Verra has released updates to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, including those that were open for public consultation between July and September 2022:
The new Geological Carbon Storage (GCS) Requirements, v4.0 (PDF) include requirements for GCS activities, including those related to regulatory oversight, technical and non-technical project design, non-permanence risk, project ownership, monitoring, closure, and crediting periods. Corresponding updates have been made to the VCS Standard, v4.4 (PDF), and definitions for GCS-related terms have been added to the VCS Program Definitions, v4.3 (PDF). The new Geologic Carbon Storage Non-Permanence Risk Tool, v4.0 (PDF) provides the procedures for assessing the non-permanence risk and buffer determination for GCS projects.
This update is effective immediately.
The VCS Standard, v4.4 (PDF) and other VCS Program documents were updated to help avoid double claiming of emissions reductions and removals in Scope 3 emissions inventories. This includes requirements for producers, retailers, and project proponents (as applicable) to publicly state that VCUs may be issued for the GHG emission reductions and removals associated with the impacted goods or services. New terms related to this update have been added to the VCS Program Definitions, v4.3 (PDF).
Public statement requirements apply to GHG emission reductions or removals achieved on or after 1 July 2023.
Updates have been added to clarify how the long-term average (LTA) GHG benefit is calculated for afforestation, reforestation, and revegetation projects and improved forest management projects, and requirements have also been updated to clarify how the LTA applies to these project types in the VCS Standard, v4.4 (PDF). The term “Harvesting Activities” has been added to the VCS Program Definitions, v4.3 (PDF).
This update is effective immediately.
The new Methodology Development and Review Process, v4.2 (PDF) improves the efficiency of the methodology development and review processes while strengthening the transparency and quality of VCS methodologies. It includes the addition of a methodology idea note, the formal option for Verra to lead methodology development, new requirements for methodology developer collaboration, enhanced review processes for approved VCS methodologies, and more.
This update is effective immediately for all new methodologies and methodology revisions, as well as modules and tools. The enhanced review process for existing methodologies will have a transition period of two years from the issuance of this document. Verra will lead these reviews, prioritizing frequently used methodologies that have not been updated for five years. Methodology updates that result from reviews will follow the standard revision process, including public comment periods.
Along with the above program updates, Verra has included several clarifications in the VCS Program documents, such as the previously published Errata and Clarifications and explanations about common stakeholder questions. These updates are part of Verra’s continual process to improve the usability of the VCS Program documents and the overall effectiveness of the VCS.
The full list of updates released, including effective dates and grace periods, can be found in the December 2022 VCS Program Update: Overview of Substantive Updates to Program Rules and Requirements and Effective Dates document (PDF).
The VCS Program update related to the addition of a discount factor for crediting in cases of upstream displacement of an activity, product, or service, which was included in the July 13 – September 11 consultation, has been deferred. This is due to the stakeholder-identified need to develop a Verra-determined default discount factor.
Affected VCS Program Documents
- VCS Project Description Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Monitoring Report Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Joint Project Description & Monitoring Report Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Registration Representation, single PP, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Issuance Representation, single PP, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Validation Report Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Verification Report Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Joint Validation and Verification Report Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Methodology Concept Note Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Methodology Idea Note Template, v4.0 (DOC)
- VCS Methodology Template, v4.2 (DOC)
- VCS Module Template, v4.1 (DOC)
- VCS Methodology Submission Form and Agreement, v4.0 (DOC)
- VCS Methodology Assessment Report Template, v4.1 (DOC)
Appreciation for Stakeholder Inputs
These VCS Program updates were developed following valuable stakeholder input received during the public consultation on VCS Program updates that ran from July to September 2022, and the public consultation on updates to the VCS Methodology Approval Process that ran from August to September 2022. Summaries of comments from these consultations and Verra’s responses are available on the VCS Governance and Development page of the Verra website. Thank you to everybody who submitted feedback!