Verra and leading conservation organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a nature crediting framework to drive finance to high-integrity nature conservation and restoration activities. A standards-based crediting approach will enable entities to measure, track, and register units of impact. The resulting credits will recognize nature-positive impacts and will not be usable to offset or compensate for damage to nature.
The nature crediting framework and associated methodologies will also contribute to the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) goals and targets agreed to at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The nature crediting framework will be developed as part of Verra’s Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) Program, the world’s premier standard for certifying the benefits of social and environmental activities. Signatories to the MOU include the Blue Nature Alliance (with support from McKinsey & Company), Conservation Finance Alliance, Conservation International, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, IUCN, The Biodiversity Consultancy, and Verra as independent standard setter.
According to the GBF, an additional USD 700 billion is needed annually to achieve the CBD’s vision: “By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and widely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”
The nature crediting framework will help close this finance gap by channeling investment to impactful activities that (1) prevent the decline of biodiversity (e.g., through land use change), (2) restore it, (e.g., through coral rehabilitation), and/or (3) maintain intact ecosystems, (e.g., protected areas).
To develop this nature crediting framework, a new group, the Nature Framework Development Group (NFDG), will conduct a robust and transparent process that considers the (1) complexity of biodiversity (e.g., multifaceted ecosystem processes and their interconnectedness), (2) biodiversity’s place specificity (e.g., due to environmental, geographical, climatic, and topographical conditions of a given area), and (3) social values and inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (e.g., cultural traditions affecting the natural environment, such as traditional medicine or recreation).
The NFDG will incorporate lessons from other environmental markets and integrate broad stakeholder input while aligning with other nature-related frameworks and initiatives (e.g., Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures and the Science Based Targets Network). The development process will also include public consultations and an open call for pilot projects.
The NFDG members bring to this process expertise in different aspects of environmental markets, including demand needs, technical knowledge of biodiversity in different geographical contexts, conservation finance, and environmental standards.
A Verra-convened Nature Framework Advisory Group (AG) will also support the development of the nature framework. Members of the AG will strengthen the NFDG by bringing expertise in biodiversity measurements, financial instruments for biodiversity outcomes, and on-the-ground project development experience, including the engagement of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.