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What does the CCP label mean for carbon offsets?



The voluntary carbon market allows businesses and individuals to compensate for their emissions outside of any mandated offsetting requirements. 


The market is part of a wider net of solutions that can help us meet important targets from the Paris Agreement: most importantly, keeping global temperatures from passing 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Unfortunately, not all credits on the voluntary market are of the same quality. Low-quality credits create trust issues for consumers, and channel money away from real solutions. 


The CCP label for offsets hopes to address these issues and create positive change in the voluntary market. We’ve collected everything you need to know to get a basic understanding of the new label. 


If you have any questions or are interested in high-quality offsetting for your business, book a call with one of our experts today. 





What is the Integrity Council For Voluntary Carbon Market?


The Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) is an independent non-profit working to improve the voluntary carbon market. This is done through close collaboration with stakeholders, from project developers, to governments and local communities. 


A core part of the work of the ICVCM has been the creation of 10 Core Carbon Principles (CCPs).



What are the Core Carbon Principles?


The CCPs are science-based principles used to assess carbon-crediting programs and methodologies, creating high integrity options for voluntary offsets. 


The 10 principles are divided into three sections: Governance, Emissions Impact, and Sustainable Impact. 


If you’re already familiar with existing guidelines when it comes to choosing high-quality carbon offsets, you will recognise a lot of these ideas. Projects that meet all of these principles will be labeled as CCP projects. 


Governance 

  • Effective governance 

  • Tracking 

  • Transparency 

  • Robust independent third-party validation and verification 


Emissions Impact 

  • Additionality 

  • Permanence 

  • Robust quantification of emission reductions and removals

  • No double-counting


Sustainable Impact

  • Sustainable development benefits and safeguards

  • Contribution toward net zero transition



Why was the CCP label developed?


The ICVCM and the CCPs were developed following the recommendations of The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, a task force created to scale the voluntary carbon market so that it can help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. 


The CCP label will set and maintain a global standard for quality in the voluntary carbon market, helping buyers to focus on carbon credits backed by the latest climate science and best practices.


The ICVCM hopes to build trust in the voluntary carbon market by creating a universal label people can look out for across carbon crediting programs. This addresses one of the biggest issues with the voluntary carbon market: a lack of trust in the integrity of the projects on offer.



Which programmes are approved for CCP criteria?


Before programmes can get the CCP label for projects and methodologies, the programme itself must be CCP eligible.


CCP eligibility is achieved when the programme applies to the ICVCM and is confirmed to meet the Governance CCPs. 


As of June 2024, 5 programmes are approved for CCP criteria:

  • ACR

  • ART 

  • CAR 

  • Gold Standard

  • VCS, operated by Verra


These programmes have all updated some of their procedures to meet the high-integrity CCP criteria.


This doesn’t mean that all projects from these providers can now be issued with the CCP label. Rather, it means that the programme can issue CCP-approved carbon credits from project categories that are already CCP approved. 



CCP-approved projects


Rather than approving individual projects, the ICVCM has grouped carbon credits into categories and is assessing these categories. 


Source: ICVCM

Once a category is approved, the methodologies within it are also approved for the CCP label for CCP-approved programmes. Certificates of this decision, with any conditions, are issued and the programmes are responsible for adding the label to their listings. 


You can see assessment statuses on the ICVCM website



The CCP label and CORSIA 


It is possible to fast track the CCP-eligibility approval process if a programme has already been approved as CORSIA-eligible. In this case, the program will only need to show the ICVCM that they ‘meet the CCP’s criteria’ around:

  • Effective governance, 

  • Credit tracking, 

  • Transparency 

  • Robust, independent third-party validation and verification


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