This morning, Verra was made aware of serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the Kasigau Corridor REDD Project in Kenya. These allegations originate from the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO). Verra is taking immediate action.
Pursuant to the rules of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCBS) Program, and the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) Program, Verra is initiating an investigation of the Kasigau Corridor REDD Project. The rules and requirements of these programs provide a path to corrective action when Verra has concerns about a project’s integrity as well as a project’s impact on the integrity of Verra’s programs and the market. The project and any further credit issuances will remain on hold until Verra completes the investigation.
We are grateful for the important work of these organizations in bringing these allegations to light.
Verra on Human Rights and Equity
Verra’s Human Rights Policy (PDF) enables Verra to take action where we have concerns that any of the organizations with which we work may be linked to human rights violations or that our work will be directly or indirectly linked to human rights violations.
Verra also considers respect for human rights and equity a core principle of its programs:
- VCS Standard, v4.5 (PDF), Section 3.19.11: “The project proponent shall ensure that no discrimination or sexual harassment occurs in the project design or implementation.”
- Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard, v.3.1 (PDF), Section G3(7): “Describe the measures needed and taken to ensure that the project proponent and all other entities involved in project design and implementation are not involved in or complicit in any form of discrimination or sexual harassment with respect to the project.”
- Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard, v1.0 (PDF), Section 2.2.9: “Appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure that the project proponent and all other entities involved in project design and implementation are not involved or complicit in any form of discrimination or sexual harassment with respect to the project.”
In addition, Verra continues to invest in strengthening its programs’ social and environmental safeguards, including its human rights and grievance mechanisms. The most recent VCS Program update [which included the release of VCS Standard, v4.5 (PDF)] increased the specificity of safeguard requirements, which will continue to be strengthened in the forthcoming release of VCS Program, v5.0. Verra is developing guidance for project proponents and validation/verification bodies (VVBs) to properly assess the applicability of safeguard requirements and implement them appropriately in projects. Verra is also establishing clear criteria for assessing safeguards across all project activity types.
It will not be possible to achieve critical global climate goals without the financing leveraged by the voluntary carbon markets. Verra is committed to encouraging greater transparency in these markets and to continuously improving its standards programs. Verra affirms that it is committed to respecting, protecting, and promoting the human rights and dignity of all individuals within the communities where we live and work. Verra is also committed to identifying and monitoring the organization’s performance in relation to potential human rights impacts in our industry and sphere of influence.
Joel Finkelstein | Senior Director for Media and Advocacy
202-285-0113 | email@example.com
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.