Carbon project developers have a new resource for integrating quantifiable women’s empowerment and social benefits into their carbon projects. WOCAN’s W+ Standard, the first global standard for quantifying women’s empowerment in project implementation, is partnering with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, the leading global standard for the voluntary carbon market, to offer Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) jointly labeled under both standards.

Through WOCAN and VCS, project developers using the VCS Program can apply the W+ standard to demonstrate contributions to women’s empowerment, advancing progress on Sustainable Development Goal #5 for gender equality and on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) interests.

Engaging and empowering women in project communities will create better project outcomes and improve lives. WOCAN is excited to collaborate with VCS and to enable credible, measurable social co-benefits in carbon projects.” – Jeannette Gurung, Executive Director, WOCAN

The W+ Standard is designed to be implemented with carbon or non-carbon projects in ways that are flexible, yet measurable and verifiable. It includes six specific categories to integrate and measure women’s empowerment results gained in relation to: Leadership, Health, Food Security, Time, Income & Assets, and Education & Knowledge. WOCAN sees the potential to drive investments to projects that support women’s empowerment and provide women with recognition and compensation for their contributions to climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and community development. Based on past performance of VCUs labeled with other additional benefits, projects that include the co-benefit of women’s empowerment to generate “W+ Labelled VCUs” are likely to be more highly valued in the marketplace.

VCS and WOCAN will be presenting this new partnership and product in New York City at Climate Week, on September 20th at 10:30am at the Carbon Forum North America, and from 1 – 3pm at the Hilton Garden Inn Park Avenue.

“At VCS, we understand the essential role of women and women’s work in addressing climate change and ensuring community resiliency. We are delighted to enter this new partnership with WOCAN to highlight those projects that empower women as they contribute to reducing carbon emissions.” – David Antonioli, CEO, VCS

VCS is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports ambitious action through standards frameworks that deliver significant social and environmental benefits within the context of climate change.

WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management) is a U.S.based 501 (c) (3) that is an international network of over 1200 members in 112 countries with offices in the US, Europe and Asia. WOCAN works with women’s groups to increase their access and control over resources, gain greater voice and decision making, and build effective relationships for knowledge sharing, leadership and the development of more gender-responsive policies, plans and budgets. WOCAN is the recipient of the 2016 United Nation’s Momentum for Change Women for Results award for the W+ Standard and its application to a biogas project in Nepal that saved over 7000 women over 2.2 hours/day and generated funds for local women’s groups.