WASHINGTON, D.C., and DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Verra, the nonprofit that serves as the world’s leading standards setter for climate action and sustainable development, today unveiled its transformative new methodology for protecting forests. It includes a new approach to setting baselines for calculating emission reductions from forest conservation activities under the landmark Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. And, for the first time, it better aligns with the national accounting approaches under the Paris Agreement – opening the door to a new era of global investment in protecting nature.

“Keeping forests standing is vital to achieving our global climate goals. Deforestation accounts for as much as a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon markets are the best and most readily available tool we have for forest protection. Today marks a substantial advancement for ensuring the integrity of REDD and supporting the scaling up of these critical activities.”

Toby Janson-Smith, Chief Program Development and Innovation Officer, Verra

The new methodology, which comes as the world prepares to meet in Dubai for the latest global climate conference, has been under development since 2020. It covers REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, an approach that covers activities that range from stopping illegal logging to creating alternative livelihoods for forest communities. It builds on the system that has protected tens of thousands of hectares of the world’s forests and moved hundreds of millions of dollars into communities across the developing world who are the stewards of these forests.

Under the new methodology, Verra will now lead and manage the baseline-setting process, using jurisdictional-level data that meet stringent requirements and a robust development process. The program will employ advanced remote-sensing technologies coupled with a thorough risk assessment to determine the expected deforestation for a project area, ensuring that the number of verified emission reductions from all projects in a jurisdiction is consistent with jurisdictional-scale accounting. Overall, the new approach ensures consistency, reduces the potential for conflict of interest and adds greater quality control while better aligning with and supporting government action.

“Today, the carbon market takes a leap forward to ensuring REDD projects deliver nationally aligned high integrity credits. With this new methodology, buyers can be confident that they are making meaningful and credible contributions to climate action, while also supporting biodiversity and local communities.”

Naomi Swickard, Senior Director for REDD+ Program Development and Innovation, Verra

The new methodology is the result of collaboration and consensus-building across carbon market experts and stakeholders. In addition to Verra, co-authors include Tim Pearson of GreenCollar, Kevin Brown and Sarah Walker of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Till Neeff, Simon Koenig of Climate Focus, and Manuel Estrada. The forthcoming allocation tool that will complement the methodology was authored in collaboration with Estrada, J. Ronald Eastman of Clark Labs, Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr. of Clark University, Rebecca Dickson of TerraCarbon, and Lucio Pedroni and Juan Felipe Villegas Echeverri of Carbon Decisions International.

Verra has shared a detailed roadmap for how all current Avoided Unplanned Deforestation (AUD) projects will transition to the new methodology and what that entails. Verra has also committed to providing a path to Core Carbon Principles (CCP) labeling under the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (ICVCM) for historically verified emission reductions and issued VCS carbon credits, once the VCS program is assessed by the ICVCM as CCP-Eligible and this methodology is included in a CCP-Approved category. The path will enable project proponents to voluntarily transition their project(s) to the new methodology and adjust historic project calculations accordingly. More details on this pathway as it relates to different methodologies will be available in the coming months.


Jeremy Warren | Senior Manager for Media Relations
jwarren@verra.org | 512-851-9133

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Verra is a global leader helping to tackle the world’s most intractable environmental and social challenges. As a mission-driven non-profit organization, Verra is committed to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods, and protect natural resources by working with the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards, tools, and programs that credibly, transparently and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits.