Against the backdrop of the ongoing expansion of environmental and social markets, Verra continues to adapt to meet their demands and the needs of those who rely on Verra for high-quality certification. Earlier this year, we announced changes to streamline and accelerate our processes without sacrificing quality. This is an update about those changes.
Continuing to Build Capacity of VVBs
As previously communicated, we are implementing two initiatives to support and strengthen the capacity of validation/verification bodies (VVBs). The first initiative is to build out an auditing and accreditation team that is dedicated to overseeing VVBs. We have made significant progress toward this objective. We hired a director to lead and establish a team that will provide oversight of the VVBs for all Verra standards programs. This work will grow global auditing capacity and ensure Verra’s rigorous standards are implemented.
The second initiative, on which we have also made substantial strides, is to create a team that provides direct, structured, and ongoing support to VVBs through formalized and targeted training. Susana Vélez Haller, Senior Manager, Auditor and Accreditation Body Engagement, is engaging with VVBs to understand their needs and to put together a capacity-building plan. Jacobo Carrizales is the newest addition to the team and will provide training and help develop internal procedures to increase the capabilities of VVBs. More staff members are being brought on board this fall as Verra is committed to comprehensively supporting VVBs.
Improving Our Project Review Process
With the additional training and oversight of VVBs, Verra will transition to a more streamlined review process that will cut down on the time to list a project. It is important for our stakeholders to understand that a pipeline listing does not equate to the registration of a project in a Verra standards program. Rather, pipeline listing enables projects to communicate with stakeholders, collect comments, and improve upon their project design. All projects must go through a third-party assessment with a VVB and then undergo a complete review by Verra before it is registered.
As these improvements become fully operational and we continue to evolve to meet growing demand, we expect our stakeholders to experience significantly reduced wait times which should result in an efficient and satisfying process.
And we continue to grow the team to implement these changes without foregoing the quality and integrity of our project reviews. Sandra Pina and Marisa Andreazza have joined Verra as Registry Administrators and will assist with an assortment of registry functions. We recently hired a Senior Program Officer, Technological and Industrial Projects, who will start work in the fall, and who will review incoming projects to ensure they meet the high-quality requirements of the VCS Program.
Streamlining Project Review with New Tools
To complement the above, Verra is developing an IT infrastructure to help manage the project review process. We underwent an involved process with several developers to fine-tune data inclusion in a new stakeholder portal which we plan to launch in Q4/2022. The portal will assist with project review and the registration processes. It will also enable project proponents to check the status of their projects at any time.
Expanding our Engagement with Stakeholders
Our efforts to connect with market stakeholders continue to evolve. Angelo Sartori leads this work and will focus on facilitating the understanding and adoption of the carbon markets through engagement with a diverse set of stakeholders. Specifically, we are developing teams to concentrate on the following stakeholders:
- Project developers: The goal of this work is to help project developers better understand the role of Verra and its programs. Heather McEwan leads our project developer engagement team.
- Governments: The focus is to identify opportunities to collaborate with local and national governments on emission reductions and other types of programs. We are hiring a manager to take charge of a team dedicated to government engagement.
Strengthening Internal Operations with New Recruits
One primary way we are managing increased engagement in the social and environmental market space is by growing our capacity internally. Since our last stakeholder update, we have filled several key leadership positions to help us advance our objectives and approve our internal processes. They include:
- Justin Wheler, Senior Director of VCS Program Development, will oversee the program’s evolution, supervising VCS methodologies and updates to the program’s rules and requirements.
- Ben Carrier, Legal Director, is responsible for managing contractors and Verra’s legal budget, which involves approving due diligence, internal policies advisement, litigation, and reviewing and approving legal language.
- Komal Sinha, Director of Plastics and Sustainable Development Policy and Markets, will lead on all aspects of policy engagement and market development relating to Verra’s plastics and sustainable development programs, i.e., the CCB Program, Plastic Program, and SD VISta. Komal is slated to hire Program Officers to fill out the Plastics and Sustainable Development Policy and Markets team.
- Two new REDD+ Technical Innovation Managers, Salvador Sánchez-Colón and Basanta Guantam. Salvador will lead the evolution of our REDD+ work as it relates to projects and our Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ framework. Basanta will lead the implementation of our ongoing updates to the Avoiding Unplanned REDD+ methodologies with a focus on data collection and allocation.
And we are still hiring.
Temporary Closure for All-Staff Retreat
After a prolonged time of working remotely, we will take a few days in September to assemble the entire Verra team, which has grown tremendously over the past two years, together in person for an all-staff retreat. We think it is fundamental to Verra’s operations that we take this time to gather and connect, and make sure that we are all aligned in supporting the many stakeholders who rely on Verra.
As a result, our offices will be closed from 12 to 16 September. This means that we will not be answering emails or calls and project reviews will be delayed during this time. Therefore, please plan ahead to ensure you do not need us to resolve an issue on an urgent basis during that week.
Thank you for your support and understanding!