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Controversy triggers need for higher integrity in global carbon credit markets

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Carbon finance: credibility crisis shows need to enhance trust and transparency in global markets, association says

A controversy over the accuracy of claims and benefits in green projects has galvanised efforts to enhance trust and transparency for investorsTrading platforms in Hong Kong and mainland China should endorse principles, assessment to boost integrity in global markets, association saysBusiness of climate changeEric NgPublished: 2:00pm, 3 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Voluntary carbon credit markets, including those in Hong Kong and mainland China, should adopt a newly launched global quality assessment regime to help address concerns about trust and transparency in climate funding, according to financial executives in the industry.A recent controversy surrounding the credibility of credits issued by Washington-based Verra in one key category – deforestation prevention projects – has raised the reputational alarm for investors with mandates to fund environmentally friendly projects.

“There is a lack of transparency, trust and understanding in the markets,” Tracy Wong Harris, executive vice-president of the Hong Kong Green Finance Association, said in an interview. “This explains the low trading volume and wide price range of credits, which reflect the perceived quality of the underlying projects, from the buyers’ perspective.”

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market in March launched its “Core Carbon Principles” (CCP) and an assessment framework that sets high-quality standards for carbon credits. It aims to ensure that the creation and usage of carbon credits are publicly quantifiable and traceable, while the environmental benefits verified by an independent third party.

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