A public consultation has been launched on proposals to establish a definitive and consistent global benchmark for high-integrity carbon credits.
Specifically, the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market is seeking views on its draft Core Carbon Principles (CCPs), which propose fundamental, interlinked criteria for carbon credits with verifiable climate impacts based on solid science.
It hopes that these will provide an accessible way to identify high-quality credits, reduce confusion, overcome market fragmentation and support transparent pricing, giving buyers confidence they are funding projects that make a genuine impact.
The two-month consultation also seeks views on an accompanying Draft Assessment Framework, and Draft Assessment Procedure, with the final documents published by the end of the year.
If successful, it is estimated that the voluntary carbon market could cut two billion tonnes of emissions each year by 2030, which is almost twice the average annual emissions of Japan.
Integrity Council chair Annette Nazareth, said: “In designing an effective market that can deliver genuine climate impact at speed and scale, we need to start with integrity.
“It is a precondition for a transparent, deep, liquid, standardised and scalable market that efficiently channels capital to where it is most urgently needed.
“To make this work, we need everyone from across the voluntary carbon market to come to the table, share knowledge and expertise, and collaborate to co-create the CCPs and Assessment Framework.”
The consultation is designed to gather diverse views on key aspects of credit quality, including:
- Additionality – whether the mitigation activity would have happened without the incentive created by the carbon credit revenues
- Permanence and how to ensure any reversals are fully compensated
- Carbon-crediting programme governance to ensure transparency
- Accountability and the overall quality of carbon credits
- Robust quantification of emission reductions and removals based on conservative approaches and sound science
- Ensuring social and environmental safeguards meet or exceed best practice and deliver net positive sustainable development impacts.
Mark Carney, former Bank of England governor, commented: “By providing a global threshold standard for credible, transparent, high-integrity carbon credits the Integrity Council’s new CCPs will support the net-zero transitions of companies and the reduction of global emissions while providing much-needed financing to projects in emerging and developing economies and to Indigenous peoples.”
The consultation will be overseen by the British Standards Institute and is open until 23:59 BST on 27 September 2022.
Image credit: iStock