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It has been about half a year since we rebranded as Verra, and in late October we had the chance to bring together our new, expanded Verra team for the first time. We spent three days in a set of rustic cabins near Shenandoah National Park a few hours away from Washington, DC, reflecting on our work and the path ahead.
Our retreat took place two weeks after the IPCC released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC, which, needless to say, was another reminder of the more-than-urgent need to tackle global GHG emissions. For us at Verra, the IPCC report is also a reminder that addressing climate change has to be coupled with actions supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. Not only will this help demonstrate that ambitious climate action can also result in more jobs, increased energy access, access to sustainable transportation, and health improvements, but it will help drive finance towards climate action and sustainable development. This broader outlook is at the very center of our work and is illustrated by the growing number of VCS projects that are using the CCB Standards, and also by our work on the Landscape Standard and by the upcoming launch of the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (more on that below).
As I write this, all eyes are also on the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, which has been called “Paris 2.0” and where the focus will be on making the Paris Agreement operational. In light of the IPCC report, this step will be critical to the future of our planet.
We have a lot of work to do and time is of the essence. Please read on to learn about how Verra is working to address important challenges of our times.
David Antonioli, CEO, Verra
VCS Program Advisory Group – Invitation to Apply
We announced a few weeks ago that we are establishing a VCS Program Advisory Group and are currently accepting applications from prospective members. The purpose of the group will be to provide strategic guidance on the evolution of the VCS Program, including updates to the content of the VCS rules, and to provide insights into the needs of a range of users of the VCS Program. The group will also advise on existing and prospective market opportunities, such as those under CORSIA, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and various domestic markets (e.g., Colombia, South Africa). Establishment of this group is part of a broader effort to establish similar groups for each of our standards. Applications for membership will be open until 7 December 2018.
Please visit the Verra website for a copy of the VCS Program Advisory Group Terms of Reference, which includes information on how to apply. If you have any questions, please send them to VCS Program Manager, Sam Hoffer.
Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard to Launch in January
We’re excited to share the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) with you very soon – watch out for its launch in January!
As part of our effort to further refine SD VISta before its launch, we have visited a number of projects around the world to see first-hand how developers are using the standard. For example, Senior Program Officer John Holler recently traveled to South Africa to visit a Conservation South Africa project that is supporting communities transitioning to more sustainable grazing practices that help improve their livelihoods. Conservation South Africa plans to use SD VISta to have the project’s impacts independently assessed in order to attract additional financing so they can replicate and scale these activities in the region. For a full description of the site visit check out John’s blog “SD VISta Pilot Project: Transformational Change of Land and Livestock Management“. For a list of all SD VISta pilot projects, click here.
We couldn’t have developed it without the support of the SD VISta Standard Development Advisory Committee and all the great input from a number of projects piloting the standard. We thank all of you for your hard work and dedication over the past fifteen months!
Verra Welcomes Mandy Rambharos to Board of Directors
We are delighted to welcome Mandy Marilyn Rambharos to Verra’s Board of Directors. Mandy is the Head of Climate Change and Sustainable Development for Eskom Holdings LTD SOC (Eskom), the national state-owned electricity utility of South Africa, and also represents Eskom at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the UN Global Compact. In addition, Mandy is a specialist advisor to the South African government on energy and climate change-related issues, and also a member of the South African delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), leading the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 negotiations for the country and co-leading the “African Group of Negotiators” to the UNFCCC. She brings a wealth of experience in both the carbon and the sustainable development arenas to the organization, and we very much look forward to having her on our Board of Directors.
The Landscape Standard Has a New Senior Manager
We are excited to announce that the Landscape Standard now has a Senior Manager. Dave Kramer will be overseeing the development of the Landscape Standard, leading Verra’s cooperation with Rainforest Alliance, the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), and other partners. He will also be managing Verra’s LS staff and grants.
Prior to joining Verra, Dave ran his own consultancy called ReImagine Impact International. Prior to that he was the Director of Strategy and Impact at EcoLogic Development Fund, a Boston-based NGO focused on empowering communities to lead the conservation of critical ecosystems in Mexico and Central America. While at EcoLogic, he began two engagements that he continues to be involved in: serving as a co-lead for the Conservation Coaches Network’s (CCNet) Mesoamerica franchise and helping to plan the Mesoamerican Landscapes Dialogue with EcoAgriculture Partners and the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. Before that, Dave was a secondary school teacher in Cali, Colombia, and he remains dedicated to the country in numerous ways, helping to ensure that sustainable management of its natural wealth figures prominently in its post-conflict recovery. We are excited to have Dave on board!
Come and See Us at COP24 in Katowice and at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn!
Verra staff look forward to seeing you in Katowice, Poland, at COP24. David Antonioli, Naomi Swickard, Sam Hoffer, Sinclair Vincent and Victoria Novikova will be attending. To learn more about what we are doing at the COP, we have created a brief blog post that lists our activities and that we will be updating regularly.
1) The Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) will be having a side event at COP24 on Tuesday, 4 December 2018, 18:30-20:00 (Room 1).
ICAT supports Parties working towards their climate goals under the Paris Agreement. It does so by promoting enhanced transparency and building capacity through providing policymakers with methodologies, tools and support to establish transparency systems and use them to assess their policies for greenhouse gas, sustainable development and transformational impacts in the context of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The side event in Katowice will feature country representatives and technical experts to provide an overview of ICAT. In addition, a range of countries participating in ICAT will share their experiences in applying ICAT methodologies and developing and using enhanced transparency frameworks to raise the effectiveness of their climate policies.
2) Our own Naomi Swickard, Verra’s Chief Market Development Officer, has been invited to speak at the IETA side event “Emerging Guidelines for Corporate Climate Action in Supply Chains”. The session will be held in IETA’s BusinessHub and take place Monday, 10 December, 9:30-11 am.
Other speakers at this event include Kevin Rabinovitch, Global Vice President for Sustainability, Mars Incorporated; Jon Dettling, Global Director, Services + Innovation, Quantis; and Marion Verles, CEO, the Gold Standard.
GLOBAL LANDSCAPES FORUM
Verra’s Landscapes Standard (LS) team is traveling to this year’s Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn, Germany, December 1-2.
The LS Secretariat is composed of Verra; the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA); and Rainforest Alliance. In Bonn, Verra’s LS Senior Manager, Dave Kramer, will join CCBA’s Joanna Durbin to raise the profile of the LS, gather feedback from potential users of the standard and highlight the great work of our pilot projects in Ghana, Costa Rica, and elsewhere in Latin America. Dave and Joanna will speak on a panel in the Inclusive Finance Pavilion that is organized by EcoAgriculture Partners and will include organizations such as Solidaridad, IUCN, Tropenbos, and others. In addition, Joanna will speak in a discussion forum titled “Shaping agricultural supply chains to help people and landscapes prosper” which will focus on the positive role that agriculture can play for reforestation and landscape restoration in multi-stakeholder landscape sustainability initiatives.
Overall, the team is excited to help the GLF in its ambitious quest to “spark a movement of 1 billion people around sustainable landscapes” globally.
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What’s in a Name? Verra – Standards “Beyond Carbon”
It has been about half a year since we launched our new Verra brand. For those of you who joined our mailing list more recently: previously, our organization was called the Verified Carbon Standard Association (VCSA) as we primarily worked on a standard for voluntary emissions removals and reductions. Around 2015, we started to expand our work and develop standards in additional areas, including the Sustainable Development Goals, landscape sustainability, and others. To reflect this change, we decided to update our organizational name. Our new name, “Verra”, is based on the Latin words “veritas” (“truth”) and “terra” (“earth”); it aptly articulates the essence of all of our work and also contains some continuity with our old name.
Verra is now the organization that manages various standards-based programs: the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, the Landscape Standard, Verra’s California Offset Project Registry (OPR), the Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ framework (JNR), and the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta). Verra is also the secretariat for the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT). The standards (and their names) still exist and can be referred to as such. We’d appreciate if you could mention that they are managed by Verra, whenever you communicate about them. For example, in a presentation you could refer to the “VCS Program, a Verra Standard (or Program)”.
We hope this helps to clarify some questions around our rebrand. If not, please let us know by emailing our Communications Manager Anne Thiel.
VCS and CCB Projects Open for Public Comment
Nine VCS projects and two VCS/CCB projects are currently open for public comment: the VCS projects include one REDD+ project, one composting project (“waste to energy”), five wind energy projects, and two solar energy projects. The two VCS/CCB projects include an Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation project, and a REDD project.
The Riscales REDD+ Project in Colombia is an AFOLU project under the REDD+ category and is estimated to generate approximately 5.5 million VCUs over 30 years and reduce emissions by 187,420 tCO2e annually. It will achieve emissions removals and reductions by changing the rhythm in which land use changes between forestry, and agriculture and livestock raising alternate. Being located in one of the world’s megadiverse hotspots, the project also has biodiversity benefits. Finally, it also works to enhance community livelihoods and strengthen forest governance.
The Reliance Composting Project in Cape Town produces compost suitable for conventional and organic farming from “green” waste in the form of plant material. The windrow composting method used by the project ensures that the waste is composted aerobically by strictly controlling conditions within the windrows, which results in reduced emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Four of the five wind energy projects are located in India: The Wind Energy Project in Gujarat installed 32 MW of wind energy generators which will generate approximately 77.27 GWh of electricity per year and help to reduce the energy demand-supply gap in the state of Gujarat. The Wind Power Project in Tirunelveli, Tamilnadu will produce clean power from 10 wind energy converters (WECs) with a rated capacity of 800 kW each. The 21.8 MW Wind Power Project at Jangi Vandhiya, Gujarat by Powerica Limited and the 10 MW Wind Power Project by Powerica at BDS – Gujarat aim to provide electricity to the state of Gujarat by effectively utilizing renewable resources; they are expected to generate 20 MW and 10 MW of electricity each year respectively. The fifth wind energy project, the Manantiales Behr Wind Farm project, is located in Argentina and is expected to reduce emissions by 237,247 tCO2e annually.
The two solar projects are based in India. The Renewable Solar Power Project by Adani Green Energy Limited will reduce 1,454,303 tCO2e of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions per year by displacing 1,534,889 MWh from the main power grid, which is mainly supplied by thermal-/fossil fuel-based power plants. The 19.2 MWp Solar Power Project by HZL will reduce approximately 23,969 tCO2e of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases by displacing 25,298 MWh/year from the main power grid.
The VCS/CCB REDD project is located in Colombia. Project developers expect that the Conservación de los Ecosistemas y el Almacén de Carbono Región de Transición Guayano Amazónica ‘Flor de Inírida’ project will reduce emissions by 7,627,523 tCO2e annually by avoiding unplanned deforestation and degradation through forest surveillance. The project will also create over 60 new jobs for the local community.
The VCS/CCB Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation project is based in Brazil and undergoing a public comment period for its 2013-2018 monitoring period under CCB. The Fazenda Sao Paulo Agroforestry project is expected to reduce emissions by 19,380 tCO2e annually through reforesting lands cleared and degraded due to years of cattle grazing. The project will also provide native habitat for numerous species and create employment opportunities for local workers.
Come Work with Verra
We are currently looking for a Grants Manager who will be responsible for the financial management of Verra’s grants portfolio through each stage of the grant life cycle. If you are interested, please review the job posting here.