbon markets can help unlock the power of private markets to reduce emissions, but that can only happen if we address significant existing challenges,” Yellen said in the Treasury’s release. “The principles released today are an important step toward building high-integrity voluntary carbon markets. This is part of the Biden administration’s ambitious efforts to tackle the climate crisis and accelerate a clean energy transition that benefits all Americans.”