The Integrity Council For The Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) – an independent governance body that includes all stakeholders that participate and consult the market on the generation and trading of carbon credits – has announced a set of standards called the Core Carbon Principles, aimed at improving the transparency and efficiency of trading carbon credits.
Annette Nazareth, ICVCM Chair, said: “It’s clear we are not acting fast enough to address the climate crisis. The CCPs and Program-level criteria we are issuing today are an important step towards a transparent, regulated-like market where buyers can easily identify and price carbon credits that meet consistently high-integrity standards that will also increase ambition over time.”
The voluntary carbon market has been growing rapidly in recent years but has recently struggled with multiple investigations from media like The Guardian and Bloomberg, showing that projects that generate credits don’t have the advertised carbon reduction effect.
The ICVCM tries to tackle some of the issues by setting higher bars for participation in its projects. One example of this is that project developers will have to reveal exactly how they calculate reduced emissions, as well as the impact their work is having on the environment.
Additionality is another key point in the Core Carbon Principles. This refers to how projects essentially prove that their impact is separate from any other activities that don’t necessarily have funding from the carbon markets.
Biodiversity, human rights and negative impact on local communities are also stressed upon in the Principles.
The ICVCM will commence evaluation of projects in the middle of 2023 and expects to approve some by the end of the year.
Some criticism of the Principles appeared after they were announced. In a statement, climate action platform Patch pointed out some of the positives it found (the beginning of alignment of standards between organizations, clear guidelines on validation and verification) but also commented that “..the document does not address best baselining practices, which underlie much of the controversy surrounding REDD+ credits,” as well as the lack of a “unified roadmap” to “catapult this market into the future”.
The full document that includes the Core Carbon Principles is available for download here.