HomeCarbon CreditsVerra's VCS Program Update: Navigating CORSIA and ICVCM Alignment

Verra’s VCS Program Update: Navigating CORSIA and ICVCM Alignment

Verra, a leading non-profit VCM registry in the US has recently released updates to its Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. The latest release, VCS Standard v4.7, introduces enhancements to the existing framework.

The VCM program aims to bolster the credibility and effectiveness of carbon offset projects certified under the VCS Program. However, the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) is currently in the final stages of approving it, and they expect to receive the results either later this month or possibly in May.

VCS Program Updates: Alignment with CORSIA and ICVCM

Verra’s 4.7 updates aim to ensure full compliance with CORSIA’s first phase (2024–2026 compliance period) requirements, established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

  • Verra will submit these updates to ICAO for further assessment by the ICAO Technical Advisory Body.
  • The deadline for submission of the Material Changes form is on or before April 30, 2024

Furthermore, the VCS Program updates incorporate several amendments to its rules aimed at clarifying its alignment with the Core Carbon Principles set by the Carbon Market (ICVCM). As mentioned, the final review and approval process would take at least a month.

The provisions would prevent the double claiming of emission reductions and removals represented by VCUs used for CORSIA compliance. They would also enhance the host country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

Verra’s Diverse Sustainability Initiatives

One of Verra’s most notable contributions is the development and oversight of the VCS program, which provides guidelines and protocols for certifying carbon offset projects.

These projects, ranging from renewable energy installations to reforestation efforts, undergo rigorous assessment to ensure they meet specific criteria for additionality, permanence, and emissions reductions.

In addition to the VCS program,

  • Verra manages other standards and programs aimed at promoting environmental sustainability and social responsibility. These include the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards.
  • They further assess projects for their impacts on local communities and ecosystems, and the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta). It evaluates projects based on their contributions to sustainable development goals.

verra

source: Verra annual report 2022

Overview of VCS Program Updates (new version v4.7)

The Overview of VCS Program Updates and Effective Dates (PDF) provides a comprehensive list of changes, along with their effective dates and grace periods.

The updated documents mainly highlight the VCS Standard, VCS Program Definitions, the Verra Registry Terms of Use (ToU), and VCS Safeguard.

1. Updates Related to the VCS Safeguard

  • Mandate thorough risk assessments by project proponents, ensuring mitigation measures are proportionate to identified risks.
  • Mandates project proponents to identify, minimize, and mitigate impacts, including those stemming from chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Clarifies that project proponents must also safeguard staff and contracted workers employed by third parties.
  • Specifies that demonstrating no adverse impact extends to areas crucial for habitat connectivity.

The revision is effective for all project requests submitted to the Verra Registry on or after January 1, 2025.

2. Updates Related to Registration under the GHG Program

  • Requires providing evidence of the project’s inactivity date, where applicable.
  • Stipulates that projects registered under another GHG program can only join the VCS Program after becoming inactive in the other program.

The revision is effective for all projects requesting registration or crediting period renewal under the VCS Program on or after January 1, 2025

3. Updates Related to Double Selling of VCUs

This section of the update references VCS Program rules on double selling of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs), which are covered in the Registry Terms of Use. Updates to the VCS Program Definitions will be effective immediately.

4. Updates Related to Methodology Development and Review Process

It clarifies that Verra selects a shortlist of eligible validation/verification bodies that meet all requests for proposal and VCS Program criteria. Updates to the VCS Program Definitions will be effective immediately.

5. Updates Related to VCS Standard and Registration and Issuance Process

Verra has updated all project templates to align with the revised requirements in the VCS Standard and Registration and Issuance Process. It’s effective for all project requests submitted to the Verra Registry on or after January 1, 2025.

Disclaimer: We have fetched a revised VCS program update from Verra’s April 2024 program update release.

Image: Verra’s VCM program issues billions of carbon credits.

Verra

source: Verra’s annual report 2022

Governments, businesses, and organizations worldwide widely recognize and utilize Verra’s standards as benchmarks for credible and transparent carbon credit exchanges.

In 2022, Verra’s VCS Program significantly issued its 1 billion carbon credit. Verra remains deeply committed to maintaining a high-integrity VCM that contributes to achieving the Paris Agreement goals. This commitment has been assured by Judith Simon, Verra President and Interim CEO, she noted,

“I feel the urgency and importance of all we must do—not just as an organization, but also in support of environmental and social markets. We have an enormous responsibility, and we take it seriously.”

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