The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market today unveiled a timetable designed to introduce labels enabling buyers to identify high-integrity carbon credits in Q3 this year.
Following an open public comment period as well as extensive consultation with stakeholders from across the voluntary carbon market, the Integrity Council will publish its final Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) in March, establishing a global threshold for high-integrity carbon credits based on solid science and clear, measurable and verifiable data.
Carbon credits will receive the CCP label, identifying them as high quality, provided both the carbon-crediting program that issued them and the credit type – for example cookstove or reforestation projects – are assessed as meeting the criteria for high climate, environmental and social integrity set out in the CCPs.
In March, the Integrity Council will also publish its Assessment Procedure, Assessment Framework for carbon-crediting programs, and Attributes (designed to allow the market to classify credits so buyers can more readily identify those that match their preferences). The Assessment Framework for credit types will follow in the spring.
The Integrity Council expects to begin announcing CCP-approved programs and credit types in Q3, enabling programs to issue the first CCP-labelled carbon credits soon after. Additional programs and credit types are expected to be announced on a rolling basis thereafter.
Annette Nazareth, Chair of the Integrity Council, said: “We have designed an efficient process to introduce CCP labels to the market. Our timetable balances the need for full and careful review of all the inputs we have received from our many stakeholders over the last few months, with the need to provide clarity to the market at the earliest opportunity.
“We urgently need to make it easy for investors to recognize and price a high-integrity carbon credit no matter which program issued it, what kind of credit it is, whether it is based on a removal or reduction, and no matter where on the planet that activity is happening. This will be critical to reduce confusion, overcome market fragmentation and give buyers confidence that they are funding projects that make a genuine positive impact. This is what our CCP label is designed to do.”
The Integrity Council will begin officially assessing carbon-crediting programs in May and will provide further information on the assessment process when it publishes its final documents in March.
In order to ensure efficient and timely delivery of CCP labels to the market, the Integrity Council will conduct an initial review of how readily different credit types can be assessed against the CCP criteria. Credit types considered to be highly likely to meet the CCP requirements will be fast-tracked for approval. Credit types that raise more complex issues will require a more involved assessment, and the Integrity Council will prioritize those with the largest market share. Further details will be announced in due course. Assessment of other credit types will then follow on a continuous basis.
Internal and external experts will be engaged to carry out this initial review, informed by the final credit-level Assessment Framework as well as a review of market data, academic literature and other relevant research. The Integrity Council will convene this Credit-type Working Group in March to commence this process.
Going forward, the Integrity Council envisages a process of continual improvement of the CCPs over time in order to drive greater ambition in the voluntary carbon market. It expects to launch the first revision process for the CCPs in 2025, ready for implementation in 2026, and this will be informed by a series of thematic multi-stakeholder work programs, which will be announced in coming months.
Kelley Kizzier, Co-chair of the Standards Oversight Committee of the Integrity Council’s Board, said: “We are working intensively to finalize the first version of the standards and provide a clear path forward for the market. We will continue to work in close collaboration with our stakeholders and partners as we move towards implementation of these standards to ensure the market continues to function effectively and channel much-needed additional finance to urgent climate mitigation activities.”
Farrukh Khan, Co-chair of the Standards Oversight Committee of the Integrity Council’s Board, said: “We want to spark a race to the top, levelling up to best practice in the market and then going further. We will be working to continually improve the Core Carbon Principles with all our stakeholders to map a clear pathway to raise the level of ambition in future versions of our threshold standard.”
Indicative overview of the Integrity Council’s delivery process for 2023
The Integrity Council has been working with stakeholders throughout the voluntary carbon market, from Indigenous Peoples to carbon-crediting programs, to build a common understanding of what criteria carbon credits must meet to be considered high-integrity. It is currently finalizing the CCPs, Assessment Procedure and Assessment Framework following a two-month consultation last year, which received more than 350 submissions and over 5,000 comments.
The voluntary carbon market quadrupled in value to around $2 billion in 2021, trading nearly half a billion tonnes of carbon credits. By establishing a global benchmark, the CCPs wlll catalyse growth of the market: transparent, efficient markets will mobilize more money and channel it effectively to the best solutions.
For more information and to arrange interviews please contact:
David Mason [email protected] +44 7799 072320
Conor Quinn [email protected] +44 7444 696214
Georgia Crump [email protected] +44 7565 398747
NOTES FOR EDITORS
About the Integrity Council
The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (Integrity Council) is an independent governance body for the voluntary carbon market, which aims to ensure the voluntary carbon market accelerates a just transition to 1.5°C.
The Integrity Council sets and enforce definitive global threshold standards for the voluntary carbon market, drawing on the best science and expertise available, to channel finance towards genuine and additional greenhouse gas reductions and removals that go above and beyond what can otherwise be achieved, and that contribute to climate resilient development.
Sign-up for our monthly newsletter to stay updated on the Integrity Council’s insights, events, and activities.