3 min read

ICVCM and the ABACUS principles for forest restoration projects

Written by ICVCM


A fast-flowing river with white water rapids, surrounded by rocks and lush greenery.

As the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently said – now is the moment of truth for climate action and the next 18 months are critical. A rapid increase in climate finance is an essential part of this. The voluntary carbon market is a tool for mobilising that finance, as long as it is rooted in high integrity.

That is why ICVCM exists, alongside a range of initiatives, each playing a specific role to improve quality in the market with the shared goal of unlocking the market’s potential to unleash a new wave of private finance for impactful climate solutions.

ABACUS is one such initiative. It is a set of principles and requirements for quantifying the climate impact of forest restoration projects, building on a Verra methodology (VM0047) which is currently being assessed by one of the ICVCM’s multi-stakeholder working groups.

It is good to see examples like this of initiatives paying close attention to the quality of a specific type of carbon credit that companies are buying – in this case, forest restoration projects.

The ICVCM is working to set an independent global threshold for what constitutes a high-quality carbon credit. It does this by assessing any carbon-crediting program that applies and the methodologies it uses for issuing all types of credits. Carbon credits only qualify for the CCP-label if they are issued by carbon crediting programs that have met the Core Carbon Principles (CCP) criteria, from projects that use a methodology that has also met the CCP criteria.

The carbon crediting methodologies it is assessing range from those used to design and implement landfill gas capture projects, to nature-based solutions projects. See the full list of categories of carbon crediting methodologies on our Assessment Status page.

The CCP-label will help companies identify which specific carbon credits meet our high-quality CCP criteria. The first CCP-labelled credits are already in the market and we expect our assessments to be largely complete by September.

Initiatives like ABACUS which look at one particular type of credit, are complementary to the work that ICVCM is doing to assess all types of credit for adherence to the Core Carbon Principles.

The ABACUS label only relates to forest restoration projects, whereas ICVCM is assessing methodologies across all types of carbon credits, using its rigorous criteria.

Importantly – ABACUS, ICVCM and all other initiatives working to improve quality in the VCM have a collective goal of unlocking the market’s potential to help tackle the climate crisis, at a time when we need all the help we can get.