Carbon Related
Understanding ICVCM and Core Carbon Principle's Role in Enhancing Carbon Credit Quality and Trust
Understanding ICVCM and Core Carbon Principle's Role in Enhancing Carbon Credit Quality and Trust

The growing urgency to mitigate climate change has led to increased interest in the voluntary carbon market (VCM). However, the effectiveness of carbon credits in achieving real environmental benefits has often been questioned. To address these concerns, the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) has developed the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs). These principles are designed to ensure that carbon credits are of the highest quality, offering real, verifiable environmental impact and promoting sustainable development.


What is the ICVCM?

The ICVCM is an independent governance body established to create and uphold global standards for the voluntary carbon market. Launched to address the integrity issues surrounding carbon credits, ICVCM's mission is to ensure that investments in the VCM contribute to effective and genuine climate solutions.

To maintain the integrity of carbon credits, ICVCM has developed an assessment framework and procedures to evaluate credits against the CCPs. This framework provides a transparent and systematic process for assessing the quality of carbon credits, ensuring they meet necessary standards and contribute effectively to environmental goals.

Core Carbon Principles (CCPs)

ICVCM CCPs consist of ten fundamental principles that define what constitutes high-quality carbon credits. These principles are divided into three main categories:


This category ensures that projects are transparently managed, have clear accountability, and are subject to robust monitoring and reporting mechanisms.

  1. Effective Governance: The program responsible for carbon-crediting must ensure transparency, accountability, and quality of the carbon credits issued. This includes publicly available documentation, clear roles and responsibilities, transparency regarding decision-making processes, legal procedures, public engagement, and more.

  2. Tracking: The program must operate or use a registry that enables carbon credits to be uniquely identified, recorded, and tracked.

  3. Transparency: Comprehensive and transparent information on all credited mitigation activities must be publicly available in electronic format, accessible to non-specialized audiences to enable scrutiny of mitigation activities.

  4. Robust Independent Third-Party Validation and Verification: The program must require verification of the project’s activity to reduce or remove carbon emissions through a trusted independent third-party. 

Emissions Impact

These principles ensure that the carbon credits represent genuine reductions or removals of greenhouse gasses, verified through rigorous scientific methodologies.

  1. Additionality: The carbon emissions reduced or removed by the project must be additional, meaning they wouldn’t have occurred without the ability to sell carbon credits.

  2. Permanence: The carbon emissions reduced or removed by the project must be permanent, or if there is a risk of reversal, this must be fully accounted for through robust monitoring and/or compensation via a buffer.

  3. Robust Quantification of Emissions Reductions or Removals: The emissions reduced or removed must be quantified using accepted scientific methods, with conservative estimates to account for uncertainties.

  4. No Double Counting: The emissions reduced or removed must be counted only once towards meeting climate targets, avoiding double issuing, claiming, or use.

Sustainable Development

This category focuses on ensuring that carbon credit projects deliver tangible benefits to local communities and contribute to broader sustainability goals.

  1. Sustainable Development Benefits and Safeguards: The project must align with or exceed best practices on social and environmental safeguards, ensuring net positive sustainable development impacts. This includes assessing environmental risks, engaging with local communities, fair employment practices, land acquisition, gender equality, and benefit-sharing mechanisms.

  2. Contribution Toward Net Zero Transition: The project must not lock in practices or technologies that are incompatible with the transition to a net-zero society by 2050.


To ensure transparency and integrity in the voluntary carbon market (VCM), the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) has implemented various strategies:

  1. Labeled Credits: By the end of the year, ICVCM plans to issue labeled credits, which will indicate high-quality credits in the marketplace. This initiative aims to bring clarity and trust to the often unregulated VCM.

  2. Disclosure Requirements: New standards require that registries retiring CCP credits disclose on whose behalf the credits have been retired, ensuring transparency in credit use.

  3. Independent Governance: As an unbiased body, ICVCM ensures its standards are based on rigorous scientific and policy expertise, free from the influence of specific projects or certifiers.

  4. Collaboration with Certifiers: ICVCM collaborates with leading certifiers like Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry (ACR), and Climate Action Reserve (CAR). These partnerships help standardize the quality of carbon credits and promote transparency across the market.

  5. Staggered Announcements: ICVCM adopts a gradual approach in evaluating and announcing certified projects. This strategy maintains market stability and trust by providing clarity on which projects meet stringent quality criteria.

  6. Technology for Traceability: Leveraging blockchain technology, ICVCM ensures traceability in transactions, with each certificate carrying detailed information about the project and the credits traded. This technological innovation supports greater transparency and accountability in the VCM.

By implementing these measures, the ICVCM plays a pivotal role in enhancing transparency and integrity in the voluntary carbon market. Through the development of the Core Carbon Principles and a robust assessment framework, ICVCM ensures that carbon credits deliver real, verifiable climate benefits. Companies investing in the VCM can thus be more confident that their contributions are supporting effective and sustainable climate solutions.


Source: https://icvcm.org/


About Fairatmos

Fairatmos is a climate technology company that helps you to discover, develop and deliver high quality carbon offset projects at scale. We believe in the power of nature to heal and remove greenhouse gasses from our atmosphere with the help of technology.

Our technology leverages remote sensing and satellite images to help communities and companies to discover their forest carbon credit potential, converting them from logging the forest to preserving and rehabilitating the forest confidently. 

With high precision monitoring technology, we help to track carbon project performance and integrity, ensuring the social impact and biodiversity preservation. With confidence in integrity, we connect carbon offsetting companies to quality projects. 

Today we have worked with more than 200 asset owners, processing more than 18M hectares of forest carbon potential across South East Asia to deliver the promise of inclusivity.

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