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Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) are eligible credits for compliance with obligations under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) implemented CORSIA to keep global net CO2 emissions from international aviation at 2019 levels (so-called “carbon neutral growth from 2020”). This is achieved by offsetting any emissions above 2020 levels that remain after the use of sustainable aviation fuels and implementation of technical and operational improvements in the sector. The CORSIA program has established rules for determining the sector’s requirements for offsetting and allocating the offsetting obligation to airlines.

Obligations under the CORSIA program are effective for 2021 to 2035. Over 100 countries are participating in the current, voluntary pilot phase and this participation is expected to grow until 2027 when participation becomes mandatory for most countries in the ICAO framework.

Most project types in the VCS Program are eligible to supply VCUs into CORSIA. As per the current scope of eligible VCS projects set by ICAO, the crediting period must have started on 1 January 2016 onwards and the mitigation must have occurred up until 31 December 2020. ICAO will further consider the eligibility of mitigation occurring from 2021 onwards through VCS projects.

Project proponents may request a CORSIA label be applied to eligible VCUs, either as part of the issuance process or by specific request thereafter. This CORSIA label will be displayed on the Verra Registry to indicate which VCUs may be retired for CORSIA purposes. CORSIA-labeled VCUs are searchable in the Verra Registry under the “Additional Certifications” field.


Eligible VCUs under CORSIA

VCUs that meet each of the following conditions are eligible for use in CORSIA for the 2021-2023 Pilot Phase:

  • Sustainable development contributions reporting: VCUs issued to projects that have reported on their sustainable development contributions through one of the following:

The VCS has been conditionally approved for the 2024-2026 compliance period (CORSIA First Phase). Verra will submit further information to ICAO on April 15, 2024, and full approval is expected by September 2024 at the latest, together with a detailed confirmation of eligible VCUs. Expected additional eligibility criteria for the 2024-2026 first phase include:

  • Regulatory Surplus: Projects that are required by law, even if not systematically enforced, will not be eligible for use under the CORSIA First Phase. Further guidance on CORSIA labels for VCU vintages of 2021 and later will be available once full CORSIA approval for the First Phase is received.
  • Article 6 Authorization: To be eligible for CORSIA use, VCUs from crediting periods 2021 and later will need a CORSIA label and an “Article 6 Authorized: International Mitigation Purposes” VCU label.