Governance

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program is managed by Verra with the support of Verra’s Board members, staff, and advisory groups and committees. We take into account stakeholder input collected through direct engagement and during public consultations.

The VCS Program Advisory Group (AG) serves as a strategic resource to support the development of the program. The AG’s guidance ensures the VCS Program meets the needs of the carbon market as it evolves and scales up its climate benefits. The AG also helps ensure that the VCS Program includes rules and requirements in support of the ambition to halve global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and reach net zero GHG emissions by mid-century.

Angela Churie Kallhauge, Executive Vice President, Impact at Environmental Defense Fund
Philip Cohn, Managing Director & Head of Carbon Investments at Pollination
Ruth Dagan, Partner, Head of Environment and Climate Change at Herzog Fox & Neeman
Sam Gill, Independent
David Gwenzi, External Advisor at Volkswagen ClimatePartner
Dharsono Hartono, CEO at PT Rimba Makmur Utama
Tracy Johns, Carbon Removal Specialist at Meta (BASCS representative)
Edit Kiss, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer at Integrity Global Partners
Peter Konijn, Head of Knowledge and Innovation, Wetlands International
Bruno Melo da Matta, CEO at brCarbon (NBS Brazil Alliance representative)
Jackie Mercer, Program Manager at Environment and Climate Change Canada
Campbell Moore, Managing Director, Global Carbon Markets at The Nature Conservancy
Eric Nowak, Professor & Director at Center for Climate Finance and Sustainability, USI Lugano
Tripurari Prasad, Director, Carbon Solutions at HSBC
Anshari Rahman, Director, Policy & Analytics at GenZero (Verra Board of Directors representative)
Jess Roberts, VP Ratings, Sylvera
Diego Saez Gil, Co-Founder & CEO at Pachama
Cecilia Simon, Independent Consultant
Kaviraj Singh, Founder & Managing Director at Earthood Services Private Limited
Leon-Jacques Theron, Carbon Project Development Director at Conservation International
Suraj Vanniarachchy, Vice President, Global Carbon at Macquarie Group Limited
Sarah Walker, Director of REDD+ at Wildlife Conservation Society
Stefan Winter, Certification Scheme Manager Sustainability at TÜV NORD CERT GmbH

Development

Verra is committed to making certain that the VCS Program reflects the latest scientific research and is continually improved with respect to the consistency and accuracy of GHG emissions accounting.

The current version of the VCS Program, version 4, was developed through a consultative process comprising two 60-day public consultations and engagement with many individual stakeholders, including project developers, methodology developers, validation/verification bodies, trade associations, NGOs, and other market participants.

Visit the Previous Versions page to view earlier versions of the VCS Program.

For any questions about VCS Program development, or any suggestions for VCS Program updates, please email programupdates@verra.org.

VCS Public Consultations

Between major version updates, Verra considers updates to the VCS Program documents intended to strengthen the program or expand its scope and to ensure that projects continue to deliver real, permanent, and additional emission reductions and removals.

Verra runs transparent and rigorous public consultations on program updates, new methodologies, and updates to existing methodologies. To see all Verra public consultations, see the Public Consultations page.

Active Public Consultations

Verra is launching a public consultation on a new Methodology Change and Requantification Procedure, which will provide a pathway for projects to voluntarily update to a new methodology, requantify previously verified GHG emission reductions and carbon dioxide removals, and reconcile issued Verified Carbon Units (VCUs).

For more information about this consultation, please review the Public Consultation on Methodology Change and Requantification Procedure (PDF) document.

The consultation period runs from July 9 to August 9, 2024.

Please submit your comments electronically via the consultation form (external) by August 9, 2024, 11:59 PM ET.

For any questions about the consultation, please contact programupdates@verra.org.

Closed Public Consultations

Verra held a public consultation on the ABACUS label, a new market label that can be applied to Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) from projects validated and verified to Verra’s new afforestation, reforestation, and revegetation (ARR) methodology if these units meet a set of key quality requirements.

For more information about the proposed updates, please review ABACUS Label Consultation Document (PDF).

The consultation period ran from November 15 through January 8, 2024.

For any questions about the consultation, please contact programupdates@stg.verra.org.

Verra ran a public consultation on the VCS Program’s non-native monoculture requirement for Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation (ARR) and wetlands restoration and conservation (WRC) activities from October 24 through November 26, 2023.

For more information about the consultation, please review the VCS Program Public Consultation on Non-Native Monoculture Requirements(PDF).

Verra held a public consultation on updates that would align the Program with certain integrity initiatives in the voluntary carbon market, such as the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM), and make the VCS eligible for the next phase of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Verra held a webinar on this consultation on July 17, 2023, at 12:00 pm ET.

Webinar Recording (Zoom)
View Webinar Slide Deck (PDF)

View the Summary of Comments: June 2023 Public Consultation on Proposed Changes to the VCS Program (PDF)

Verra held a public consultation to inform the future development of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program to solicit feedback on VCS process and program updates to improve the usability and outcomes of the program, both in the near term and as we plan for VCS Version 5.0. The consultation was open from 6 February through 7 April 2023.

For more information on this consultation, see the Consultation Document  (PDF).

Verra held a webinar on Wednesday, 22 February 2023, 12:00 pm ET to provide an overview of the Consultation Document and process. See the recording of the webinar (Vimeo).

Verra has published the consultation comments and Verra responses to the summaries of the consultation comments: Summary of Comments and Verra Responses: February 2023 Public Consultation on the VCS Program (PDF).

Please contact programupdates@stg.verra.org for any questions about the consultation.

This public consultation was open from 31 August to 30 September 2022. On 8 September 2022 at 11:00 am ET, Verra held a one-hour webinar to provide an overview of the proposed updates. Watch the recording (Vimeo) or view the slides (PDF). For more information, see:

This public consultation was open from 13 July to 11 September 2022. On 27 July 2022 at 11:00 AM EDT, Verra held a webinar to provide an overview of the proposed updates. Watch the recording (Vimeo.com) or view the slides (PDF). For more information, see:

Verra held a public consultation from 30 June 2022 to 31 July 2022 on new VCU labels. For more information about this consultation, read the consultation document (PDF), watch the recording (vimeo), or  view the slides (PDF).

View the New VCU Labels Consultation Report (PDF)

For additional information or if you have any questions, please contact programupdates@verra.org.

– Creation of a new unit named the Projected Carbon Unit (PCU), formerly called the Early Finance Carbon Unit (EFCU), to support the development of VCS projects prior to the verification of GHG emission reductions/removals (ERRs) and issuance of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs).

This public consultation was open from 3 May 2022 to 1 June 2022.

Consultation Document: Public Consultation on the Projected Carbon Unit (PDF)

Summary of Comments (PDF)

  • Updates to the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) Non-permanence Risk Tool (PDF); if approved, these changes will also be reflected in the Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) Non-permanence Risk Tool;
  • Updates to uncertainty requirements;
  • Introduction of tonne-year accounting;
  • Guidance for landowners’ successive participation in different VCS projects;
  • Clarification on managing non-permanence risk if one instance of an activity ceases to be part of a grouped project and if a project implementing multiple activities terminates one of its activities; and,
  • Revised requirements for qualifying peer-reviewed literature.

This public consultation was open from 7 February 2022 to 8 April 2022.

Update Overview (Release Date: 20 January 2022)

  • Required reporting on contributions to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • The introduction of requirements for dynamic performance benchmarks; and
  • New and revised requirements for agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) projects.

Effective dates for these updates can be found here.

View the 2022 Q1 VCS Program Update (PDF) to find effective dates for these updates.

Note: For information about public consultations that closed prior to 2022, please review the Previous Version 4 Updates section below. 


Previous Version 4 Updates

Q3

Public consultations

Q2

Updates

  • June 25, 2024: Verra has released an updated guidance document for project proponents who wish to apply W+ labels to VCUs issued to projects registered under the VCS Program and the W+ Standard. The W+ Label Guidance, v1.0 (PDF), is now available on the VCS Program Details page.
  • May 29, 2024: New versions of the AFOLU Buffer Account Compensation for Reversals Deed Templates have been uploaded and are effective immediately.
  • May 03, 2024: The new versions of the joint templates for projects using the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCBS) Program and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program are now available on the VCS Rules and Requirements page for the VCS Program. The effective date for the updated CCBS and VCS Program joint templates is January 1, 2025, for all joint project requests submitted to the Verra Registry.
  • April 16, 2024: Verra has released an updated version of the VCS Standard, v4.7 and other VCS Program documents. With these updates, the VCS program expects to meet all the conditions for full approval of the VCS Program under the first phase (2024-2026 compliance period) of the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for international Aviation (CORSIA) and to clarify how the VCS Program aligns with the Core Carbon Principles assessment framework of the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (ICVCM).

Q1

Updates

Q4

Corrections and Clarifications

Public Consultations

Q3

Updates

August 29, 2023: August 2023 VCS Program Update Announcement

Corrections and Clarifications

Public Consultations

Q1

Updates

Errata and Clarifications

Q4

December 21, 2022: VCS 2022 Q4 Update Announcement

  • Introduction of requirements for geologic carbon storage (GCS) activities, including associated tools and requirements
  • Updates to the requirements for VCS projects to help avoid double-counting in Scope 3 emissions inventories
  • Updates to the long-term average GHG benefit calculation and application for afforestation, reforestation, and revegetation projects, as well as improved forest management projects
  • Release of the VCS Methodology Development and Review Process, replacing the Methodology Approval Process

The full list of updates released, and their effective dates can be found in December 2022 VCS Program Update: Overview of Substantive Updates to Program Rules and Requirements and Effective Dates (PDF).

Verra held a webinar on Monday, 16 January 2023, at 12:00 pm ET to provide an overview of the above VCS Program updates.

Public Consultations

 

Q2

June 22, 2022: Update Overview

  • Revised requirements and methods for estimating uncertainty;
  • New requirements to mitigate non-permanence risk in grouped projects with multiple activity instances;
  • Clarification of peer-reviewed literature requirements; and
  • Formalized rules for VCU labels.
  • View the 2022 Q2 VCS Program Update (PDF) to find effective dates for these updates.
  • Announcement: Subsequent Project Instance Enrollments (PDF) (Release Date: 22 June 2022)

August 29, 2022: Update Overview (PDF)

  • Clarifies that if project proponents use methodology elements (e.g., methodologies, modules, and tools) from VCS-approved GHG programs to develop projects in the VCS Program, they must use the latest version of the approved GHG program methodology element. Relevant grace period lengths apply.

April 19, 2022: Update Overview (PDF)

  • Establishes that the VCS project start date for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Component Project Activities (CPAs) seeking to register in the VCS Program is the date on which each CPA began reducing or removing GHG emissions.
  • Clarifies that the definitions for ‘Project Start Date’ and ‘Project Crediting Period Start Date’ are the same.
  • Additional details about effective dates for the conversion of credits issued to CDM CPAs.
  • Clarifies the grace periods for using previous versions of VCS methodologies.

Public Consultations

Q4

December 2021 Consultation

– Proposing the development of a long-term reversal monitoring system

This public consultation was open from 15 December 2021 to 14 February 2022. We are reviewing all input received and will post a summary of comments.

Consultation Document: Proposal to Create a Long-term Reversal Monitoring System (PDF)

Summary of Public Comments: Proposal to Create a Long-Term Reversal Monitoring System (PDF)

Watch the Webinar Recording

View the Webinar Slides (PDF)

November 2021 Consultation

– Introducing requirements to make sustainable development reporting mandatory

These updates were open for consultation from 04 November to 05 December 2021.

Consultation Document: Proposed updates to the VCS Program, November 2021 (PDF)

Summary of Public Comments: Proposal for Mandatory Sustainable Development Contributions Reporting (PDF)

Watch the Webinar Recording

Q3

August 2021 Consultation

– Introducing requirements for dynamic performance benchmarks;

– Adding a pipeline listing deadline for all AFOLU projects and replacing the validation deadline with a pipeline listing deadline for AFOLU projects that are small-scale or generate removals;

– Revising project area requirements to allow tidal wetland projects to add land after the first verification;

– Modifying the language of the requirement related to the estimation of soil organic carbon stocks; and

– Updating a number of AFOLU project baseline requirements.

These updates were open for consultation from 23 August to 22 September 2021. We are revising all input received and will post a summary of contents in early November. We plan to finalize and release the updates to the VCS Program documents in Q4 2021.

Consultation Document: Proposed Updates to the VCS Program, August 2021 (PDF)

Summary of Public Comments: August-September 2021 VCS Program Update Proposals (PDF)

On 2 September 2021 at 11:00 am EDT, Verra held a one-hour webinar to provide an overview of the proposals.

WATCH THE RECORDING

Q2

Update Overview (Release Date: 22 April 2021)

Consultation Summary (PDF)

– Required use of IPCC Fifth Assessment Report global warming potential values (revised from Fourth Assessment Report values). See Section 3.14.4 for details, including information on effective dates.

– Clarified that VCUs used in the context of Paris Agreement Article 6 mechanisms and international Paris-related programs such as CORSIA must meet requirements established under such mechanisms and programs, including those relating to double counting and corresponding adjustments. Project proponents must use VCU labels to demonstrate adherence to such requirements (Section 3.20.1).

– Clarified that VCUs used for voluntary carbon market purposes do not require the VCU labels mentioned above, though labelled VCUs may be used for voluntary market transactions if desired (Section 3.20.2).

– Further clarified eligibility conditions (effective dates) for projects registered under another GHG program (see Appendix 2 Document History).

Q1

Update Overview (Release Date: 5 February 2021)

– Clarified eligibility conditions (effective dates) for projects registered under an approved GHG program and for GHG credits seeking to convert into VCUs (see Errata & Clarifications, VCS Standard, v4.0 (PDF)).

Q1

Update Overview (Release Date: 9 March 2020)

– Revised the effective dates for projects registered with an approved GHG program, with project activities there were eligible under VCS Version 3, but are now excluded from the scope of the VCS Program (see Appendix 2 Document History).

Q3

VCS Version 4 (Release Date: 19 September 2019)

VCS Version 4 incorporates several changes to existing VCS Program rules and requirements. The VCS Version 4 Rules Map (XLS) outlines where specific requirements from the VCS Version 3 program documents can be found in the VCS Version 4 program documents, and whether substantive changes to existing requirements were made or new requirements added.

All VCS Version 4 documents are effective on the issue date, unless otherwise stated in the VCS Version 4 Summary of Effective Dates (PDF).

Consultation Documents
2019 VCS Version 4 Consultation Roadmap

  1. Revision to Scope of VCS Program (PDF)
  2. Domestic Climate Contribution (DCC) (On hold – see Consultation Roadmap for more information)
  3. Update to Project Crediting Period Requirements (PDF)
  4. Update to Validation/Verification Body Accreditation Recognition (PDF)
  5. Project Sustainable Development Goal Contributions (On hold – see Consultation Roadmap for more information)
  6. Streamlining the Methodology Approval Process (PDF)
  7. Updates to AFOLU Requirements (PDF) (Versión en Español)
  8. Reorganizing and Restructuring VCS Program Documents (PDF)

Public Comment

The consultation ran for 60 days, ending on 10 June 2019.

Additional Resources

Q2

VCS Version 4 second consultation

– Consultation overview;
– Webinar recordings (session 1 & session 2); and
Summary of comments and Verra’s responses (PDF).

Q2

VCS Version 4 first consultation

Consultation overview

The consultation was guided by a VCS Version 4 Consultation Roadmap. The Consultation Roadmap set out a catalogue of proposals which make up the core of VCS Version 4. For each proposal, we prepared an individual consultation document which sets out the background and details of each proposal, upon which feedback was welcomed.

Consultation Documents

  1. Revision to Scope of the VCS Program (PDF)
  2. Domestic Climate Contribution (DCC) (PDF)
  3. Update to Project Crediting Period Requirements (PDF)
  4. Update to VVB Accreditation Recognition (PDF)
  5. Project Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Contributions (PDF)
  6. Streamlining the Methodology Approval Process (PDF)
  7. Update to AFOLU Requirements (PDF)
  8. Reorganizing and Restructuring VCS Program Documents (PDF)

Public Comment

The consultation ran for 60 days, ending on 16 July 2018.

Additional Resources

Verra hosted a webinar on Thursday, 31 May 2018 to introduce the consultation.

Introduction to VCS Version 4 Consultation Slides (PPTX)

A list of resources used to inform the “Revision to Scope of VCS Program” proposal is available here:

Revision to Scope of VCS Program Resources (PDF)