ICVCM announces first batch of approved carbon credit methodologies


(Photo: iStock)

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) has announced the first batch of carbon credit methodologies to pass their review. This includes three methodologies for the destruction of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and four methodologies for landfill gas capture (LFG). It is estimated that 27 million carbon credits could be awarded the Core Carbon Principles (CCP) label by the ICVCM. However, experts caution that these newly approved methodologies are not the most popular ones in the market. They urge the ICVCM to expedite the review process to provide common standards for market participants to follow.

Established in 2021, the ICVCM is an independent governance body for the voluntary carbon market, aiming to enhance its scale and efficiency. In 2023, the organization outlined ten Core Carbon Principles, including traceability, transparency, independent verification, additionality, and avoidance of double counting, to increase the credibility of carbon credits.

According to the ICVCM's "double approval" standard, a carbon credit can only receive formal recognition as CCP when the project is approved as "CCP-Eligible" and the methodology for generating carbon credits is "CCP-Approved."

In a statement, the ICVCM noted that ODS involves collecting and destroying refrigerant gases from refrigerators, air conditioners, insulating foam, and other waste equipment, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These chemicals are 725 to 14,400 times more harmful to the Earth than carbon dioxide.

The LFG scope includes landfills with food, garden waste, paper, textiles, and wood. In the absence of oxygen, the decomposition process produces carbon dioxide and methane, the latter being 81 times more harmful to the Earth than carbon dioxide. The seven methodologies are as follows,

  1. ACR’s Destruction of ODS from International Sources version 1.0
  2. CAR’s Article 5 Ozone Depleting Substances Project Protocol versions 1-2
  3. CAR’s U.S. Ozone Depleting Substances Project Protocol versions 1-2
  4. ACM0001 – Flaring or use of Landfill Gas versions 15-19, used by Verra and Gold Standard
  5. AMS iii G – Landfill Methane Recovery version 10, used by Verra and Gold Standard
  6. ACR’s Landfill Gas Destruction and Beneficial Use Projects version 1-2
  7. CAR’s US Landfill Protocol version 6

According to calculations by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), 99 projects out of the registered projects have used these methodologies, accounting for 1.6% of registered projects, with their carbon credits representing approximately 1.2%.

Sherry Hu (胡湘渝), a carbon market researcher at RECCESSARY, pointed out that the ICVCM has categorized the first batch of methodologies to be reviewed into 29 categories. Currently, only seven methodologies under the ODS and LFG categories have passed. Therefore, Hu hopes the ICVCM will expedite its review process and reminds everyone that some past methodologies lacked rigor. Without reassessment or updates, they may be rejected by the ICVCM.

The ICVCM stated that the remaining 27 categories, which account for more than 50% of the market share, are still under evaluation. These include the most popular methodologies such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), Jurisdictional REDD+ (JREDD), and clean cookstoves, with the evaluation expected to be completed in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has recently proposed guidelines for the voluntary carbon market, emphasizing the importance of high-quality carbon credits. Hu believes that with the efforts of international independent bodies and government organizations to oversee the voluntary carbon market, the market mechanism can become more robust.


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