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Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity

Published: 17 Mar 2022

Voluntary carbon markets are a mechanism for individuals to direct private finance to climate mitigation, community building and sustainability solutions. Yet, to be successful, voluntary carbon market integrity needs to be a key focus. As we noted in an earlier blog post, we noted that for voluntary carbon credits to work at scale or on exchanges, there must be consistent or standardized legal guidance globally and regulatory guidance at a jurisdictional level. Similarly, for voluntary carbon credits to be effective vehicles for funneling private investments into high-quality, effective, and impactful projects, the credits must have integrity and investors must have assurance that are achieving their goals. While the established registries use rigorous evaluation standards in verifying and monitoring projects, there may be differences among them. The Carbon Offset Guide has useful resources for identifying high-quality carbon credits, but there needs to be more.

The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity (VCMI) Initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative to drive credible, net zero aligned participation in voluntary carbon markets. VCMI intends to develop and communicate guidance on how carbon credits can be voluntarily used and claimed by businesses and others as part of credible, net zero de-carbonization strategies. Just as the world is driving toward a consistent framework for environmental, social, and governance disclosures, the VCMI work should provide an impetus toward greater transparency and understanding of what projects underpinning voluntary carbon credits are and their impact.

In the meantime, a unique approach taken by Climate Vault can deliver transparent and impactful results today.  Climate Vault is a registered not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization, whose mission is to significantly reduce carbon emissions while also supporting innovation to proactively remove carbon already in the atmosphere.  Climate Vault purchases carbon credits in regulated markets, so major emitters in those markets, such as utilities and power plants, cannot use them.  In addition, Climate Vault proactively identifies and funds innovative carbon dioxide removal technologies to permanently remove carbon forever.  Climate Vault has already reduced allowable emissions by nearly 600,000 tons of CO2. Climate Vault is accredited by CDP, a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states, and regions.