– On 28th June the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) will launch an operable Claims Code for corporate buyers looking for guidance on credible voluntary use of carbon credits
– Following the launch of the Code in June, additional modules will be added between July and November to facilitate use of the Code and allow for implementation of public VCMI Claims using the Code
– VCMI continues to work closely with its Steering Committee, Expert Advisory Group and other standards groups and stakeholders to bring a broader market perspective to the initiative and guide ongoing work
2nd May 2023, London – The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) has today announced the timeline for publishing its Claims Code of Practice.
Following the launch of its provisional Claims Code in June 2022 and subsequent comprehensive public consultation and road-testing, VCMI will bring an operable Claims Code of Practice to market on 28th June 2023.
As an independent, international initiative, VCMI is focused on establishing high-integrity VCMs (Voluntary Carbon Markets) which make a significant, measurable, and positive contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement goals while also promoting inclusive, sustainable development.
VCMI’s Claims Code of Practice has been developed to give buyers of carbon credits confidence and clarity in their use and associated claims. It provides guidance on when and under what circumstances companies can credibly make voluntary use of carbon credits as well as what companies can credibly claim about this use (as part of their broader decarbonisation strategies).
Since the launch of its provisional Claims Code, VCMI has been working with multiple global stakeholders, its Steering-Committee and Expert Advisory Group to develop the Code – to reflect the broadest possible market perspective.
Timeline for the Claims Code of Practice
There will be two moments in 2023 when information related to the Code will be published:
June: an operable Claims Code of Practice
In June, VCMI will launch an operable Claims Code. This will form the core elements of the Code. This will be useable by companies that are ready to demonstrate climate leadership, by putting the foundations in place for high integrity use of carbon credits.
The core elements of the Code will include guidance on the foundational criteria that organisations will need to meet in order to be aligned with the Paris Agreement. The foundational criteria include, among others, publicly committing to a science-aligned long-term net-zero target no later than 2050, setting and making public interim reduction targets, and publicly disclosing a climate transition plan or equivalent climate action plan or strategy.
November: companies to make public VCMI Claims
While the Code released in June will be operable and companies can commence using it, a number of additional modules will be released by November that will provide further user information, templates, and guidance. These will also provide a greater range of VCMI Claims. From November, companies will be able to publicly announce their VCMI Claims using the Code. The VCMI Claims process will be supported by a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system or ‘assurance’ process. This will provide clarity to organisations on what is required of them in order to make a VCMI Claim.
There will be no changes to the core elements of the Code released in June, but these additional modules will help to drive credible corporate use of high quality carbon credits.
More information about the precise content of each release will be communicated at the time of launch.
VCMI will be convening a Stakeholder Forum to gather market perspectives from a broad range of stakeholders on clarity and operability of the Claims Code, and provide input on subsequent modules.
VCMI will release an open call for Expression of Interest for the VCMI Stakeholder Forum in the coming days.
Working in collaboration
VCMI has worked closely with other standards bodies including the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM), which recently released its Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) to provide guidance on the quality and supply of carbon credits. VCMI has also worked with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) which establishes scientific baselines for emission reductions.
Together these organizations provide a wide mix of stakeholders including project developers, governments, and carbon credit buyers end-to-end guidance on what constitutes high integrity VCMs.
Rachel Kyte, Co-Chair of VCMI’s Steering Committee commented: “The Claims Code launch is the accumulation of over two years of hard work by VCMI’s partners and many participants in the voluntary carbon markets and other stakeholders. In what is a pivotal year for growth of high integrity voluntary markets, the delivery of the Claims Code of Practice in June will be a critical step in bringing the confidence and transparency to buyers and participants for the market to deliver on its purpose.”
Mark Kenber, VCMI’s Executive Director commented: “Following the launch of the provisional Code last year, we have been working to publish the final Claims Code as quickly as possible but also to ensure it is useable and comprehensive. We are now delighted to announce our plans for publishing the Code this year.
“As interest in VCMs has grown, so has the demand for clear guidance. Corporates need to know that their activity in the market is making valuable contributions towards their own and wider climate and sustainability goals. Many of the criticisms these markets face today is precisely because of that lack of guidance, and the forthcoming release of the Claims Code of Practice will instil more confidence and credibility for all those participating in the market.”
A timeline highlighting important upcoming dates for VCMI is available on the website homepage: https://vcmintegrity.org/
• Feedback on the VCMI Provisional Claims Code of Practice: https://vcmintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Feedback-on-the-Provisional-Claims-Code-of-Practice.pdf
• Provisional VCMI Claims Code of Practice Road test feedback synthesis: https://vcmintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/VCMI-Claims-Code-Road-Test-Synthesis.pdf
The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in 2021 focusing on the creation of high-integrity voluntary carbon markets, and ensuring these have a place in supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
It works with companies along with state and non-state actors to realise the full potential of high-integrity carbon markets.
The organization is committed to a world firmly 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.