What Are VCU Labels?

A VCU label indicates that a unit meets the requirements of other (non-VCS) standards programs or is eligible/qualifies to be traded in specific markets. A VCU can be associated with multiple labels.

Certification labels relate to standards or programs developed by non-profit or governmental organizations

Upon submission of the required documentation to the Verra Registry, certification labels can be applied to VCUs if units comply with the requirements from the following approved standards.

Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards
Required Documentation

VCS+CCB project descriptions
Monitoring & implementation reports
Validation and Verification reports


Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta)
Required Documentation

SD VISta project descriptions
Monitoring reports
Validation and Verification reports


Crown Standard
Required documentation is a certificate issued by the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) indicating a project’s conformance with the Crown Standard. View information about the required documentation.


SOCIALCARBON
Required Documentation

VCS + SOCIALCARBON reports
Validation and Verification reports

Notice: SOCIALCARBON labels will only be applied to VCUs issued on or before 31 December 2023.


W+ Standard
The required documentation (see below) is available on the W+ Standard website.

W+ Project Idea Note (PIN)
W+ Project Design Document (PDD)
W+ Monitoring Report
W+ Verification Report

Market labels identify credits eligible or preferred for use in certain domestic, sectoral, or investor-specific markets. The Verified Carbon Standard has been accepted to supply emission reduction and removal units in various markets for compliance and voluntary purposes.

Upon submission of the required documentation to the Verra Registry by a project (or program) proponent VCU labels can be applied to units that comply with the eligibility criteria for the following markets.

Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) has set specific rules covering the eligibility of emission units, pertaining to, for example, activity types, crediting period start, and vintage dates. For more details, see the VCU eligibility criteria for use in CORSIA transactions.

Article 6 Authorizations

Verra has started to develop one or more Article 6 authorization label(s). We consulted on a proposal for such labels in late 2020 and produced a summary of comments (PDF) received. We will provide updates in due course. Another consultation on Article 6 authorization labels (PDF) concluded on 31 July 2022 (see the Type of Mititation Outcome, Activity Type, Article 6 Authorizations and Sustainable Development Benefits section below).

Type of Mitigation Outcome, Activity Type, Article 6 Authorizations and Sustainable Development Benefits

Verra opened a public consultation on labels related to recent decisions under the UNFCCC on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and the need to identify VCUs with specific characteristics likely to be highlighted in the Core Carbon Principles being developed by the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (IC-VCM). A consultation (PDF) on the following labels was open from 30 June to 31 July 2022:

Type of mitigation outcome: reductions and removals
Activity type: nature-based and technological/industrial
Authorization for Article 6 purposes: indicating authorization by host governments for use toward an NDC, a CORSIA offsetting requirement, or (optionally) a voluntary carbon market target
Sustainable development benefits: indicating the SDGs to which the VCU contributes
A webinar was held on 13 July 2022 about this consultation.

Webinar slides (PDF)
Webinar recording

ABACUS

The ABACUS label is intended to catalyze the growth of nature-based GHG removal credits. The label would be applied to Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) from projects validated and verified to the forthcoming afforestation, reforestation, and revegetation (ARR) VCS methodology that meet a set of key requirements pertaining to the following aspects:

Additionality & Baseline: Projects must employ the ARR VCS methodology’s dynamic performance benchmark baseline that remotely tracks changes in carbon stocks in matched control plots over the course of the project’s lifetime. In addition, the ABACUS label also requires more traditional tests of additionality.
Leakage: Projects must eliminate leakage by maintaining or enhancing agricultural production within a defined accounting area in the surrounding landscape.
Measurement: Credits would be issued on an inventory of data from plots in which carbon stock change or net fluxes are measured through time in situ.
Permanence: Projects must regularly monitor the entire extent of the project area for loss events and compensate for losses upon detection; we will explore the potential for compensating reversals in ABACUS projects first by canceling credits from other ABACUS credits in the VCS AFOLU buffer pool.
The label was proposed by the ABACUS Working Group,* members of which are:

Bronson Griscom (Senior Director of Natural Climate Solutions, Conservation International),
Barbara Haya (Director, Carbon Trading Project, University of California, Berkeley),
Kyle Hemes (Research Scientist, Amazon Sustainability Science & Innovation),
Ruben Lubowski (Associate VP Climate & Forests, Environmental Defense Fund),
Campbell Moore (Carbon Markets Lead, The Nature Conservancy),
Jamey Mulligan (Senior Scientist, Amazon Sustainability Science & Innovation),
Connor Nolan (Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment),
Christie Pollet-Young (Managing Director, SCS Global Services),
Matthew Potts (Chief Science Officer, Carbon Direct; Professor, University of California, Berkeley),
David Shoch (Director of Forestry, TerraCarbon), and
Carlos Silva (Forest Carbon Scientist, Pachama).

*Note: Participation in the working group does not reflect endorsement by members’ organizations.

Pre-consultation on the ABACUS label (PDF) was held from 7 July through 7 August 2022. The ABACUS Working Group will use the feedback received to finalize the label requirements. The full consultation on the ABACUS label is expected to be launched later this year.

New VCU Label Qualification Procedure

Eligibility Criteria

Verra may, at its discretion, approve the creation of new VCU labels when they meet the criteria set out below.

The standard administrator is a non-profit organization, government, or other regulatory body. It does not have any involvement in GHG project development that would represent a conflict of interest with respect to administering the standard.

The standard has been developed through a process of public stakeholder consultation or is the result of regulations that have been developed and implemented through a process of public stakeholder consultation.

The standard is publicly available.

The standard administrator maintains a public record of all projects that have been certified.

A certification statement indicates compliance with the standard’s requirements, and the standard administrator uses consistent procedures for issuing certification statements and/or specifies such procedures for accredited entities to issue such statements. Where accredited entities may issue certification statements, the standard clearly specifies which accredited entities can issue such statements.

The standard is complementary to the objectives and scope of the Verra program to which the label will be applied. For example, a label to be applied to a VCU may provide certification with respect to a project’s social and environmental co-benefits.

The standard is applicable to project or program-level activities and the emission reductions or removals or sustainable development benefits generated by such projects (e.g., it is not a certification that applies at the organizational level).

#CriterionDemonstration
1. The qualities represented by this label need to stay with that unit through its retirement (i.e., cannot be unbundled and marketed/sold as a separate asset)Explain how the environmental and/or social benefits associated with the proposed label cannot be double-claimed or counted by end users
2. The label has the potential for a significant scale of useProvide a list of existing or planned methodologies that could generate units with the potential to meet the proposed label’s criteria

Provide a list of existing or planned methodologies that could generate units with the potential to meet the proposed label’s criteria
3. The label is expected to garner strong, and ideally unlock significant new, demandProvide a list of existing or potential project investors or unit buyers that are committed to supporting projects that use this label
4. The label is expected to increase a project’s climate and/or sustainable development impactBased on expected supply and demand, estimate the proposed label’s impact over the first three years

Quantify emission reductions and/or sustainable development benefits where possible
5. The label will not result in a significant risk of inappropriate devaluation of other projects’ units or compromise other projects’ impactDescribe the risk of other units, whether labeled or unlabeled, experiencing significant price deflation due to unfavorable comparison to units with this label, including related to potential claims associated with the proposed label
6. The label will not result in a significant risk of unhelpful label proliferation and/or market fragmentationDescribe what percentage of projects under the relevant scope(s) and/or methodology(ies) could achieve the use of this label in the next three years and within the next ten years
7. The label could be implemented with existing or proposed Verra program rules and requirementsDescribe how the potential label could be fully, credibly, and effectively verified and reported according to Verra’s existing or proposed rules, requirements, and methodology elements, clearly identifying any additions or changes that may be required to operationalize the label

The requirements for all Verra labels must be posted publicly and linked to from this page. VCS Program validation/verification bodies must be able to verify compliance with market label requirements in their assessment of a project’s VCS monitoring report.

Submission and Review Process

Label proposals must include the complete label requirements and demonstrate how the proposed label meets the corresponding certification or market criteria. Proposals should be submitted to info@verra.org.

Certification label proposals must include an example certification statement and the name(s) of the body/bodies that will be issuing certification statements, and guidance on how Verra should ascertain the authenticity of certification statements.

Market label proposals should use the Verra Market Label Proposal Form (DOC).

Verra will vet the label requirements to ensure that they meet the above certification or market label criteria.

Market label requirements that meet the above eligibility criteria will undergo at least one 30-day public consultation. Verra may issue a pre-consultation announcement for certain potential market labels to obtain early stakeholder feedback. Following public consultation, the label developer shall respond to comments received and revise the label proposal as necessary.

Verra will approve or reject the label.

If a proposed VCU label is accepted, Verra will announce the label and the timeframe for its implementation (based on the potential changes required to internal procedures, program rules and requirements, and updates to the Verra Registry). The requirements for the respective label will be added to this webpage.

Limitation of Verra Liability

This clause supplements and forms part of the Verra Programs. Without prejudice to the terms of the Verra Registry Terms of Use and the Verra Programs:

Neither Verra, the Verra Registry, nor any of their respective affiliates, directors, employees, agents, licensors, and/or contractors (together, the “Verra Parties“) shall be liable with respect to any claims whatsoever arising out of any certification labeling within the Verra Registry whether for direct economic or commercial losses, indirect, consequential, special, punitive, or exemplary damages or otherwise, including without limitation losses resulting from claims of any nature (including in respect of any erroneous additional certification labeling) brought against any Verra Party by registry account holders, project proponents, validation/verification bodies (“VVBs“), or any other third party. This paragraph shall apply regardless of any actual knowledge or foreseeability of such damages.

Labeling any instruments (including Verified Carbon Units (“VCUs“) with additional certifications within the Verra Registry is undertaken on a reasonable efforts basis. Save for the labels reflecting the information provided by the respective administrators of participating standards, or the respective VVBs to Verra in relation to the project activity, none of the Verra Parties warrant or represent that the labels applied are otherwise accurate.

The administrators of participating standards are responsible for overseeing certification against their standards and maintaining public records of certification statements issued.

Verra may suspend or terminate arrangements for labeling any instruments (including VCUs) with the certification of a given standard at any time by providing notice to the standard administrator and citing the reason(s). Likewise, a standard administrator may instruct Verra to suspend or terminate labeling any instruments (including VCUs) with their certification at any time.

Any documentation maintained within the Verra Registry with respect to such certification statements represents a secondary repository only, and the standard administrators remain the primary source of information and documentation with respect to certification against their standards. Market participants should not place any reliance on the certification labels.

No Verra Party shall be liable with respect to any claims whatsoever arising out of any market labeling within the Verra Registry whether for consequential, special, punitive, or exemplary damages or otherwise, including without limitation losses resulting from claims of any nature (including in respect of any erroneous additional market labeling) brought against any Verra Party by registry account holders, project proponents, VVBs, or any other third party. This paragraph shall apply regardless of any actual knowledge or foreseeability of such damages.

In relation to any liability arising from market labels of an instrument (the “Labeled Instrument“), Verra’s total liability to any and all persons relating in any way, whether directly or indirectly, whether caused by the negligence of Verra or otherwise, and regardless of whether any claim for damages is based on contract, tort, strict liability or otherwise, is limited to an aggregate amount equal to the fees paid by the Registry User requesting for the market labeling of that Labeled Instrument (being the proportion of fees attributed to that Labeled Instrument in the batch of affected instruments which the Labeled Instrument forms part of), at the point of issuance of the Labeled Instrument.

Labeling any instruments (including VCUs) within the Verra Registry is undertaken on a reasonable efforts basis. Save for the labels reflecting the information provided by the respective responsible persons referred to in the paragraph immediately below, the project proponents and/or the respective VVBs to Verra in relation to the project activity, none of the Verra Parties warrant nor represent that the labels are otherwise accurate.

Markets with specific rules or eligibility criteria for labels are responsible for setting out, maintaining, and enforcing any specific rules or requirements for the respective label. For example, in the case of CORSIA eligible standards, ICAO ensures compliance with the relevant requirements.

Subject to the abovementioned qualification on Verra’s warranty and representation, Verra also assesses whether any instruments (including VCUs) fulfill the requirements set out by the respective market to which they can be supplied. The Verra Registry is the primary repository for such instruments, regardless of the market in which they are used.