The VCMI Claim Code of Practice

Claim Code of Practice (VCMI)

Table of Contents

On June 28th, it was a significant date for the voluntary carbon credit market (VCM). The Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative (VCMI) released the latest version of the “Claim Code of Practice”.

"Claim Code of Practice," an essential guide for organizations wishing to make credible climate-related statements.

The main goal of VCMI is to ensure that every climate-related statement is fully supported by a concrete emission reduction plan in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, VCMI aims to promote the use of high-quality carbon credits that are genuinely additional for emission offsetting. 

In doing so, it seeks to ensure that efforts to combat climate change are genuine and effective, contributing to a sustainable future for our planet.

The "Claim Code of Practice" in brief

The guide proposes a four-step process:

1. Adhere to the fundamental criteria designed to align with the Paris Agreement goals. Organizations are required to:

  • Annually publish their carbon footprint.

  • Establish and publicly disclose short-term emission reduction targets validated scientifically and commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • Demonstrate that the organization is on track to achieve short-term emission reduction targets and minimize cumulative emissions in the reference period.

  • Demonstrate that the company’s policies support the goals of the Paris Agreement and do not hinder ambitious climate regulation.

2. Select one of the three statements provided by VCMI:

a) VCMI Silver: The most accessible level where, once progress towards short-term reduction targets is demonstrated, offsetting from 20% to 60% of the carbon footprint is required.

b) VCMI Gold: Once progress towards short-term reduction targets is demonstrated, offsetting from 60% to 100% of the carbon footprint is required. 

c) VCMI Platinum: Once progress towards short-term reduction targets is demonstrated, offsetting equal to or greater than 100% of the carbon footprint is required.

All statements must satisfy the four fundamental criteria listed above. Additionally, the percentage of carbon credits to be purchased and retired must increase annually for Gold or Silver levels.

3. The carbon credits used must be of the highest quality. 

VCMI defines such credits as those that satisfy the Core Carbon Principles (CCP) of the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) and qualify according to its Assessment Framework. 

The ICVCM is still working on a database to indicate credits following CCP, and an assessment method for credits is yet to be considered. While awaiting the completion of the database, VCMI advises organizations to acquire eligible credits within the CORSIA scheme, meaning credits that meet the criteria set by ICAO. 

However, this approach is limiting because there are numerous types of credits based on natural solutions that contribute to biodiversity preservation but do not meet ICAO requirements for reasons unrelated to project quality

4. Obtain validation of environmental statements to be disclosed from a third-party entity according to VCMI requirements.

Next steps:

During the second half of the year and beyond, VCMI will release additional modules and guidelines for monitoring and reporting environmental statements at the product, service, and brand levels, among others. 

Currently, the guide is still quite vague, but it begins to provide important directives to companies, such as calculating their entire carbon footprint, including the value chain, and contributing to achieving global climate neutrality by offsetting their emissions.

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