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ICVCM Framework

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The Core Carbon Principles (CCPs)

The Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) are a global benchmark for high-integrity carbon credits that set rigorous thresholds on disclosure and sustainable development. Developed with input from hundreds of organizations throughout the voluntary carbon market, the CCPs provide a credible and rigorous means of identifying high-integrity carbon credits that create real, verifiable climate impact, based on the latest science and best practice. High-integrity carbon credits can unlock urgently needed finance to reduce and remove billions of tonnes of emissions. The world is on track for 2.6°C warming by 2100. We need every tool available working at full speed to secure a liveable future. A high-integrity voluntary carbon market is one important tool that can help finance the transition to 1.5°C.

What are the Core Carbon Principles?

The 10 Core Carbon Principles

What makes a carbon credit ‘high integrity’? In consultation with stakeholders across the market, the Integrity Council has developed 10 Core Carbon Principles which set out the key principles for high-integrity carbon credits:

A. Governance

Effective governance

The carbon-crediting program shall have effective program governance to ensure transparency, accountability, continuous improvement, and the overall quality of carbon credits.


The carbon-crediting program shall operate or make use of a registry to uniquely identify, record and track mitigation activities and carbon credits issued to ensure credits can be identified securely and unambiguously.


C. Sustainable Development

The carbon-crediting program shall provide comprehensive and transparent information on all credited mitigation activities. The information shall be publicly available in electronic format and shall be accessible to non-specialised audiences, to enable scrutiny of mitigation activities.

Robust independent third-party validation and verification

The carbon-crediting program shall have program-level requirements for robust independent third-party validation and verification of mitigation activities.

B. Emissions Impact


The greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall be additional, i.e., they would not have occurred in the absence of the incentive created by carbon credit revenues.


The GHG emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall be permanent or, where there is a risk of reversal, there shall be measures in place to address those risks and compensate reversals.

Robust quantification of emission reductions and removals

The GHG emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall be robustly quantified, based on conservative approaches, completeness, and scientific methods.

No double counting

The GHG emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall not be double counted, i.e., they shall only be counted once towards achieving mitigation targets or goals. Double counting covers double issuance, double claiming, and double use.

Sustainable development benefits and safeguards

The carbon-crediting program shall have clear guidance, tools, and compliance procedures to ensure mitigation activities conform with or go beyond widely established industry best practices on social and environmental safeguards while delivering positive sustainable development impacts.

Contribution toward net zero transition

The mitigation activity shall avoid locking-in levels of GHG emissions, technologies or carbon-intensive practices that are incompatible with the objective of achieving net zero GHG emissions by mid-century.

The Assessment Framework

The CCPs are operationalised through the Assessment Framework, which provides rigorous criteria and decision tools for each principle. Carbon credits will receive the CCP label only if both the carbon-crediting program that issued them and the credit category are assessed by the Integrity Council and meet its criteria for high-integrity (climate, environmental and social) set out in the CCPs.


The Integrity Council’s Core Carbon Principles Assessment Framework sets out the detailed criteria it will use to assess whether carbon-crediting programs and categories of carbon credits meet the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs). Carbon-crediting programs assessed as CCP-eligible will be able to use the CCP label on carbon credits from approved categories. Programs can apply for assessment by submitting evidence that they meet the CCPs through the Integrity Council’s application portal.

What is the Assessment Framework?

The Assessment Framework sets a robust, achievable threshold that aims to raise standards across the voluntary carbon market to a consistent level of quality. This follows the publication in March 2023 of the Core Carbon Principles, Assessment Framework for carbon-crediting programs, and Assessment Procedure.

The Assessment Framework criteria

The Assessment Framework lays out the criteria that carbon-crediting programs and categories must meet to quality for the CCP label.

Credits must fund projects to reduce and remove emissions that are:

Compatible with a transition to net zero. The framework rules out projects that lock in emissions. Permanent. Projects must compensate for any reversals that happen within 40 years. Additional. Reductions and removals would not have happened without carbon credit revenue. Robustly quantified. The emissions impact must be measured conservatively to minimize the risk of overestimation.

The aim of the Assessment Framework

To ensure the voluntary carbon market accelerates a just transition to 1.5°C, the Integrity Council has developed an Assessment Framework for carbon-crediting programs and categories of carbon credits. If programs and categories meet the criteria laid out in the Assessment Framework, they are assessed as CCP-eligible and given the CCP label.
The CCP label is designed to build trust in the voluntary carbon market and unlock investment by making it easy for buyers to recognize and put a price on a high-integrity carbon credit no matter which carbon crediting program issued it, what kind of credit it is, or where it is generated. This aims to set and maintain a voluntary global threshold standard for quality in the voluntary carbon market