Core Carbon Principles: What you need to know

Core Carbon Principles: What you need to know

By purchasing carbon credits emitted by projects aimed at reducing or removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, businesses and individuals can offset their emissions.To set a standard and provide a common set of guidelines for market participants, the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) has introduced the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs).

These principles aim to set clear, consistent standards for carbon credit projects, effectively increasing transparency and credibility in the voluntary carbon market. Besides focusing on areas of project design, monitoring, and reporting, and avoiding double counting, the principles emphasize social and environmental safeguards, including human rights and biodiversity.

With the CCPs, market participants can show they're committed to best practices and build trust and confidence with stakeholders. The principles are designed to be flexible enough to accommodate different types of projects and market participants, while maintaining a rigorous approach to verification and certification.

The introduction of the CCPs has generally been seen as a positive step towards increasing the effectiveness and credibility of the voluntary carbon market.

Have a look at the 10 principles, summarized!

  1. Effective governance. Carbon-crediting programs must ensure transparency, accountability, and overall quality of carbon credits.
  2. Tracking. Programs should use a registry to uniquely identify, record, and track mitigation activities and carbon credits to prevent double counting.
  3. Transparency. Programs must provide comprehensive and accessible information about credited mitigation activities to enable scrutiny by non-specialized audiences.
  4. Robust independent third-party validation and verification. Programs should establish requirements for independent validation and verification of mitigation activities to ensure credibility.
  5. Additionality. Emission reductions or removals from mitigation activities must be additional, meaning they wouldn't have occurred without the incentive created by carbon credits.
  6. Permanence. Emission reductions or removals should be permanent, or measures should be in place to address the risk of reversal.
  7. Robust quantification of emissions reductions and removals. Emission reductions must be accurately and conservatively quantified using sound scientific methods.
  8. No double counting. Emission reductions or removals should not be counted multiple times towards achieving mitigation targets.
  9. Sustainable development benefits and safeguards. Programs should adhere to industry best practices on social and environmental safeguards and deliver positive sustainable development impacts.
  10. Contribution to net-zero transition. Mitigation activities should avoid practices that are incompatible with the objective of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.

The publication of these principles sets the stage for eligibility assessments of carbon crediting programs, with the first CCP credit approval expected by the end of 2023. Carbon credit programs that are approved will boast a CCP label, helping buyers identify high-quality credits.

“The introduction of the Core Carbon Principles is long overdue in the carbon offset world.  Too long have the existing registries only relied on some (or none) of the 10 principles.  The lack of oversight and accountability has necessitated the creation of such a simple yet elegant standard.  We at CarbonPath built our company and registry using the latest technology, and with our robust methodologies meet and exceed each of the core principles.”

Dan Wrona, Co-founder of CarbonPath

ClimateTrade, a marketplace aligned with these principles, is ready to provide more information on the implications of CCPs.