What is a high integrity carbon credit?

Cutting to the chase it is a credit for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions or removals that is:

  • Additional – they would not have happened in the absence of the incentive created by carbon credit revenues.
  • Permanent – locked in or their reversal risk is mitigated by measures such as use of an insurance buffer pool.
  • Quantified –  robustly measured, based on conservative approaches, completeness and scientific methods.
  • Single counted – not be double counted e.g. issued more than once, claimed more than once or used more than once.

A standard seems to be emerging as a front runner and this is it, The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market, or the catchy “ICVCM” in shortened form.

Carbon Credit Programmes  which pass the assessment will be able to use the label CCP (Core Carbon Principles),  giving assurance they satisfy the 10 principles of the standard.  The four above are the ones that catch our eye as most fundamental.

They all have their challenges in assessment and validation.  So once again taking our learning curve using our Bank Farm credits:

Additional – because it makes the business model work for the farm, otherwise the transition costs and yield challenges make the shift to regenerative practices less attractive and therefore likely.  Also because the farm must demonstrate that all credits are additional to any used to make it Net Zero in operation.

PermanentDoug Wanstall explains how this works for regenerative agriculture, and specifically the UK Carbon Code of Conduct on Bank Farm credit measurement.

Quantified – Measured through photogrammetry and carbon measurement of soil samples using a scientific sampling pattern across the farm.

Single counted – a register with associated contracts and certificates are used.

The UK Carbon Code of Conduct is aiming to achieve full compliance to the ICVCM CCP in the second half of 2024, and meanwhile is aligned with it and SBTi.

Next on our journey is the retirement of our credits and some input from Nature Broking on the whys and wherefores of this process.  And meanwhile we are very pleased to be benefiting from the collective wisdom of the Carbon Accounting Alliance on how the Carbon Accounting Sector should consistently account for and communicate Beyond Value Chain Mitigation investments and projects including carbon credits (BVCM, the final acronym for today but alas unlikely to be the last in the sector!).



Subscribe to our newsletter

Get sustainable business updates and latest thinking*

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
*No SPAM. Ever.
Scroll to Top