The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) has launched a Claims Code in an effort to strengthen the integrity and transparency of voluntary carbon market services and promote safe and transparent corporate use of carbon credits in net-zero climate strategies.
The launch comes after more than a year of expert assessment by public and private stakeholders relevant to the CO2 sector.
The mission of the VCMI Claims Code of Practice is to stimulate integrity by suggesting a defined framework for the demand side of emission-reducing initiatives, which in turn is expected to accelerate climate action and bring fresh capital flows to emerging markets.
The Claims Code will provide companies looking to implement greener practices with a guidebook on what constitutes a credible climate claim. That way, consumers of voluntary carbon market services can make informed decisions and claim their commitments towards achieving carbon neutrality with confidence and transparency.
Based on the level of investment in GHG emission reduction and removal, companies can opt for the Platinum, Gold, or Silver grades of the Claims Code.
To make a VCMI claim, a company must comply with the following steps: meet the VCMI’s Foundational Criteria; select the desired grade of claim; select credits that meet the rigorous quality requirements in line with the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (IC-VCM) Core Carbon Principles (CCPs); and lastly, provide information that supports the claim and perform independent verification in accordance with the VCMI MRV and Assurance Framework (projected for November 2023).
Global climate experts welcomed the launch of these novel guidelines. The work of the VMCI has received support from a vast network of NGOs, governments, companies, international organizations, and the public, including Verra, Carbon Market Watch and others.
Allister Furey, CEO and co-founder of carbon credits rating company Sylvera commented by saying: “The VCMI’s guidance is a solid step forward for resolving confusion and uncertainty around what claims companies can make about their climate action, and for overall climate action transparency with the inclusion of comprehensive requirements to disclose credit use. Of course, there’s still more that needs to be done. Specifically, governments should look to adopt additional regulatory measures on disclosures to accurately test progress, move forward to cap emissions, and mandate removals, following California’s lead. If we’re to have a hope of meeting societal net zero goals, then disclosures, accountability, and recognition of success and leadership–per the VCMI’s guidance– can help establish the incentives to invest in real climate action at the trillion dollar scale required.”
Additional guidance is expected to be published in November 2023, focusing on a Measurement, Reporting, and Assurance (MRA) framework, additional claim tiers, and claim names.