We hope that 2015 is off to a good start for all of you. Here at the VCS we have some exciting news to share with you. First, we have a number of important internal updates that we want you to know about, especially the addition of some great new VCS Board members. Second, we want to highlight some very interesting work that is leveraging the power of the VCS Program, as well as the CCB Standards, to drive cost-effective and transformative emission reduction projects. Please read on.

New VCS Board members
We are delighted to announce that the VCS has added two new members to its Board of Directors. Nat Keohane, who is a Vice President for International Climate at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), brings to the VCS Board a wealth of experience related to climate change, particularly in respect of US and international climate and energy policy, and the design and performance of cap-and-trade programs and other policy instruments. Nat has a wide range of work experience, ranging from Associate Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Management to serving in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment in the National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council, and now to his current role at EDF.

Andrea Rudnick will also bring a wealth of experience to the VCS Board, particularly in respect of the international climate change negotiations and the design of climate change policies and measures. Andrea was Head of the Climate Change Office at the Ministry of Environment of Chile from 2010 to 2013, and most recently has served as the Latin America Liaison of the Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) Programme.

Both of these additions deepen the VCS Board’s expertise in respect of climate change, and also serve to broaden the wealth of knowledge that the VCS can rely on. We are particularly excited about having two very accomplished members of the climate policy and finance community join the VCS board as we look to the new challenges ahead.

Upcoming VCS Program update
Please note that we will be updating a few program documents in the second half of March. These updates will crystalize the changes we announced in our January announcement. For example, we will be updating theMethodology Approval Process document to include the procedure for methodology developers to submit a concept note early in the process, to ensure that only high-impact methodologies are accepted into the process.

We will also be releasing a number of minor updates which will go into effect immediately. For example, there are a few minor edits and clarifications we are making in response to folks asking for guidance on interpretation of some VCS rules.

We’ll be sure to let you know when the March program update is released. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at secretariat@v-c-s.org.

Change in VCS project database provider
We would like to inform you that, starting in mid-March, the VCS project database will be hosted by Markit. This transition will have no impact on the database itself, which will maintain the “look and feel” of the existing project database, nor on your VCS registry accounts held at APX or Markit. All data in the existing database is simply being transferred to a new database that will be hosted by Markit, and we do not anticipate any service disruption during the transition.

Work under VCS Program recognized by US EPA
We are thrilled to announce that the Chevrolet Clean Energy Campaign, which relied heavily on the VCS Program, has been awarded a Climate Leadership Award by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, as part of their effort to recognize trail-blazers in the fight against climate change.

As you may know, Chevrolet teamed up with the Climate Neutral Business Network to create the Chevrolet Clean Energy Campus Campaign and develop a VCS methodology that uses two modules to quantify the emission reductions from campus activities that either work to reduce emissions with campus-wide energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, or by implementing energy efficiency measures that demonstrate leadership performance amongst LEED certified buildings(Campus Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency methodology). Besides enabling a unique set of project activities, this methodology utilizes a performance benchmark to establish additionality, which both assures a robust accounting framework and reduces development costs. With this methodology in place, Chevrolet has leveraged carbon finance to fund a number of energy efficiency measures at college campuses across the U.S. Learn more about this innovative partnership here.

REDD+ projects using the VCS and CCB Standards play critical role in Stand for Trees campaign
Finally, we wanted to highlight a great initiative that launched recently, the Stand for Trees campaign. Stand for Trees enables individuals to contribute directly to projects that are aimed at protecting our global forests while also delivering tangible benefits to communities and critical habitats for certain species. All projects featured in the campaign are VCS REDD+ projects validated or verified to the CCB Standards, nine of which are ready for investment now through Stand for Trees. By using the power of social media and crowd funding, the Stand for Trees campaign enables everyone to take real and effective action to reduce deforestation and curb climate change.

Stand for Trees is a co-venture supported by the US Agency for International Development (US AID) and Code REDD. It is particularly exciting to see such a great example of the kind of innovative work that is possible from a public-private partnership. Getting the public involved in the effort to protect forests is a critical element in the global effort to fight climate change, and we are thrilled that VCS and CCB Standards projects are leading the way. I encourage each one of you to check out the website and consider participating, as well as sharing it with your networks to enable large-scale participation in this important initiative.

I hope that the momentum we are seeing towards action on climate change is maintained, and that we see progress throughout the year as we move towards the negotiations in Paris at the end of the year. From our vantage point at the VCS, I am delighted that we keep strengthening the organization and that the work we do is being used to great effect.