Carbon markets non-profit the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) announced today the approval of the first-ever carbon credits to be labelled with its Core Carbon Principles, marking a milestone towards the establishment of an integrity standard to facilitate transparency and growth of the voluntary carbon markets.

Demand for carbon offset projects and related credits is expected to increase significantly over the next several years, as companies and businesses increasingly launch net zero ambitions, and turn to offsets as a bridge to their own absolute emissions reduction efforts, or to balance difficult to avoid emissions. The unregulated and rapidly growing market faces a series of challenges, however, with market participants unable to differentiate between high and low quality projects with insufficient or inconsistent data to assess the effectiveness of the projects.

Launched in 2021, and backed by 250 organizations, the ICVCM aims to set and maintain a global standard for high integrity in the voluntary carbon market, helping to mobilize financing into projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

The ICVCM launched its Core Carbon Principles (CCP) last year, aimed at establishing fundamental principles for high-quality carbon credits that create a verifiable impact and are based on the latest science and best practices, in order to set a global benchmark for high integrity in the voluntary carbon market.

With the new announcement, the CCP label has been approved for seven carbon crediting methodologies, and can be used for an estimated 27 million carbon credits, across project categories including methane capture from landfill sites, and destruction of ozone depleting foams and refrigerant gases from discarded equipment such as refrigerators and air conditioners.

Annette Nazareth, Integrity Council Chair, said:

“The Core Carbon Principles set a high bar for integrity and the CCP label is designed to help buyers identify carbon credits that meet our rigorous standards. We are delighted that the first credits can now be tagged with the CCP label – they are issued by projects that capture potent greenhouse gases which are essential to deliver an “emergency brake” on warming in the near term. Governments increasingly recognise that a high-integrity VCM can play a key role in scaling up private sector finance for high-quality projects to reduce emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere.”

In addition to the new approvals, the Council said that another 27 categories of carbon credits – representing more than 50% of the market – remain under active assessment, while other methodologies are still being assessed, including those addressing landfill gas, covering an estimated 76 million issued credits, and ozone-depleting substances, covering an estimated 4 million credits. The ICVCM added that multi-stakeholder assessments of some of the most popular types of carbon credits, including REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), Jurisdictional REDD (JREDD and clean cookstoves) are also due to be completed in the coming months.

Nazareth added:

“This is just the beginning. We will be announcing further categories eligible for CCP-labels that meet our criteria as we continue our careful and thorough evaluation of the submitted crediting methodologies and properly consider complex issues with our expert stakeholders.”