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Bain & Co, BCG and Natura among early adopters of climate claims integrity initiative

The VCMI Claims Code of Practice was released last June to lift the quality of climate claim based on carbon offsets.
Melodie Michel
VCMI Claims Code of Practice aims to improve climate claim integrity
Photo by Brian Garrity on Unsplash

Five companies have joined the Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity (VCMI) Initiative’s early adopters programme to accelerate the implementation of its Claims Code of Practice, which aims to improve the integrity of climate claims based on carbon offsets.

The Claims Code of Practice was published by VCMI last June to lift the quality of companies’ climate claims amidst growing scrutiny over the use of carbon offsets. It lays out foundational criteria companies must meet to make credible claims (such as having an SBTi-approved decarbonisation target) and divides those claims into tiers based on the proportion of the carbon footprint being offset through credits.

Early adopters include Bain & Company, BCG, Better Drinks, Natura and Sendle, all of which will receive hands-on support from VCMI to understand Claims Code requirements over the next two months. They will also get the opportunity to test recently-developed tools and guidance, such as the VCMI Monitoring, Reporting, and Assurance (MRA) Framework for climate claims – set to be released on November 28

High-integrity climate claims against greenwashing

Not all of these companies are expected to make a claim at the end of the process, though most have a goal of buying high-integrity carbon credits as part of their climate efforts. Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura, for example, was one of the first companies to make a carbon neutrality claim in 2007, and purchased 356,800 carbon credits in 2021.

João Teixeira, Climate Action Manager at Natura, said the company’s strategy includes “prioritising investments to decarbonise our value chain but also investing in climate solutions outside of it, particularly in protecting the Amazon Forest and regeneration of nature”. 

“We are committed to delivering valuable societal benefits when buying high-integrity carbon credits and through the [early adopters programme] we actively support VCMI in improving transparency and trust in their use. This enhances our contribution to fighting climate change beyond our value chain, ultimately guiding us towards a net zero economy,” he added.  

Time for corporate action for a reformed carbon market

Speaking to CSO Futures last month, VCMI Director of Policy and Partnerships Lydia Sheldrake said it was time for companies to get involved in carbon market integrity efforts led by the likes of VCMI and the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM).

“We've been working on these frameworks to bring integrity, and I think the critical thing now is action. The time is now to really demonstrate how this has impact, and for that we need corporates to take action. That's really where there's a critical role for Chief Sustainability Officers in organisations to be part of that collective action momentum.”

She added that VCMI’s top priority in the coming months would be to roll out widespread adoption of the Claims Code among companies “to the benefit of global climate action”.