The VCMI claims code of practice

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🔊 Last week, the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) released the VCMI Claims Code of Practice.

"The VCMI’s Claims Code of Practice has been developed to give buyers of carbon credits confidence and clarity in their use and associated claims. It is the go-to rulebook for organizations navigating the complex landscape of carbon markets, particularly for how they can use and make credible claims involving carbon credits as part of their climate commitments"

💡 Following the publication of a provisional Code, the current version has come out of a year of trialling by companies, public consultations and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

🏷 The Code establishes 3 tiers of claims that organizations can make depending on the materiality and relevance of their annual purchase and retirement of carbon credits relative to the remaining emissions of the most recent reporting year:

🥈Silver: for the equivalent of 20-60% of their remaining emissions

🥇Gold: for the equivalent of 60-100% of their remaining emissions

💎Platinum: for the equivalent of 100% or more of their remaining emissions


📏 Additionally, The Claims Code defines 4 steps organizations shall follow to make a VCMI claim, each including several to-dos:

1️⃣ Meet the Foundational Criteria (incl. Public disclosure of GHG emissions, science-based near-term GHG emission reduction targets, as well as tracking of emissions reductions and advocacy efforts)

2️⃣ Select the tier of VCMI Claim to adhere to

3️⃣ Meet required carbon credit use and quality thresholds by selecting and financing carbon projects that fulfil The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) Core Carbon Principles (CCPs)

4️⃣ Disclose the information substantiating and supporting its VCMI claim and obtain third-party validation and assurance in line with VCMI Monitoring, Reporting and Assurance Framework (MRA)

🤔 While this Code can drive more effective climate action by providing clarity, comparability and confidence to organizations for framing and communicating their contributions to climate mitigation, it still leaves many questions open, such as:

❓ How can “high quality” be defined and assessed at a project level in an objective and quantifiable manner?

❓ How does this Code align with a long-term strategy and the collaborative effort needed to finance today and scale up carbon projects for the decarbonization ambition that we aim for globally?

❓ To what extent does this Code allow for the differentiation between BVCM and the neutralization of residual emissions?

❓ What is the relevance and how can organizations disclose their high-quality climate contributions until or while they do not have validated decarbonization targets?

❓ Which tier will organizations be eligible for when they do not have the resources to go through the cumbersome bureaucracy deriving from this Code?

❓ Which scopes of emissions are considered and what is meant by “remaining emissions” to avoid ambiguity?

❓ How could all companies align already this year with this framework given the scarce available supply of “high quality” carbon credits?

📅 Hopefully, some of these will be tackled in the additional modules of the Code to be published later in November this year, providing further guidance to ensure effective implementation of the code. They shall include specific guidelines for those who may struggle with a one-size-fits-all approach, such as some heavy-polluting industry sectors 🏭, developing countries 🌾, or SMEs and startups 🚀.

👉 At Callirius, we also want to remark on the following aspects mentioned in the Claims Code:

  • VCMI suggests that companies avoid making compensation claims entirely
  • VCMI is reviewing the suitability of Brand-, Product-, and Service- level claims given public concerns about allowing such claims without an existing rigorous and standard framework to assess the carbon impact down to these levels of any organization’s operations
  • VCMI stated they will ensure the applicability and compatibility of the Code with the existing legislation of each country

👀 Stay tuned for more updates on these and other leading policy initiatives that may affect and bring more clarity and trust to your organization’s climate action

🔗 You can find all the official information and Code details here:

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