Program updates, VCU-tagging policy, new REDD methodology approved

Letter from CEO David Antonioli

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

July is shaping up to be an interesting month with developments from two major players: California and Australia. While some were disappointed by California’s moves to delay the obligation for compliance entities by one year, at VCS we are happy to see a state this important take the time to get the details right. In the meantime, Australia’s proposal to tax major carbon polluters and move to market-based emissions trading in 2015 has sent a bold signal that climate action is not going away.

At VCS, we will roll out some minor updates to the Version 3 documents in July and also a formal policy for tagging VCUs with additional certifications. In addition, VCS has approved a comprehensive new REDD methodology developed by Brazil’s Sustainable Amazon Foundation (FAS) and the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund. Read more about our policy updates and the new methodology below.

Also please note that public consultation closes on 23 July for updates to AFOLU leakage requirements and requirements for projects that will avoid conversion of grasslands and shrublands. We encourage stakeholders to review the updates and submit comments.


David Antonioli

Program Updates

Minor updates to VCS version 3 – to be incorporated directly into documents

On 15 July, we released the first updates to the VCS version 3 documents. These are mostly minor updates focused on extending and streamlining dates for project validation. Importantly, all updates are incorporated directly into the relevant documents (updated documents are labeled v3.1), with all updates listed in an appendix. In addition, a complete history of all v3 document updates is posted on our website.

Going forward, we will aim to make updates no more than quarterly. In the case of major updates, we will set out grace periods to allow projects time to adapt. For all updates, please see our Find a Program Document page.

VCU tagging policy: a formal vehicle for linking certifications

On 15 July, we will release a formal policy for tagging VCUs with additional certifications. We have long had an informal policy governing this, and dozens of projects have been successfully developed and tagged with additional certifications like the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCB) and Social Carbon.

We hope having a formal policy will make it easier for projects to develop and tag VCUs with additional certifications from the start – and also open a clear path for other standards and programs to link into the VCS crediting system. Tagging VCUs with additional certifications provides a way for projects to respond to buyer demand for VCUs with specific characteristics. For more information see our Linked Programs page.

AFOLU requirements for grasslands and leakage – consultation ends 23 July!

On 23 July, the public consultation period will come to a close for pending updates to AFOLU leakage requirements and new requirements for projects that would avoid the conversion of grasslands and shrublands (ACoGS). We encourage all stakeholders to review these updates and submit any comments in advance of the deadline. All proposed updates are integrated directly into the AFOLU Requirements consultation document, where they are highlighted in red. The ACoGS requirements appear throughout the document in the relevant sections. The updates were drafted by technical experts and underwent peer review and review by the VCS AFOLU Steering Committee. Please submit your comments to

New methodology pipeline

Approved: Brazil’s FAS + World Bank team up on new REDD methodology

On 12 July, a new and comprehensive REDD methodology was approved for use under the VCS program. The methodology was developed along two parallel tracks by Brazil’s Sustainable Amazonas Foundation (FAS) and the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund. As the work matured, the two entities decided to merge their efforts to create a single, comprehensive methodology addressing unplanned deforestation, whether mosaic, frontier or both. Read more

Open for Comment: Revised REDD Module includes new monitoring methods

On 1 July, a revision to Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use module, VMD0015 Methods for Monitoring of GHG Emission Reductions and Removals, was posted for a 30-day public consultation. The revision includes additional monitoring methods for degradation from natural disturbance and degradation from FSC-certified selective logging. Comments should be submitted by 30 July 2011 to the VCS website.

VCS Association updates

Interest in REDD on display at Africa Carbon Forum in July

On 4-6 July, VCS staff answered dozens of questions at the Africa Carbon Forum in Marrakesh. AFOLU Manager Naomi Swickard joined a panel discussion on how carbon finance can play a role in supporting efforts to curb emissions from agriculture and forestry activities. Senior Program Officer Carolyn Ching answered questions about new requirements for crediting grasslands and shrublands, among other issues. Read more about our new requirements for the Avoided Conversion of Grasslands and Shrublands.


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