In a recently published report, “Unearned credit: Why aviation industry forest offsets are doomed to fail,” the European non-profit Fern made several sweeping claims about carbon credits and the way that the VCS Program functions that were erroneous at best and willfully manipulative at worst. VCS has issued a response to correct some of the inaccurate and misleading arguments made:

Well Earned Credits: How Aviation Industry Forest Offsets Can Effectively Reduce Global Emissions

At VCS, we care deeply about the integrity of our programs. As a standard-setting body, VCS has strong incentives to maintain the integrity of our standards for the sake of the carbon market and the projects with which we work, both of which rely on VCS Program certification as a badge of quality.

The Fern report grossly, at times seemingly willfully, misinterprets the way our standards function. As a result, Fern draws mistaken conclusions that are not backed up with credible evidence, and which serve to support an ideological stance rather than providing an assessment of how REDD projects function. The report uses biased sources and primarily points to old arguments about REDD project risks from a decade ago, all of which have been resolved by applying rigorous academic research, practical on-the-ground implementation, and transparent rule-development processes.

As always, we are more than happy to field questions about how our standards and programs actually function and operate. Get in touch by email at or phone at +1 202 480 2282 should you be curious to learn more.