Global initiative for voluntary carbon market

A new global initiative will focus on improving the integrity of voluntary carbon markets to help ensure they play a credible role in keeping global warming to 1.5C.

The initiative has been launched with co-funding by the UK Government and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and is supported by the COP26 Presidency and United Nations Development Programme. The move has been welcomed several governments including Germany, Cambodia, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and two Mexican states, alongside the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

With voluntary carbon markets poised to grow exponentially this decade, the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) aims to help ensure that credibility concerns are addressed so that these markets fulfil their potential to support the goals of the Paris Agreement. VCMI will do this by working on a number of critical gaps in voluntary carbon market integrity – building solid foundations as the market scales.

VCMI will initially focus on how businesses can make climate claims – like “net-zero” and “carbon neutral” – that are robust and underpinned by science-based action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

VCMI aims to support private sector climate action by developing guidance on the use of carbon credits and transparent claims and promoting multi-stakeholder engagement and partnerships so that this translates into meaningful action on the ground.

VCMI will also support countries to access high-quality climate finance, working with governments and the United Nations Development Programme to establish VCM Access Strategies – a project to channel private finance from high-integrity voluntary carbon markets towards national climate priorities.

VCMI has launched a first consultation with stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples’ groups, governments, and others to gather views on how carbon credits can be voluntarily used and claimed by businesses as part of credible net-zero strategies. This work will form the building blocks of recommended actions to bring integrity to private sector climate action – with proposed guidelines expected in late 2021.

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