Data and Insights: Colombia

VCS Quarterly Update

ISSUE #1 - Q2/2020
Para leer en español haga click aquí.

Colombia approved a National Carbon Tax on fossil fuels in late 2016. In a decree released in 2017, Colombia subsequently approved an innovative measure that allows high-quality carbon credits to be used against the new carbon tax, allowing entities to offset 100% of their tax liability. Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) from projects certified against the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program meet the rules and requirements set out in the 2017 decree.

The Colombian carbon tax mechanism has the potential to drive finance to projects that are protecting the environment and that are supporting poor and marginalized rural and indigenous communities. These projects are also likely to generate sustainable development benefits, such as reduced poverty and the promotion of sustainable cities and communities. Last but not least, By leveraging existing high-quality standards programs like the VCS, the mechanism provides confidence in the results-based financing model embodied by carbon markets.

Over the past few years, Verra has been collaborating with the national government and other key entities in Colombia to further develop and strengthen the national market for high-quality carbon credits.

Up-to-date data and analysis can inform important decisions and illuminate market dynamics, and we are therefore pleased to share the first edition of the quarterly Data and Insights for the Colombian Market. This inaugural issue covers cumulative data through June 2020, with a specific focus on the first two quarters in 2020, including the types of projects being developed, VCUs issued and retired, as well as credits being used in both the voluntary and compliance markets.

Main Takeaways

Substantial increase in project registrations applications, as well as validation and verification

The 2017 decree spurred a substantial increase in project registration applications, as well as validation and verification. Since 2017, 17 new projects have applied for certification, this represents the 32% of the total registered projects in Colombia (53 projects in the Country).

2018 saw the highest number of VCU issuances

The year 2018 saw the highest number of VCU issuances so far, more than 9 million tons have been issued and retired in Colombia, an increase of 16% compared to 2019.

AFOLU Projects are increasing quickly

Projects in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use sector are increasing faster than others. There are now 17 AFOLU projects, compared to 22 energy projects, 2 manufacturing projects and 2 waste projects). In addition to generating GHG emission reductions, these projects offer a host of co-benefits, such as the protection of biodiversity, reduced poverty, improved access to education, and others. REDD+ is the sector with more registered projects in the country.

VCS Data and Insights: Colombia - Q2/2020
This chart includes cumulative data about VCS projects in Colombia.
Project Total
Transferred* 1
Under Development 9
Under Validation 3
Pipeline 7
Registered 35
*Projects whose credits were transferred from another GHG program
28,834,563 Expected Annual Reductions from All Projects in Colombia
Summary Totals to Date
VCU Issuances* (Total to Date)

*One VCU represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent that was removed from the atmosphere or not emitted.

Greenhouse gas equivalencies for emission reductions and removals were calculated using the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

VCUs Globally
cars taken off the road
for a year
21,508,375 VCUs from Projects in Colombia (& equivalent)
Hover with your cursor over the bar to see what these emission reductions are equivalent to
VCU Issuances by Project Type
Project Type VCUs Percentage of Total
AFOLU* 21,125,660 98.2%
Energy 362,993 1.7%
Waste 19,722 0.1%
*Agriculture, Forestry, and Land Use
VCU Issuances by AFOLU* Project Type
Project Type VCUs Percentage of Total
REDD 20,519,436 97.1%
ARR 606,224 2.9%

ALM – Agricultural Land Management
ARR – Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegation
IFM – Improved Forest Management
REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
WRC – Wetland Restoration and Conservation

*AFOLU – Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use
VCU Issuances by Year
*The Colombian carbon tax was implemented at the end of 2016.
VCUs that have been purchased and taken off the market forever; a retired VCU represents a carbon offset.
13,474,999 VCUs
cars taken off the road
for a year
1,071,244 VCUs Retired for Voluntary Purposes
12,403,755 VCUs Retired for Compliance Purposes