Verra is advancing the development of version 5 of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. As a next step, Verra is publishing its responses to comments received during a high-level consultation on the program’s rules and requirements that ran from February 6 to April 7, 2023.

Through the VCS Program and related workstreams, Verra seeks to deliver climate action at the scale, pace, and integrity needed to support global climate ambitions. During the 2023 public consultation, Verra solicited input about the program’s high-level priorities. The purpose of this consultation was to gather input from a broad group of stakeholders on priorities for VCS program updates to enhance the program’s usability, transparency, and impact.

The consultation included 18 questions about the VCS Program covering the following categories: integrity, scope, innovation, usability, and operational excellence. Verra received 505 comments from more than 50 stakeholders across numerous sectors during this consultation, including project developers, nonprofit organizations, buyers, validation/verification bodies, rating agencies, and more. We appreciate all the feedback received and are now sharing the input received and our responses.

Overall, the consultation feedback centered around three key themes:

  1. Increasing ambition for program integrity
  2. Ensuring the VCS Program’s scope is fit for purpose to maximize impact
  3. Improving the VCS Program’s transparency and usability

These themes will form the three priority areas in the development of VCS Version 5.

Verra has drawn many actionable insights from the feedback, which guided the August 2023 VCS Program updates and will be incorporated into future VCS Program updates and other cross-cutting initiatives. As Verra continues to develop version 5 of the VCS Program, we will conduct further public consultations on specific proposed program updates that build on these high-level insights, including an initial public consultation on proposed changes in mid-2024, and at least one other public consultation in preparation for the release of a full draft of VCS Program Version 5 by the end of 2024.

The ongoing evolution of the VCS Program has long relied on active engagement with and input from those who share our ambition for meaningful climate action that aligns with sustainable development. The current version of the VCS Program, version 4, was developed through a consultative process and dialogue with many key stakeholders.

In developing version 5 of the VCS Program, Verra will continue to heavily rely on stakeholder consultation and expert input, including from the recently relaunched VCS Program Advisory Group. In addition, version 5 of the VCS Program will build on recent program updates that align the VCS Program with the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market’s (ICVCM’s) Core Carbon Principles and the next phase of the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), as well as operationalized labels for Article 6 and reductions and removals.

We anticipate that the resulting VCS Program will be well-positioned to meet the needs of an evolving and maturing carbon market.

For any questions about this consultation, please contact