Claims Code of Practice

Claims Code of Practice

The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) published its Claims Code of Practice in June 2023 and its revised version in November 2023, addressing the demand side of carbon markets and complementing the work of the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Markets and the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

The core principle is that emission reductions are paramount, not interchangeable with carbon credits from external mitigation activities. SBTi, for instance, excludes credits from near-term targets. Their Corporate Net-Zero Standard also mandates 90% internal cuts, with permanent removals offsetting the residual emissions.

The Claims Code of Practice assists:

  • Companies: Credibly using and publicly communicating about carbon credits as part of their climate commitments in the form of a VCMI Claim.
  • Buyers: Making climate-conscious purchasing decisions.
  • Investors: Assessing the credibility of companies’ decarbonization efforts.
  • Governments: Encouraging credible offset use and clear, informative claims.

Companies making VCMI Claims follow four steps:

  1. Foundational Criteria:
    • Maintain and publicly disclose annual emissions inventories.
    • Set and disclose science-aligned near-term reduction targets and commit to net-zero by 2050.
    • Demonstrate progress on financial allocation, governance, and strategy towards near-term targets.
    • Advocate for policies aligned with the Paris Agreement, not hindering ambitious climate regulation.
  2. Making a VCMI Claim: Purchase and retire high-quality carbon credits proportionate to remaining emissions after meeting or demonstrating progress towards near-term targets. Choose from three Claim levels:
    • Silver: 10%-50% of remaining emissions covered.
    • Gold: 50%-100% of remaining emissions covered.
    • Platinum: 100%+ of remaining emissions covered.
    The percentage covered by credits increases annually after Silver/Gold claims.
  3. Carbon Credit Quality: Follow the Integrity Council’s Core Carbon Principles and disclose relevant information, including host country authorization, for retired credits. Until VCMI-approved credits arrive, two options exist:
    • Purchase CORSIA-eligible credits for unassessed activity types.
    • Disclose due diligence processes aligning with all 10 Core Carbon Principles.
  4. Third-Party Assurance: The MRA (Measurement, Reporting and Assurance) Framework requires independent third-party assurance to provide integrity to the data and information submitted to make a VCMI Claim and ensure that:
    • Foundational Criteria met.
    • Claim-specific requirements met.
    • Key information about used carbon credits disclosed.

Benefits of The Claims Code of Practice:

  • Increased market confidence due to clearer understanding of how companies use carbon credits.


  • Setting and demonstrating for companies progress towards science-aligned targets and committing to net-zero by 2050.
  • Companies with innovative carbon procurement strategies potentially misaligned due to credit type restrictions and matching requirements.

Since the editor of this portal also administers a portal on climate regulation in the Russian Federation, in some cases relevant information for the Republic of Moldova may be copied from there.

This article was originally published at the link on the CarbonUnits.RU portal.