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Program Overview

The Scope 3 Standard (S3S) Program certifies value chain interventions and issues units for use in companies’ emissions accounting.

Verra’s Scope 3 Standard (S3S) Program will enable companies to credibly account for and report on Scope 3 intervention activities using the following:

  • The Scope 3 Program Standard, which includes robust rules and requirements for the certification of Scope 3 interventions and the issuance of corresponding units
  • Standardized and validation/verification body (VVB)-assessed Scope 3 quantification methodologies
  • Certification of interventions and issuance of Intervention Units (IUs)and Scope 3 Intervention Units (S3IUs) via Verra’s robust auditing and certification system
  • A Scope 3 section on the Verra Registry to transparently track S3IUs and facilitate opportunities for co-investment in Scope 3 interventions based on third-party verification of a company’s right to report

Why Tackle Value Chain Emissions?

Pressure from investors and regulation, environmental and business risks, and voluntary target-setting initiatives (e.g., Science Based Targets initiative, Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative) are driving companies to abate their Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions in line with what climate science deems necessary to limit global warming to 1.5oC above preindustrial levels. Scope 3 emissions often represent the majority of a company’s emissions abatement targets and are therefore critical to reduce.

While efforts to abate Scope 3 emissions are growing exponentially, several critical accounting and reporting challenges are preventing significant investment in Scope 3 interventions. Stakeholders are seeking greater assurance, transparency, and standardization in the accounting and reporting of Scope 3 interventions, as well as the supporting infrastructure for tracking the corresponding units that represent the impact of these interventions.

Verra is developing the S3S Program to address these challenges and gaps, and to provide the level of rigorous accounting and reporting of Scope 3 interventions that can help unlock immediate and large-scale investment in value chain climate action.

How it Works

The S3S Program will leverage and adapt the knowledge, expertise, and infrastructure of Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, the world’s leading greenhouse gas crediting program. It will include a S3S Program Standard, VVB-assessed quantification methodologies, a robust auditing and certification system, and a Scope 3 section on the Verra Registry.

The initial two versions of S3S Program will accomplish the following:

  • Version 1.0 of the S3S Program will issue IUs for Scope 3 interventions by applying standardized VVB-assessed quantification methodologies. Version 1.0 will also address the auditing, ownership, management, and tracking of IUs.
  • Version 2.0 of the S3S Program will issue S3IUs to companies with a demonstrated right-to-report. A company’s right-to-report will be assessed based on a feasible supply chain connection between a reporting company and a Scope 3 intervention.

See Recent Scope 3 News

Scope 3 Standard Program Development

The development of the S3S Program began in May 2022 with the launch of the Scope 3 Initiative , which engaged over 100 stakeholders to explore how a Verra-led program could support increased climate action within corporate value chains. The Scope 3 Initiative yielded insights on the following topics:

  1. How companies are implementing, accounting for, and reporting on Scope 3 emissions abatement activities
  2. The key challenges and gaps companies face when accounting and reporting Scope 3 emissions abatement activities
  3. How a Verra-led program could support increased climate action within corporate value chains by addressing key challenges and gaps such as the following:
    • Inability of existing generic lifecycle emission factors to include specific Scope 3 interventions. Emission factors quantify emissions per unit of activity and are used to estimate a company’s inventory emissions.
    • Lack of third-party auditing options for Scope 3 interventions
    • Lack of transparency around claims, leading to double-counting, stranded assets, and free rider risks
    • Lack of standardized and third-party assessed quantification methodologies

The Scope 3 Initiative found a significant demand for an S3S Program that addresses these gaps and enables companies to credibly account for and report Scope 3 interventions. In December 2022, Verra’s board of directors therefore approved the development of the S3S Program.

Below is an overview of the S3S Program development process and an estimated timeline for the development of version 1.0. The timeline for version 2.0 of the S3S Program will be published when available.

S3S Program Version 1.0: Development Timeline

  • Launch S3S Program Standard Development Group (see the Terms of Reference (PDF) for more information about the goals and objectives; see the Advisory Groups and Committees page for the list of members)
  • Draft version 0.9 of the S3S Standard and related program documents
  • Prototype a dedicated Scope 3 section on the Verra Registry
  • Pilot the following:
    • Two to four VCS methodologies, which will be adapted and implemented
    • Version 0.9 of the S3S Program
  • Launch the first public consultation for the S3S Program

  • Launch the second public consultation for the S3S Program
  • Finalize program documents, as well as processes and guidance, including intervention and methodology development
  • Train program users and validation/verification bodies (VVBs)
  • Launch version 1.0 of the S3S Program

Get Involved

Stakeholder engagement is critical to ensuring the S3S Program is practical and credible. Throughout the development phase, stakeholders are encouraged to engage in the following ways:

  • Register to receive updates from the S3S Program Consultative Group. Stakeholders who are interested in sharing ad hoc feedback, attending biannual webinars, and providing written feedback on program development-related issues can fill out an application form for joining the S3S Program Consultative Group (external).
  • Pilot a preliminary version of the S3S Program. Verra is working to adapt 2–4 VCS methodologies for the S3S Program. Verra will set up working groups of 1–3 pilot projects that are implementing the same intervention activity to pilot the adaptation of a VCS methodology.
  • Participate in public consultations. There will be two 60-day public consultations during the program development process, which will be advertised via Verra’s News webpage, stakeholder newsletter, and social media channels.