Last updated:
May 24, 2024

ICVCM (Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market)

What is the ICVCM (Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market)

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) is an independent governing body dedicated to establishing universally recognised standards for high-quality carbon credits in the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM). The ICVCM addresses the crucial need for clear guidance and structured assessments, which have historically deterred companies and financial institutions from engaging fully with emerging carbon credit projects due to the perceived risks and lack of credible information.

How does the ICVCM work?

The ICVCM has introduced two significant tools to define and ensure quality within the VCM:

  1. Core Carbon Principles (CCPs): These principles consist of 10 specific requirements based on the latest scientific knowledge and best practices. They serve as a checklist to define what constitutes a high-quality carbon credit, aiming to help companies and project developers achieve verifiable climate impacts.
  2. Program-level Assessment Framework and Procedures: This framework provides detailed guidance for evaluating carbon credits against the CCPs. It helps carbon-crediting programs ensure that their credits meet the necessary standards and contribute effectively to environmental goals.

How does the ICVCM relate to other frameworks?

The ICVCM complements other sustainability and carbon management frameworks by providing a specific focus on the quality of carbon credits, which is critical for their credibility and effectiveness in climate strategies:

  • SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative): While SBTi focuses on setting emissions reduction targets for companies, ICVCM ensures the quality of the carbon credits used to meet these targets.
  • Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting: The ICVCM’s standards align with these principles, ensuring that carbon credits used in offsetting strategies are robust, verifiable, and effective in contributing to net zero goals.
  • Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity (VCMI): The ICVCM supports the objectives of the VCMI by establishing universally recognised standards for high-quality carbon credits, enhancing the credibility and reliability of the voluntary carbon market.

What does the ICVCM mean for sustainability managers?

For sustainability managers, the ICVCM provides a crucial tool for selecting and validating carbon credits, ensuring that these credits are not only high-quality but also aligned with global standards and the company’s own net zero strategies. It reduces financial and environmental risks associated with low-quality credits and supports transparency and accountability in carbon markets. This helps sustainability managers to more confidently integrate carbon credits into their broader environmental strategies.

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