Verra is consolidating the sustainable grassland methodologies in its Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. This step will ensure that all VCS projects boosting soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in native grassland systems consistently follow the same methodology requirements and quantification procedures to generate high-quality carbon credits, enabling the scaling up of impactful restoration activities. The consolidation of the relevant methodologies will also streamline the development of grasslands projects and ensure their consistency.

While VM0042 Improved Agricultural Land Management, v2.0 covers a broad range of agricultural land management activities, a standalone methodology for grasslands is essential to addressing the complexity and scale of grasslands, as well as the limited availability of measured data to calibrate and validate biogeochemical models. Such a methodology will include the necessary guidance and quantifications for the specific conditions of carbon projects in native grazing systems in different geographies including savannas, bushlands, and rangelands.

To implement a consolidated grasslands methodology, Verra is inactivating VM0026 Methodology for Sustainable Grassland Management (SGM), v1.1 and updating VM0032 Methodology for the Adoption of Sustainable Grasslands through Adjustment of Fire and Grazing, v1.0. VM0032 provides more elaborate guidance on how to calibrate and validate the relevant biogeochemical models and is more broadly applicable.

Verra is currently reviewing a proposed revision to VM0032, which was submitted by Soils for the Future (external), per Step 3 of the procedure for the revision of methodologies in the Methodology Development and Review Process, v4.4 (PDF). Key focus areas of the revision are the inclusion of a dynamic baseline approach, as well as the expansion of guidance on the use of biogeochemical models for SOC stock quantification.

Upon completion of its review, Verra will run a public consultation on the planned updates to VM0032. Following Section 2.1.4 of the Methodology Development and Review Process, v4.4, Verra is consulting with independent experts to ensure the robustness of the biogeochemical modeling guidance.

As a next step, Verra will inactivate VM0026 and proceed with an update of VM0032.

Inactivation of VM0026

VM0026, v1.1 will be inactivated as of May 30, 2024. The following grace periods apply to VM0026, v1.1:

  • New projects seeking to complete registration under VM0026, v1.1 must be listed as “under development” or “under validation” on the Verra Registry by August 31, 2024, and complete validation by May 31, 2025.
  • Validated projects may continue to apply the version of the methodology under which they were validated until the next baseline reassessment or crediting period renewal, whichever comes first (see Section 3.22 of the VCS Standard, v4.7 [PDF]). After this point, projects must transition to the latest version of VM0032 or VM0042.

Final note: The updates to VM0032 will also be considered in a major revision to VM0042 to ensure both methodologies have clear purposes and are neither duplicative nor contradictory. Verra is leading the revision to VM0042 with support from TerraCarbon (external).