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ICROA affiliates are able to demonstrate the quality, integrity and credibility that is essential for successful carbon offset programmes. 

The ICROA Code of Best Practice is established as the benchmark of quality for carbon management and offset service providers.  Affiliates are audited annually to ensure their activities adhere to the Code.

  View the ICROA Audit Status page for our affiliates.

The voluntary carbon market has become an established and important component of climate change mitigation.  With clear rules and standards to ensure quality, companies that are committed to leading action on climate change use carbon offset programmes as part of a broader carbon management strategy to guarantee immediate, effective emissions reductions while delivering value to their business.

As part of its Code of Best Practice, ICROA only recognises carbon standards for carbon offsetting that meet its stringent specifications, and are reviewed annually to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria and requirements. The standards that appear as endorsed or conditionally endorsed below are the only standards that adhere to the ICROA Code of Best Practice. 

ICROA recognized standards are :

Endorsed UN and Government Standards:

Endorsed Independent Standards:

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Joint Implementation (JI)

American Carbon Registry

Climate Action Reserve

Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) of the Australian Government

UK Woodland Carbon Code

Gold Standard

Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Conditionally Endorsed** Independent Standards:


Global Carbon Council (GCC)

These standards are widely recognised by experts and policy makers as the most rigorous.  They include criteria to ensure carbon credits (also known as Verified Emission Reductions – VERs) sold meet criteria to ensure they are Real, Measurable, Unique, Independently verified, Permanent and Additional.  These standards all have independent registries that allow the carbon credits to be tracked using their serial numbers for origination to retirement.

ICROA also endorses use of the Social Carbon Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) Standard to ensure best practice in environmental and social assessment when combined with one of the carbon credit standards listed above.

Endorsement and Review Process

New Standards for carbon offsetting projects may be proposed at any time to be included in our official review sessions for potential inclusion as an ICROA endorsed standard. We ask Standards to refrain from communicating any association with ICROA, including publishing statements such as 'pending ICROA endorsement', 'adheres to the ICROA Code of Best Practice' or 'In Line with the ICROA Code of Best Practice' until official feedback regarding endorsement is communicated by the ICROA Secretariat. For further information on the process, necessary documentation for application and review schedule, please contact the ICROA Secretariat.

Endorsed Standards are required to proactively inform ICROA of any updates or changes on an annual basis before Q3 of each year, along with the supporting documentation for an official technical review. Failure to do so may result in exclusion from the Code. For more information, please contact the ICROA Secretariat.

** Conditional Endorsement is attributed to Standards that meet ICROA criteria for endorsement, and are pending the achievement of set threshold values in order to validate the full operationalisation of the Programme (e.g. registered projects, issued credits, etc). ICROA Affiliates can use carbon credits from conditionally endorsed standards and will be Code compliant. For more details, please contact the ICROA Secretariat.

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