If countries are to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, greenhouse gas reduction activities around the world will need far more financing from the public and private sectors than is currently committed.
Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCMs) present an opportunity to drive finance toward this important work in a way that complements other public and private flows.
But VCMs are not always viewed as transparent or fully accountable by credit buyers, sellers, environmental organizations and the wider public.
VCMI was launched to address the concerns behind this perception. Its mission is to ensure that VCMs lead to increased ambition on climate change – and that the use of carbon credits never displaces or delays science-based action on decarbonisation.
At an October 26 briefing for 60 businesses, civil society organizations and governments, VCMI Leadership introduced the “Roadmap: Ensuring High-Integrity Voluntary Carbon Markets.” The Roadmap explains how the work of VCMI aims to fill gaps in VCMs’ governance infrastructure with clear and operational claims guidance backed by an institutional framework that allows claims about an organization’s actions to cut its carbon footprint – and possible voluntary use of carbon credits – to be verified and tested.
The briefing covered the main themes likely to be included in the planned guidance and underscored the importance of stakeholders to VCMI’s approach. Through large group meetings and one-on-one conversations, VCMI has gathered feedback that broadly falls into the priority areas outlined in the Roadmap. Issues important to stakeholders include:
- clarity around which scopes and categories are expected to be included in science-based net zero goals, particularly scope 3,
- types of credits that can be used to support claims at net zero vs. on the path to net zero,
- information on standardized reporting to support public claims, including financial and other disclosures,
- VCMI’s strategy to ensure equal access to VCMs while supporting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
While VCMI works on practical solutions to these issues, it continues to cooperate with other NGOs, VCM initiatives, and technical organizations that share its public purpose. These include the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (ICVCM).