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About VCS

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Who We Are

Our mission

Our mission is to develop and manage standards frameworks that deliver significant social and environmental benefits within the context of climate change. We strive to develop standards frameworks that provide the clarity and confidence needed to drive investment in actions designed to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. We do this by ensuring that our standards frameworks are both trustworthy and practical, such that they can foster investment and generate results on the ground.

What We Do

VCS manages a number of standards frameworks designed to deliver significant social and environmental benefits, within the context of climate change. We think of standards frameworks as consisting of four main components, which are either managed by one organization (such as VCS in the case of the VCS Program), or in conjunction with someone else (as in the case of our California Offset Project Registry where we work to support the California Air Resources Board). The diagram below illustrates the four main components of any standards framework.

The standard is typically the foundational document that establishes the core rules and requirements that must be met for any project or activity to be certified under the framework. These rules and requirements tend to be somewhat high-level, meaning they need further definition and a programmatic infrastructure in order to be applied on the ground. For instance, a standard may require third-party auditing of results, but in order for such a requirement to be fulfilled, a series of additional rules and procedures need to be established, such as how auditors can be accredited and what kind of oversight is required to ensure auditors are applying the rules correctly.

How Our Programs Work

Standard

  • Guiding Principles
  • High-level requirements
  • Process to Follow

Accounting Methodologies

  • Guiding Principles
  • High-level requirements
  • Process to Follow

Verification

  • Guiding Principles
  • High-level requirements
  • Process to Follow

Registry

  • Guiding Principles
  • High-level requirements
  • Process to Follow

Assuming the standard requires independent auditing (which most standards will), one then needs to ensure that there is a process for accrediting auditors, overseeing their work, and sanctioning them if they underperform. One can set up one’s own accreditation program, or leverage off of others. At VCS, we have found that leveraging off of other auditor accreditation programs, with oversight done by us, is the most effective way of ensuring high-quality independent auditing.

In order to enable the development of various activities under the standard, project- or activity-specific methodologies (or protocols) may need to be developed. These methodologies allow for the determination of baselines (ie, what would have happened in the absence of the project) and set out specific monitoring parameters, all of which will differ based on the project type. For instance, setting a baseline and what parameters are used for a project that avoids deforestation versus one that captures and destroys landfill gas differ significantly.

The final programmatic component of a typical standards framework is a transparent registry system which displays the results of projects or activities to allow tracking of results, or units in some cases. One key objective of a transparent registry system is to avoid double counting. An important function of a registry is also to provide project documentation (eg, project description, auditor reports, representations) to the public so that any stakeholder can review project details.

Our programs and initiatives

Currently, VCS manages the following:
VCS Program

VCS Program. 
Founded in 2005 by environmental and business leaders who saw the need for greater quality assurance in voluntary carbon markets, the VCS Program has grown to be the world’s largest GHG reduction program, having registered more than 1,300 carbon reduction projects from across the world, reduced or removed more than 180 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, and retired more than 100 million of these reductions. According to the US EPA, this means the VCS Program has had the same impact as removing almost 19 million passenger vehicles from the road or retiring 24 coal-fired power plants in one year, or planting more than 2.3 billion tree seedlings and grown them for 10 years.

VCS Program

VCS Program. 
Founded in 2005 by environmental and business leaders who saw the need for greater quality assurance in voluntary carbon markets, the VCS Program has grown to be the world’s largest GHG reduction program, having registered more than 1,300 carbon reduction projects from across the world, reduced or removed more than 180 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, and retired more than 100 million of these reductions. According to the US EPA, this means the VCS Program has had the same impact as removing almost 19 million passenger vehicles from the road or retiring 24 coal-fired power plants in one year, or planting more than 2.3 billion tree seedlings and grown them for 10 years.

VCS Program

VCS Program. 
Founded in 2005 by environmental and business leaders who saw the need for greater quality assurance in voluntary carbon markets, the VCS Program has grown to be the world’s largest GHG reduction program, having registered more than 1,300 carbon reduction projects from across the world, reduced or removed more than 180 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, and retired more than 100 million of these reductions. According to the US EPA, this means the VCS Program has had the same impact as removing almost 19 million passenger vehicles from the road or retiring 24 coal-fired power plants in one year, or planting more than 2.3 billion tree seedlings and grown them for 10 years.

VCS Program

VCS Program. 
Founded in 2005 by environmental and business leaders who saw the need for greater quality assurance in voluntary carbon markets, the VCS Program has grown to be the world’s largest GHG reduction program, having registered more than 1,300 carbon reduction projects from across the world, reduced or removed more than 180 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, and retired more than 100 million of these reductions. According to the US EPA, this means the VCS Program has had the same impact as removing almost 19 million passenger vehicles from the road or retiring 24 coal-fired power plants in one year, or planting more than 2.3 billion tree seedlings and grown them for 10 years.