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Updated VCS Methodology Poised to Help Communities Account for Emission Reductions in Grasslands and Shrublands

(Washington, D.C.) – Grasslands and shrublands cover roughly 25 percent of the earth’s land surface, and as a result these ecosystems have the potential to store an enormous amount of carbon, particularly in their soil. Yet, historically there have been limited methods to quantify and monetize the emission reductions which result from project activities that conserve these vital areas. The release of the revised VCS methodology VM0009 changes that by expanding the previous version to include grassland and shrubland conservation. It constitutes the first Avoided Conversion of Grasslands and Shrublands (ACoGS) methodology within the VCS Program.

“Prior to this methodology revision, there were limited opportunities for projects that conserve grasslands and shrublands to access carbon finance,” said VCS Chief Executive Officer David Antonioli. “We know we have to unlock the carbon reduction potential of these ecosystems to better enable communities to deal with the challenges of climate change, and it’s innovations like this methodology revision that are making such efforts possible.”

Wildlife Works developed both the original version of this methodology, as well as this revision, with the goal of reducing the pressure to convert natural landscapes. In addition to grasslands and shrublands, the revised methodology continues to provide methods to reward project developers for avoiding deforestation and degradation.

“This expanded methodology now provides the opportunity to use carbon finance to protect vast grassland ecosystems of high conservation importance like the Pantanal in South America and the high savannahs of East Africa,” said Mike Korchinsky, Wildlife Works Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “As a result, we look forward to using VM0009 to develop new VCS projects in both forest and grassland ecosystems which can maximize the benefits to biodiversity and to the communities that ultimately rely on them.”


Founded in 2005 by the Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association, the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the VCS has become one of the world’s most widely used carbon accounting standards. VCS has revolutionized the voluntary carbon market by developing trusted tools, such as standardized methods that streamline the project approval process, reduce transaction costs and enhance transparency.  As the international market continues to evolve, VCS has also brought new programmatic innovations that allow for emission reductions achieved by government programs addressing deforestation to be accounted for on a larger scale. Across the world, projects and programs using the VCS Standard have issued more than 150 million Verified Carbon Units (VCUs).