What We Do
VCS develops and manages standards and frameworks to vet environmental and sustainable development efforts, build their capacity and connect them to funding. By ensuring that our standards are robust, practical and transparent, we can accurately quantify benefits and drive investment in responsible, high-performing projects and programs. We work closely with civil society, governments and the private sector to develop novel frameworks and enable results on the ground. We continue to bring our expertise in standard development and program management from our flagship voluntary carbon market program into new fields, to increase the scope and scale of our impact.
All of our programs undergo extensive stakeholder consultation and expert review, and draw from four key components: standards, assessment, accounting methodologies, and registries.
How We Do It
Standard: Establishes the core rules and requirements that must be met for any project, program or activity to be certified under the framework. Depending on the circumstances, our standards may set out higher-level requirements or, for more complex endeavors, include more detailed rules and procedures.
Verification: Ensures that projects, programs and activities meet our standards. Where standards require independent auditing or verification, we establish processes for accrediting auditors, overseeing their work, and sanctioning them if they underperform. We provide support and oversight to established accreditation programs to ensure cost-effective and high-quality independent auditing.
Accounting Methods: Allow for the determination of baselines (ie, what would have happened in the absence of the project, policy or program) and set out specific parameters for measuring, accounting and monitoring impacts.
Registry: Displays the performance of projects, programs or activities to allow tracking of results or, in some cases, tradable units. The final programmatic component of a typical standards framework and essential to functioning certification markets, registries provide tracking services to account holders and transparent project documentation to the public.
California Offset Project Registry
The VCS Offset Project Registry (OPR) facilitates the participation of offset projects within the California cap-and-trade program
Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards
Supporting land use projects in addressing climate change, supporting local communities and smallholders and conserving biodiversity