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Bain & Company makes highest integrity carbon credit claim under VCMI rulebook


First platinum claim under VCMI's guidance for carbon offsets

Adoption of integrity initiatives to pick up in 2024

More corporate claims expected in coming months

  • Author
  • Eklavya Gupte
  • Editor
  • Dan Lalor
  • Commodity
  • Energy Transition Metals
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  • Gold
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  • Emissions and Carbon Intensity Energy Transition

Global consultancy Bain & Company has made the first platinum-tiered carbon integrity claim under guidance issued by Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative (VCMI) aimed to help buyers navigate carbon offsets.

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It was the first instance of corporate applying for the highest level of quality claims under VCMI's Carbon Integrity Claims, which aims to bring integrity to the demand side of voluntary carbon markets, the industry body said Feb. 26.

"This is a crucial step in fostering a high-integrity voluntary carbon market and shows how corporate decarbonization and the use of VCMs can complement each other to accelerate the transition to net zero," VCMI executive director Mark Kenber said.

"Today marks a milestone in corporate climate action as Bain & Company make the first Carbon Integrity Claim. Their role as a first mover paves the way for other companies to step up and demonstrates true climate leadership."

The Carbon Integrity Claims, which have also been divided into silver, gold or platinum tiers, are designed to indicate if companies are going beyond science-aligned emissions cuts through the additional use of high-quality offsets.

They contain guidelines for companies so they can engage in voluntary carbon markets with more confidence.

Platinum, the most aspirational tier, requires the purchase and retirement of high-quality carbon credits equal to or greater than 100% of remaining emissions, compared with gold and silver, which require equal to or greater than 50% to less than 100%, and greater than 10% to less than 50%, respectively, of a company's remaining emissions.

"Bain & Company makes a carbon integrity platinum claim, demonstrating its progress on internal decarbonization and going above and beyond with investment in high-integrity carbon credits," it said.

Growing scrutiny

This comes as the voluntary carbon market finds itself under severe criticism in recent years, with several media outlets and academics questioning the efficacy of carbon projects and credits.

Market participants are banking on such integrity initiatives to restore some trust and confidence in carbon offset though many expect the recovery to be gradual.

In an interview with S&P Global Commodity Insights, Kenber said the market was starting to recover this year with a series of integrity initiatives start to be adopted by the market.

The VCMI was expecting more companies to make VCMI claims in the coming months, Kenber said.

Last year, VCMI released a Monitoring, Reporting and Assurance Framework and a Carbon Integrity Claims last year, which encourages corporates to increase their participation in the voluntary carbon markets.

VCMI also launched a beta version of a Scope 3 Flexibility claim to aid companies in taking responsibility for their Scope 3 emissions.

The growing scrutiny has affected prices of several carbon offsets, but number of credit issuances and retirements are starting to pick up.

Platts, part of S&P Global, assessed nature-based avoidance carbon credits at $4.30/mtCO2e on Feb. 23, up 10 cents/mtCO2e from the previous day, which was a record low.