Verra released a statement expressing its view that the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) should drastically revise its process for developing the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) and Assessment Framework (AF) for the voluntary carbon market.
- Verra voices concern about direction of Core Carbon Principles.
- Verra argues that the framework as it stands is unworkable and will limit carbon finance.
- Verra has proposed an alternative route for standardising carbon credits and the argument looks set to run on.
Carbon credits verifier Verra has released a statement expressing its view that the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) should drastically revise its process for developing the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) and Assessment Framework (AF) for the voluntary carbon market.
What problems does the ICVCM approach contain?
Verra said in its statement: “We especially fear that the principles-based review of programs has been supplanted with a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach that seeks to directly set the scope and rules of the market.”
There are also concerns about a long list of requirements under the Core Carbon Principles (CCP) – many of which Verra considers too prescriptive and infeasible. The worry is that, if forced upon the market, such requirements would drastically limit the amount of carbon finance that could flow to activities on the ground.
In particular Verra raised concerns about unnecessary duplication in terms of crediting programmes and standards; the resource intensity of the proposed administrative structure; and the need for compliance on issues that Verra says have little to do with the viability of a carbon credit project or not.
Need for standardisation but it must be done the right way
There is obviously a strong need to standardise frameworks for the voluntary carbon markets, if it is to scale at the speed necessary to address emissions goals. Yet Verra’s position is that the ICVCM is a ‘limited set of individuals’ trying to create a broad set of rules that would be better served by relying on multiple stakeholder input to ensure integrity and practicality.
It said: “Verra has supported the ICVCM and the development of both the CCPs and AF. However, Verra is becoming concerned that a principles-based review of programs is being supplanted with a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach that sets impossible requirements, is impervious to input from a range of stakeholders, and is administratively unworkable. This will result in a drastic reduction in carbon finance flowing to activities on the ground.”
Verra has proposed an alternative path forward that focuses on standards and processes at the program level, stages the development of the AF, leverages and supplements existing assessment initiatives, and establishes a longer-term CCP work program.
They believe that the focus should be on standards and processes already established at the programme level; that they should stage the implementation of the Assessment Framework as expecting full compliance from day one could prove too high a burden for many; and, most importantly, that the ICVCM should work with existing programmes rather than attempting to recreate something entirely new.
They also think the ICVCM should establish a longer term work programme, in order to allow for growth and iteration as the market itself is changing so fast.
If done well, the CCPs and AF can drive high integrity across the full range of carbon crediting programs in the voluntary carbon market and help realize the rapid scaling of climate action that the world needs. As it stands, according to Verra they do neither.
Comments on the proposal close on 27th September.