About

The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) enables high-integrity voluntary carbon markets which contribute to the goal of the Paris Agreement, bringing benefits for people and the planet.

VCMI Mission

The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) is an international non-profit organization with a mission to enable high-integrity voluntary carbon markets (VCMs) that deliver real and additional benefits to the atmosphere, help protect nature, and accelerate the transition to ambitious, economy-wide climate policies and regulation.

The organization is fully aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement and is committed to a world on track to 1.5 degrees and net zero emissions by mid-century, achieved through a just transition that enhances equality and sustainable development for all.

What we do

VCMI collaborates with stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and governments, to realize the full potential of high-integrity voluntary carbon markets.

It works to foster a shared vision for high-integrity VCMs to make a meaningful contribution to climate action while also supporting the achievement of the UN SDGs. VCMI connects and aligns with, and amplifies, initiatives that share this vision.

On the demand-side, the VCMI Claims Code of Practice is a rulebook on how companies can make voluntary use of carbon credits as part of credible, science-aligned net-zero decarbonization pathways. It builds trust and confidence in how companies engage with VCMs, assisting them in making credible climate claims.

On the supply-side, the VCM Access Strategy Toolkit provides guidance for countries to engage in high-integrity VCMs in support of national climate and economic prosperity.

VCMI’s foundations and funders

VCMI is an independent non-profit organization housed in Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. VCMI was announced by COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma on 31 March 2021, and has received co-funding from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Ballmer Group, the Bezos Earth Fund, Google LLC, the Packard Foundation and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

For more information about its previous and upcoming work, please see the following timeline:

View timeline

Governance

The VCMI governance structure exists to ensure that it incorporates a diverse range of stakeholders from the Global North and the Global South. This includes participation from civil society, academia, government, business and other relevant initiatives focused on high-integrity VCMs. The VCMI governance framework includes:

  • Secretariat – providing a central coordination and programme management function for the VCMI
  • Steering Committee – the high-level decision-making body of VCMI
  • Expert Advisory Group – channeling the technical and legal advice from a diverse array of subject matter experts to the VCMI Steering Committee
  • Country Contact Group – a forum for governments representing both demand and supply-side perspectives, providing insights on VCMI work areas and processes, helping actively shape VCMI’s strategic objectives and outcomes
  • VCMI Stakeholder Forum (to be announced June 28 2023) – a market sounding board capturing views and perspectives from a broad range of VCM participants

Click here for more information about the remit of each group, and a list of staff/members.

Alok Sharma profile picture
Alok Sharma President for COP26

“Voluntary carbon markets can increase finance flows. I am pleased the UK Government is supporting the Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative to help ensure they deliver the greatest benefits for climate, for people and nature.”

Rachel Kyte profile picture
Rachel Kyte Dean of the Fletcher School, Tufts University

“Without clarification — and real enforcement — net zero will become an empty slogan that governments, corporations and investors can use to greenwash emissions as usual.”

Usha Rao-Monari profile picture
Usha Rao-Monari Associate Administrator, UNDP

“Carbon markets hold immense potential for helping the world tackle the climate crisis and accelerate progress across the 2030 Agenda. A robust carbon market relies on climate-credible demand as well as stable and high-integrity supply of carbon credits. Governments are essential partners and can catalyze the generation of real and measurable greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals. UNDP is proud to be partnering with VCMI and Climate Focus on a Toolkit that provides a starting point for policymakers to consider how they engage with voluntary carbon markets as a source of much needed finance to deliver their climate targets.”

Code of Conduct

VCMI Code of Conduct (Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy and Reporting)

This policy statement sets forth the expectations and standards of conduct for Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) staff, the Steering Committee, the Expert Advisory Group and any other VCMI working group members, and contractors with decision-making authority related to the work of VCMI. The integrity of the guidance and recommendations developed by and through VCMI depends on adherence to these ethical standards and related procedures to ensure transparency and avoid any actual or perceived conflicts of interest.

Accordingly, VCMI staff, committee and working group members, and contractors will:

  • Conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner, including the handling of actual or apparent conflict of interest.
  • Ensure, to the best of their ability, that their work and actions comply with applicable government laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Proactively promote ethical behavior among subordinates and peers and encourage a culture where everyone is expected to act responsibly, with due care, without misrepresenting or omitting material facts or allowing independent judgment to be compromised.
  • Promptly report violations of this Code to the VCMI Secretariat. Confidentiality of individuals reporting violations of these standards will be maintained whenever possible. Retaliation against individuals reporting a violation or a potential violation of this policy will not be tolerated.

VCMI staff, committee and working group members, and contractors shall be considered to have a conflict of interest if such an individual (or organization which they represent) has existing or potential financial or other interests which might impair, or reasonably appear to impair, the individual’s independent, unbiased judgment in discharge of his or her responsibilities to VCMI.

All individuals shall disclose to the VCMI Secretariat any possible conflict of interest at the earliest practicable time and recuse themselves from relevant decision-making if the Secretariat determines there is an actual conflict of interest, or the integrity of the process would be best served by recusal. The Secretariat will maintain a registry of identified and reported conflicts to help prevent conflicts and ensure transparency in VCMI’s work.

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