Leading voluntary carbon market initiatives join forces to operationalize a high-integrity market to accelerate global climate action

(London, 20 June 2023) Ahead of the “Summit for a New Global Financial Pact” to be held in Paris on 22nd and 23rd June, the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) and the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), representing key stakeholders in the voluntary carbon market (VCM), announce their joint commitment to ensuring investors in the voluntary carbon market can invest confidently in high-integrity credits as part of comprehensive end-to-end climate strategies.

With plans underway for coordinated launches of new standards throughout 2023, the shared aim of the organizations is to operationalize a high-integrity voluntary carbon market that the private sector can invest in as a critical complement to corporate efforts to rapidly decarbonize value chains.

The VCMI and IC-VCM collaboration is one of several ongoing efforts aimed at establishing an integrated market integrity framework to ensure quality, transparency, credibility, and accountability for the VCM across the value chain.

Their coordinated work will define best practice and credibility with regards to both the use and sourcing of high-integrity credits by companies.

As VCMI and IC-VCM release new standards and guidance in 2023 and beyond, they will consistently reinforce that investments in the voluntary carbon market must be supplementary to well established best practice corporate climate strategy, accounting and target setting standards and approaches. These include the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the Science Based Targets initiative, CDP’s reporting platform and We Mean Business Coalition’s 4As of Climate Leadership.

New convergent industry standards due to be launched this year include; the VCMI Claims Code of Practice, due out June 28; the ICVCM Core Carbon Principles (CCP) Category-level Announcement, due in the coming weeks, and the first assessment decisions and labels for CCP-approved carbon credits later in 2023.

By coordinating their expertise, resources, and influence, the ICVCM and VCMI are creating a strong foundation for a high-integrity VCM by building trust among market participants and key stakeholders, including corporates, investors, governments, civil society and Indigenous Peoples and local communities in emerging markets.

The work of the ICVCM and VCMI will set an integrated market integrity framework that will help companies play their part in getting the world on track to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C by focusing on crucial elements, including:

  • Emphasizing that companies must prioritize decarbonizing their value chain through investments in technology such as clean energy, transport and industrial processes alongside conservation of natural ecosystems.
  • Clarifying the complementary role of high-integrity credits in a credible corporate climate strategy through clear guidelines which will continue to be enhanced as new guidance emerges. The Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) and VCMI Claims Code of Practice set global standards that create real, verifiable climate impact, based on the latest science and best practice.
  • Promoting commitment to quantified, independently verified science-based emissions reduction targets in line with the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and the 1.5-degree pathway, enhanced reporting requirements, disclosure mechanisms, and providing clear guidelines on the use of high-quality carbon credits on the way to net zero.

Science shows that investments in high quality carbon credits, when used by companies as a complement to their science-based internal decarbonization efforts, can help accelerate efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. They also unlock finance for urgently needed climate solutions that would not otherwise be viable.

Annette Nazareth, Chair of the Governing Board of the ICVCM, said: “We have a shared vision of end-to-end high integrity throughout the voluntary carbon market, from the supply of credits, to the markets they trade in, and ultimately how they are used. We are joining forces to create a high-integrity VCM that delivers real impact at speed and scale. By building an effective, trusted market, we can unlock investment and exponentially increase the positive impact it creates.”

Rachel Kyte, Co-Chair, VCMI commented, “It is essential that companies have clarity and consistency in how they can credibly use high-quality carbon credits and how this fits into their broader decarbonization strategies. What is needed is clear guidance, policy direction and a focus on quality. This collaboration will deliver a robust voluntary climate action framework that companies can follow, with the forthcoming launch of VCMI’s Claims Code of Practice a critical part of this, alongside the important work to raise the bar on corporate climate action from other organizations.”

Driving integrity in voluntary carbon markets for climate resilience & a sustainable future

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