Climate Action

Major global initiative to bring rigour and transparency to net zero and carbon neutral claims

A significant new 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.

  • 30 July 2021
  • Press Release

A significant new 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.

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.

Rachel Kyte, Co-Chair, VCMI, said: “The science is clear – we must keep global warming below 1.5C. Voluntary carbon markets may play an important role in channelling finance to the protection and restoration of nature, when transparent and based on a common and agreed framework of integrity."

“VCMI is an important multistakeholder effort to build a working consensus around how we assure the integrity of voluntary markets so that they lead to reductions emissions and support aggressive countries’ climate ambitions. The issue of integrity is an essential piece of the foundation of the new architecture of climate cooperation.”

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.

Voluntary carbon markets enable companies to purchase carbon credits from activities that reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions. To fulfil their climate action claims, some businesses may use these carbon credits to help address their greenhouse gas emissions. But these actions should complement rather than substitute for ambitious direct reductions in their own emissions.

Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate, said: “I am pleased to support the launch of the VCMI today and to be joined by ministers from across the world to kick start this initiative, which will bring clarity and integrity to voluntary carbon markets and their operations."

“A robust voluntary carbon market can incentivise emissions reductions, encourage technology innovation, and promote reforestation while also helping to raise finance to tackle climate change."

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.

Find out more here.