Data and Insights

VCS Quarterly Update

Issue #6 - Q1/2021

This Data & Insights brief provides information for January-March 2021 (Q1/2021) about project registrations and credit issuances and retirements under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program.

Main Takeaways

Highest quarterly issuance ever

More Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) — 65,210,258 — were issued in Q1/2021 than in any previous quarter in the history of the VCS Program. After a slow start in January, issuances accelerated in February and March. In March alone, over 38 million VCUs were issued — 10 million more than any other single month.

AFOLU issuances surpass non-AFOLU issuances

In Q1/2021, 67.5% of issued VCUs were from the Agriculture, Forestry, and Land-Use (AFOLU) sector. This is roughly consistent with the trend in 2017-2019, when 60-65% of issued VCUs were from the AFOLU sector. In this context, last year’s figure (38%) appears to be anomalous.

Retirements increase at a higher rate

The historical average rate of increase in retirements has been 6.5% from one quarter to the next. In Q1/2021, the rate increased 10.3% compared to Q4/2020.

VCS Data and Insights – Q1/2021
Projects
2,022
total projects
1,697
projects registered
325
projects in the pipeline*
*A pipeline project is a project in the early phases of project development and implementation that is listed on the Verra registry and is currently undergoing or has completed its 30-day public comment period.
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

605,454,284
VCUs
131,674,145
cars taken off the road
for a year
335,519,569 Non-AFOLU* VCUs
269,934,715 AFOLU* VCUs
177,774,713 AFOLU* VCUs with CCB Label**
Hover with your cursor over the bar to see what these emission reductions are equivalent to
*AFOLU – Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use
**VCUs with the CCB label were issued by projects that are validated to the CCB Standards and have verified climate, community and biodiversity benefits for the same verification period in which the VCUs were generated.
AFOLU and Non-AFOLU Issuances Over Time
AFOLU Issuances
Non-AFOLU Issuances
Total Issuances
AFOLU Issuances
Non-AFOLU Issuances
Retirements to Date
VCUs that have been purchased and taken off the market forever; a retired VCU represents a carbon offset
340,002,843
VCUs
73,943,789
cars taken off the road
for a year
212,843,468 Non-AFOLU* VCUs
127,159,375 AFOLU* VCUs
64,462,684 AFOLU* VCUs with CCB Label**
*AFOLU – Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use
**VCUs with the CCB label were issued by projects that are validated to the CCB Standards and have verified climate, community and biodiversity benefits for the same verification period in which the VCUs were generated.
Project-Specific Data
Projects by Region
Region Projects Percentage of Total
Asia 1,176 69.3%
North America 96 5.7%
South and Central America 259 15.3%
Oceania 8 0.5%
Africa 104 6.1%
Europe 54 3.2%
VCU Issuances by Region
Region VCUs Percentage of Total
Asia 361,751,476 59.7%
North America 30,407,258 5%
South and Central America 128,613,276 21.2%
Oceania 2,008,511 0.3%
Africa 71,462,599 11.8%
Europe 11,211,164 1.9%
AFOLU* Projects
by Region
Region Projects Percentage of Total
Asia 48 23.8%
North America 10 5%
South and Central America 88 43.6%
Oceania 6 3%
Africa 50 24.8%
Europe 0 0%
AFOLU* VCU Issuances
by Region
Region VCUs Percentage of Total
Asia 88,948,248 33%
North America 4,390,794 1.6%
South and Central America 108,979,808 40.4%
Oceania 1,927,135 0.7%
Africa 65,688,730 24.3%
Europe 0 0%
*AFOLU – Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use
AFOLU* Projects by Project Type
Type Projects Percentage of Total
WRC 1 0.5%
REDD 79 39.1%
ALM 4 2%
IFM 21 10.4%
ARR 97 48%
VCU Issuances by AFOLU* Project Type
Type VCUs Percentage of Total
WRC 28,981,028 10.7%
REDD 213,893,384 79.2%
ALM 325,825 0.1%
IFM 6,765,389 2.5%
ARR 18,560,515 6.9%
*AFOLU – Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use

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