1. What Are VCU Labels?
VCUs can have additional labels for two different reasons:
- When projects meet the certification requirements of other non-GHG programs or standards (e.g., the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards) that have been approved by Verra. The respective labels indicate that the underlying projects meet the requirements of these participating standards or programs. For participating standards or programs, please contact the respective entities directly for details on their requirements.
- When VCUs meet the requirements set out by individual markets (e.g., CORSIA) and are therefore eligible to be used within such markets. For requirements set out by such markets, please review the respective section below.
To have VCUs labeled, projects must submit documentation demonstrating 1) they have satisfied the rules required by the other standard or individual market and 2) that this applies to the entire VCS verification period for which VCU labels are requested. Note that the period covered by the certification may consist of multiple VCS verification periods.
Generally, such documentation should be submitted before requesting VCU issuance, so that the eligibility for a standard program or market is established before VCUs are issued. In certain cases, if the eligibility for a standard or market may be achieved after VCU issuance and documentation is submitted after VCU issuance, VCUs can be retroactively labeled. In such a case, the project may incur a fee for doing so.
A labeled VCU does not represent ownership of the benefits or outcomes generated by the project to fulfill the requirements of the non-GHG program or standard. For example, a CCB labeled VCU does not transfer ownership of the community or biodiversity benefits to the VCU owner. It demonstrates that the VCU was generated by a project that completed verification to the CCB Standards and the VCS Program for the same monitoring period.
Project proponents are not prohibited from transferring ownership of the benefits or outcomes generated by the project to fulfill the requirements of another standard or program to the credit buyer. However, any transfer of ownership falls outside the scope of Verra programs and therefore carries no assurances.
Certification Labels & Required Documents
VCU labels can be applied based on certification under the following approved programs and standards, along with the documents they require. These certifications typically represent community and biodiversity benefits achieved by projects as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to the climate benefits inherent in a VCU.
Certificate of certification issued by the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) indicating a project’s conformance with the Crown Standard. Information about the required documentation is available here.
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
The Verified Carbon Standard has been accepted to supply emission reduction and removal units in various markets, for both compliance and voluntary purposes. Where project (or program) proponents demonstrate to Verra that VCUs have met each of the eligibility criteria set out for a given market (e.g., all CORSIA requirements), Verra will apply labels to such VCUs. These units will be displayed on the Verra Registry and will be searchable.
Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program is eligible to supply emission reduction units for compliance under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). CORSIA has set specific rules for projects that cover, for example eligible activities, crediting period start and vintage dates. Projects (and VCUs) meeting all the requirements are eligible for a CORSIA label.
Verra plans to make an Article 6 label and associated guidance available now that Article 6 of the Paris Agreement has been finalized at COP26 in November 2021. We consulted on a proposal for this in late 2020 and produced a summary of comments received. Work to develop an Article 6 label is scheduled to begin in 2022 and we will provide updates in due course.
2. Verra Policy on VCU Labels for Other Certifications and Eligible Markets
Standards or programs developed by non-profit or government organizations, or market regulators can be the basis of labels for VCUs. Each VCU label clearly identifies to which standard or program the given label refers.
Eligibility Criteria for Other Standards
A standard (or program) can be eligible, at Verra’s discretion, to become a participating VCU label when the following conditions are met:
- The standard administrator is a non-profit organization, government or other regulatory body and 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 implementation of regulations that themselves have been developed through a process of public stakeholder consultation.
- The standard is publicly available.
- The standard administrator maintains a public record of all projects to which certification statements have been issued.
- Compliance with the standard’s requirements is indicated via the issuance of a certification statement, and the standard administrator has procedures in place for issuing certification statements and/or specifies procedures for accredited entities to issue such statements. Where accredited entities may issue certification statements, the standard clearly specifies the accredited entities that can issue such statements.
- The standard is complementary to the objectives and scope of the VCS. For example, it may provide certification with respect to a project’s social and environmental co-benefits.
- The standard is applicable to GHG projects and the emission reductions or removals generated by such projects (e.g., is not a certification that applies at the organizational level).
Request to Become a Participating Standard
Standard administrators may apply to participate as a label for VCUs as follows:
- The standard administrator shall submit an application to Verra with the following:
- Evidence of fulfillment of the eligibility criteria set out above.
- A specimen certification statement and the name(s) of the body(s) that will be issuing certification statements, accompanied by guidance on how to ascertain the authenticity of certification statements.
- Instruction on whether certification is granted at the project level (ie, granted once and forever to a project) or at the VCU level (i.e, must be renewed on a periodic basis and hence only pertains to a given vintage of VCUs).
- Verra shall review the application pack based upon the eligibility criteria set out above and shall inform the standard administrator of the outcome.
- Where the standard is accepted as a VCU label, Verra staff shall update the Verra Registry and corresponding internal procedures to allow VCUs to be labeled with the additional certification. Verra shall also provide on its website the standards that are accepted as VCU labels.
Label VCUs with Participating Standards
Once a standard has been accepted as a VCU label, project proponents may request that their VCUs are labeled with a certification under that standard. The VCS Registration and Issuance Process sets out the procedure for labeling VCUs.
Verra may suspend or terminate arrangements for labeling 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 VCUs with their certification at any time.
3. Limitation of Verra Liability
With respect to participating standards, administrators are responsible for overseeing certification against their standards and maintaining public records of certification statements issued. Markets with specific rules or eligibility criteria are responsible for setting out, maintaining and enforcing any specific rules or requirements. (With respect to CORSIA, eligible standards — including the Verra who manages the VCS — must ensure compliance with the relevant requirements.
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.
With regards to markets under which VCUs can be supplied, Verra assesses whether the VCUs fulfill the requirements set out by the respective market. The Verra Registry is the primary repository for these emission reduction units
Labeling VCUs with additional certifications within the Verra Registry is undertaken on a best-efforts basis
Neither Verra and the Verra Registry, nor any of their respective affiliates, directors, employees, agents, licensors and/or contractors shall be liable with respect to any claims whatsoever arising out of erroneous additional certification labeling within the Verra Registry for indirect, consequential, special, punitive or exemplary damages, including without limitation claims for losses resulting for claims of whatsoever nature brought against the Verra or the Verra Registry by registry account holders, project proponents, validation/verification bodies or any other third party. This paragraph shall apply regardless of any actual knowledge or foreseeability of such damages.
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