Frequently Asked Questions

Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy

What is the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy?

It's a certification programme that allows programmes or projects that carry out circular economy activities, such as plastic recycling (among other activities), to generate Circular Economy Credits (CECs) that are equivalent to one ton of materials that were reduced and recirculated. These credits can be purchased by organizations that want to offset their environmental material footprint. 

The VPCE is an economic instrument for any organization with a circular economy programme or project to generate additional income from its activities.

What are Programmes or Projects on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM)?

These are initiatives for the recovery of materials along the value chain with which Circular Economy Credits (CEC) are traded, which finance environmental services of reduction and recirculation, their purpose is extended to the elimination of waste and pollution, the extension of the useful life of products and materials and the regeneration of natural systems.

Who operates the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy (VPCE)?

The Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy- VPCE is led by Cercarbono, a multidisciplinary organization and expert in the creation of programmes and initiatives to mitigate climate change in the voluntary carbon market, and Global Zero Waste, a leading organization in the development of international circular economy projects and standards in the material flow.

Who can register a project in the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy (VPCE)?

Any new or two-year retroactive circularity organization or initiative that can justify its additionality and applicability according to the methodology to be applied.

What are Circular Economy Credits (CEC)?

Circular Economy Credits (CEC) are international financing mechanisms that equate to the reduction or recirculation of one metric ton of materials. These credits provide a unique opportunity for organizations or consumers who wish to offset their material footprint and foster the development of Programs or Projects on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM). By acquiring these credits, stakeholders can actively contribute to the promotion of sustainable practices and the advancement of the circular economy.

Each reduced or recirculated ton certificate is identified with a unique serial number that contains all the PCEM information, guaranteeing the traceability and transparency required by this market.

What are the benefits of the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy (VPCE)?

It allows to increase and enhance programs or projects for the reduction and recirculation of materials, promote the optimization of materials in the biological and technological cycle, contribute to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promote a friendly, efficient and effective environment for the interaction of the actors involved and ensure transparency in the exchange and integration of data in the international market of Circular Economy Credits (CEC).

Is there any geographical limitation for the development of a Programme or Project on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM )?

Materials reduction or recirculation activities are accredited independently of their location, i.e. the Programmes or Projects on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM) can be developed anywhere in the world under the technical considerations of the programme. As it is an international programme, it promotes the participation of actors from all regions, encouraging interaction between their own markets.

Where can I register my Programme or Project on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM)?

The VPCE uses EcoRegistry as its registration platform for Programmes or Projects on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM). EcoRegistry is a platform based on blockchain technology that ensures transparency in the accounting of the voluntary materials circularity market and security and traceability in the management of information related to materials reduction or recirculation initiatives.

What activities apply to the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy (VPCE) ?

The activities of this programme are divided into two main groups: Reduction and Recirculation. These two categories can be specifically implemented according to the 9Rs of the circular economy: reduction (reject, rethink and reduce) and recirculation (reuse/repurpose, repair, refurbish, remanufacture, recover and recycle). However, their eligibility for the generation of Circular Economy Credits (CEC) depends on the methodology applied.

Who can use Circular Economy Credits (CEC)?

Circular Economy Credits (CECs) can be purchased by organizations or individual consumers who want to offset their material footprint, based on the premise that one CEC is equivalent to the reduction (reject, rethink and reduce) or recirculation (reuse/repurpose, repair, restore, remanufacture, recover and recycle) of one metric ton of materials. Through the commercialization of these certificates, material recovery and management projects can be financed, which will attract new resources to the communities involved and regions where the activities are carried out.

How many years is the retroactivity allowed for Programmes or Projects on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM)?

If the registration in the program is before July 31, 2024 the retroactivity will be counted from January 01, 2017 (6 and a half years), but if the registration is made from August 1, 2024 the retroactivity will be 3 years.

How long should the useful life of the Programmes or Projects on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM) be?

The useful life is at least 10 years.

How many times can the accreditation period be renewed?

The accreditation period for Programmes or Projects on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM) is 10 years, renewable once for a maximum of 10 years. In the case of the Programmes of Activities it will be a maximum of 20 years.

What is additionality?

Additionality means that, in the absence of the proposed Programme or Project on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM), the amount of materials recycled or recirculated by it would not have been removed from the environment or reintroduced into the value chain.

The additionality criterion is detailed in each of the methodologies, for example, for the plastic recycling methodology see the decision tree to demonstrate additionality: (Figure 1).

Can I use a methodology different from those established in the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy (VPCE)?

It's possible to use different methodologies as long as they take into account the material reduction and recirculation activities established in the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy (VPCE). These methodologies must be presented jointly or independently following the guidelines described in the PVEC Procedures document and be approved by Global Zero Waste and Cercarbon. 

In case the procedures established in the available methodologies do not cover any specific circumstance(s) of the Programme or Project on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM), the developer may request a methodological deviation, via e-mail: globalzerowaste@cercarbono.com

How much does a Circular Economy Credit or Circular Plastic Credit cost?

The value of a credit depends on the characteristics of the project, that is, the type of activity (reduction or recirculation), location, type of material, social and environmental impact, among others, which can add value to the credit. A Circular Economy Credit (CEC) represents one metric ton of materials reduced or recirculated.

Likewise, the value of the certificates will depend on the behavior of the international market and the existing demand.

Is it necessary to formally consult stakeholders on the Programme or Project on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM) during its development?

Yes, when the Programme or Project on Circular Economy Materials (PCEM) is developed with communities it must conduct a public consultation with stakeholders; in addition, when registered in the Voluntary Programme on Circular Economy (VPCE), the PCEM is subject to a public comment period for 30 days and interested parties can consult the project and make their comments.

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