The Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) is an innovative and flexible new standards framework that will enable projects to robustly measure, report and verify (MRV) their sustainable development contributions. It will support credible claims and, where appropriate, the creation of new environmental and social assets that could be monetized or otherwise valued.

Any project seeking to deliver benefits for people, for their prosperity and for the planet can use SD VISta. To facilitate global reporting by both projects and funders, SD VISta is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Application of SD VISta will be streamlined for use with the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards.

The first draft version of the standard will be released for public consultation in January 2018. The VCS is looking for interested project developers/representatives to pilot test this version of SD VISta between January 2018 and June 2018. The lessons of these pilots will be used to revise SD VISta before it is finalized and released for general use.

Why should project developers pilot SD VISta?

SD VISta provides a framework for the design of robust sustainable development projects. SD VISta can also help successful projects earn payments for performance, unlock new sources of finance and/or secure additional funds to scale-up existing activities. Third-party certification ensures that projects are really delivering social and environmental value and that SD VISta claims and assets are credible.

We encourage projects at any stage of development to contribute to the development of SD VISta by piloting the standard. Benefits of piloting include the following:

  • Demonstrate leadership in the sustainable development space as one of the first projects to work with SD VISta before it is widely available
  • Be recognized on SD VISta website as a pilot project, providing leadership visibility.
  • Get ahead in the design, validation and verification process to jumpstart formal application of the standard when publicly released, should that be desired.
  • Shape the design of the standard so that it is workable and meets the needs of projects like yours.

Objectives and process of piloting

The first draft version of SD VISta will be pilot tested to gain better understanding of the practical impacts of its implementation. In particular, pilots will focus on the requirements’ clarity and ease of use by project developers as well as their auditability. Testing the process for developing and certifying user-defined SD VISta claims and assets (social or environmental units) will also be a feature of piloting.

Pilot testing will consist of desk and potentially field assessments. VCS will work with pilot projects to determine which elements of SD VISta the project is ready to test and how the test will be conducted (i.e. desk or field review). VCS will provide some limited support to guide the SD VISta pilot to ensure the best outcome for development of the project and SD VISta itself. VCS cannot provide funding to projects that participate in piloting.

The responsibilities of projects selected to test SD VISta will be to provide project information to VCS, apply the standard and submit a final report by 30 June 2018.

Conditions and selection criteria of pilot projects

VCS aims to select a handful of projects for testing the first draft version of SD VISta. We intend to include a balanced mix of pilots and will consider the following characteristics of applicant projects:

  • Location: region, developed/developing country, rural/urban context, ecosystem(s)
  • Project developer type (e.g. Indigenous Peoples or traditional communities, NGO, private sector, government)
  • Stakeholders (those people and groups that can affect or be affected by the project)
  • Sector and activities
  • Desired claim(s) and asset(s), if any
  • Existing standards used by the project
  • Magnitude of potential sustainable development impact by project
  • Potential to scale and replicate the project and its approach more broadly

Next steps

If you are interested to participate in SD VISta pilot testing, please fill out and submit this form before 22 December 2017. (For a Word version of the form, please contact

You will hear whether or not you have been selected as one of the sites for pilot testing in early January 2018.

More information about SD VISta