The Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) facilitates large-scale investment in sustainable development.
The Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) is the premier standard for certifying the real-world benefits of social and environmental projects, from gender equity and economic development to affordable clean energy and restoration of wildlife.
SD VISta aims to facilitate large-scale investment in sustainable development by providing developers and investors with reliable data on the social and environmental benefits of their projects.
Using world-class systems, a project’s benefits are not only logged but also independently verified for their impact, meaning all stakeholders can have full trust in their credibility and value. SD VISta is the only certification standard that uses expert, third-party auditors to verify that a project advances the global Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations.
All SD VISta projects will be subject to assessment by qualified independent third parties to ensure that they meet the rules and requirements of the SD VISta Program.
Projects may use any method to meet the core SD VISta requirements. Verra will provide guidance on appropriate methodologies and, in cases where projects generate SD VISta assets, Verra will approve methodologies.
Verra tracks and makes publicly available data on all SD VISta projects. The Verra registry tracks the generation, retirement, and cancellation of any SD VISta asset as well as all Verified Carbon Units that bear a SD VISta label, which indicates that an emission reduction unit was generated during a SD VISta-verified period.
Looking to develop a project using the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta)? This section outlines important information you should know before you begin.
1. Before You Begin
Before designing an SD VISta project, familiarize yourself with the process and requirements:
Any project that aims to deliver sustainable development benefits can be registered in the SD VISta program.
Project proponents must have a thorough understanding of the project area and the causes of the conditions they seek to address.
For a project to be eligible in the SD VISta Program it must have clearly defined sustainable development objectives, a means to monitor progress towards those objectives, and periodically demonstrate that progress.
A project must involve communities and stakeholders through full and effective participation.
SD VISta is the only certification standard that uses third-party expert auditors to verify that a project advances the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the United Nations (UN).
Verified impact data on how projects are working to achieve the SDGs is currently missing–but critical to tracking the progress toward the goals. Through transparent documentation, human and natural capital safeguards, and independent third-party assessment, projects demonstrate that their impacts align with the UN SDGs.
SD VISta enables businesses, governments, and investors to measure, track, and report the full range of sustainable development benefits they have contributed to, safeguarding them against accusations of greenwashing. Because a project’s benefits are documented and independently verified for their impact using world-class systems, stakeholders can trust their credibility and value.
SD VISta aims to facilitate large-scale investment in sustainable development by providing developers and investors with reliable data on the social and environmental benefits of their projects. The SD VISta program independently verifies a project’s sustainable development benefits, which is increasingly demanded by donors and investors.
SD VISta encourages investment in a broad range of social and environmental projects–beyond just carbon–as companies look to invest in projects that deliver sustainable development benefits.
SD VISta channels finance to projects that advance the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Projects are not limited to implementing activities that specifically target one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),but are encouraged to implement any sustainable development activities and then report on how the activities contribute to the 17 SDGs. When possible, SD VISta encourages projects to align their activities or monitoring with the targets and indicators of the SDGs, as well as with any goals or targets set by the host country of the project activities.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 SDGs will require major investment to be achieved: approximately $5 trillion to $7 trillion per year between 2015 and 2030.1 Finance from government funds, grants, and official development assistance will be insufficient to fill this financial gap.
The annual SDG Progress report issued by the UN Secretary General indicates that the Goals are not on track of being achieved by 2030. The scaling up of projects working toward the goals, such as those certified by SD VISta, is critical and must continue beyond 2030.
SD VISta can help drive finance to these projects and help advance sustainable development.
The SD VISta Program applies to any project type that delivers sustainable development benefits. Examples of project types include agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), ecosystem-based adaptation, energy efficiency, food security, health care, housing, cooking technologies, infrastructure, renewable energy, sustainable livelihoods, sustainable tourism, transportation, water access, and women’s empowerment.
SD VISta enables projects to make verified claims about their sustainable development benefits. Projects can also elect to issue SD VISta labels or SD VISta assets. Verified claims provide assurance to individuals or organizations that support, or are considering supporting a project, that the project’s impacts are real and have not been inflated or manipulated for marketing purposes.
An SD VISta claim is a verifiable statement about a specific sustainable development benefit directly resulting from project design and implementation. All projects certified by SD VISta can make claims about the benefits generated by their activities. SD VISta claims cannot be registered as units, traded, or retired.
An SD VISta label is a permanent marker that is added to social or environmental units issued by another program. Labels enable investors and unit buyers to identify projects which have achieved net positive sustainable development benefits. A successful verification under both the SD VISta Program and a program that supports SD VISta labeling (e.g., the VCS Program) enables the addition of an SD VISta label to the other program’s units (e.g., VCUs) when listed on a registry.
SD VISta assets are standardized, transactable units representing one or more of a project’s sustainable development benefits. These assets are issued after verification in the Verra registry and can be traded or retired. To generate SD VISta assets, projects must be certified using an approved SD VISta asset methodology that quantifies specific social or environmental benefits.
SD VISta methodologies set out the assumptions, parameters, and procedures associated with measuring, monitoring, and reporting of specific sustainable development benefits that can be issued as SD VISta assets. They also provide detailed procedures for quantifying the real-world environmental and/or social benefits of the project and provide guidance for determining project boundaries, setting baseline scenarios, monitoring the benefits, and ultimately quantifying the sustainable development benefits as assets.
Up-to-date information on SD VISta project methodologies can be found on the Methodologies page.
What is the process for development of new methodologies?
Project developers can choose to develop their own SD VISta asset methodology through the SD VISta methodology approval process. For more information about the criteria for SD VISta asset methodologies, see the Sustainable Development Verifiable Impact Standard.
From planning to registration, it typically takes 1-2 years to certify a project in the SD VISta program. Please note that timelines vary depending on the individual circumstances of a project.
SD VISta project development costs vary depending on the circumstances and fall into three categories:
Verra fees as outlined in Section 2 of the SD VISta Program Fee Schedule.
Project development fees include project development and operations, monitoring, and consultants fees.
Auditing fees payable directly to the VVB.
As a standard-setting body, Verra does not track external costs (project development and auditing fees).
Yes, SD VISta can be used to label credits from other Verra standards if the verifications cover the same monitoring period. Verra is currently developing combined SD VISta and VCS templates.
Yes, if the standard or crediting program is approved by Verra, the project can be certified in the SD VISta program and the issued credits can receive the SD VISta label.
The CCB Program and SD VISta Program both assess the social and environmental impacts of projects. The CCB Program only applies to agriculture, forestry, and land use (AFOLU) projects, and requires that a project generates net climate, community, and biodiversity benefits. SD VISta applies to any project that wishes to demonstrate contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Verra will soon offer the option for rojects to be certified in both programs.