The Latest

February/March 2017 Newsletter

Dear Colleague,

We emerge from winter (finally!) with VCS programs and initiatives in full swing. In case you missed it last month, we’ve got updates to share on two of our methodologies that really expand their applicability. We also welcomed two new board members over the winter whom we are thrilled to have on the team. Finally, I especially want to highlight one of our recent web posts, which takes a forward-facing look at ICAO’s market mechanism under development. We think this is one to watch in respect of how global carbon markets will intersect with national emission reductions efforts and we will be adding to the series in future installments.

Though spring always makes us think about new beginnings, in this edition of our newsletter we are also taking a pause to commemorate an ending and remember our colleague Dr. Sandra Brown, whose energy and insight will be sorely missed.

Sincerely,

David Antonioli
CEO

Spotlight Story: Social Carbon

Historically, kilns at the Nova Dutra, São Silvestre and Vila Nova Ceramics factories in Brazil were fired with heavy oil. These days, thanks to a fuel switching project certified to both VCS and SOCIALCARBON standards, all three kilns are heated with wood byproducts from industry and construction. This switch in fuel source not only reduced carbon emissions, but also created more closed-loop industrial systems in the region. Read more about the Nova Dutra, São Silvestre and Vila Nova Fuel Switching Project on our blog.

Updates

Program Update Reminder

Last October, we updated a number of VCS Version 3 program documents. Those updates included new requirements for public comment periods for projects, conducting local stakeholder consultations and addressing negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. We write to remind our stakeholders that those updates will go into effect in a little under one month, on April 19th, 2017. Please see the Update Overview for details on these changes.

The Case for the Open Source Carbon Market

ICAO’s new carbon credit market, the CORSIA, stands to set the tone for the future of carbon markets, especially as it marries key elements of the Paris Agreement, namely Articles 6.2 and 6.4. The proposed scheme, which would recognize a variety of carbon reduction certification programs, would essentially create an “open source” paradigm. This decentralized approach would provide the benefits of market competition, like innovation and specialization. The open architecture will be paired with centralized criteria to ensure consistency and integrity. This blended approach could be key to structuring the crediting mechanisms of the future, though important questions remain about implementation. Read the full article on our website.

Welcoming our Newest Board Members

We extend a warm welcome to our two newest board members, Alejandra López Carbajal and Anne-Marie Warris. Both have decades of experience in their respective fields and we are pleased to bring their expertise to the VCS Board. Alejandra currently serves as Team Leader for the Support Unit of AILAC, the Independent Association of Latin America and Caribbean Countries, a formal negotiating group under the UNFCCC. Anne-Marie, who helped lead the development of the first edition of the VCS Standard, currently serves as the director of Ecoreflect ltd, working on intersecting maritime, MRV and ISO issues. Find more information on our newest members and the full list of the VCS Board of Directors on our website.

CCB Program Projects Open for Public Comment

The CCB Program Fortaleza Ituxi REDD Project in Brazil avoids deforestation in one of the most threatened regions in the Amazon and provides technical training to local communities on sustainable cattle, fire prevention and non-timber forest product production. The project design document is available for comment through 30 March.

The CCB and VCS Program Fazenda São Paulo Agroforestry project, also in Brazil, reforests degraded pasture lands, mitigating climate change, regulating water flows and providing wildlife habitat. The project design document is available for comment through 30 March.

The CCB and VCS Program TIST Program in Kenya (VCS 005) project implemented community reforestation in twelve Kenyan communities, removing invasive shrubs and planting indigenous trees. The project design document and project implementation report are available for comment through 19 April.

Updated VCS Program Methodologies

Restore America’s Estuaries and Silvestrum Climate Associates have revised VCS Program Methodology VM0007 REDD+ Methodology Framework (REDD+MF) to include project activities that conserve and restore tidal wetlands.The revision also includes a new activity method module for the demonstration of additionality for tidal wetland conservation and restoration projects, which will streamline the project development and assessment processes.

Tradewater, LLC has revised VCS Program Methodology VM0016 Recovery and Destruction of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) from Products to account for the destruction of unused and stockpiled ODS. The revision also includes a new activity method module for the demonstration of additionality.

Request for Proposals

VCS seeks a qualified consultant to stress test the VCS AFOLU pooled buffer account based on performance of the buffer account to date and potential future scenarios. The consultant will be expected to examine the resilience of the AFOLU pooled buffer account through a combination of document review and stochastic (or similar) modeling. The consultancy will run from April until August, and applications are requested by 29 March 2017. If you are interested in this opportunity and have relevant technical expertise, please review our Request for Proposals for more detailed information regarding the opportunity and application process.

In Memoriam

Dr. Sandra Brown,  longtime contributor to the VCS, died peacefully on Monday, February 13, 2017, at her home in Wales. She was 72. We remember Sandra Brown as a true expert in the field of land use, forestry and climate change and a wonderfully warm person. An innovator and educator, Sandra’s frank, exuberant engagement style and willingness to share her vast knowledge endeared her to those who worked with her, including our team. Sandra helped draft the original VCS AFOLU requirements and was a driving force on the AFOLU steering committee for several years. She was instrumental not just in laying the groundwork for our program, but also for much of the great work being done around the world to protect forests today. With her passing earlier this year, our community has lost one of its great thinkers, advocates and personalities. She is and will be greatly missed.

To be informed of the scheduled memorial service or to send messages and stories about Sandra, please write to carbonservices@winrock.org, for inclusion in upcoming tributes. More information.

VCS in the Media

Over at Ecosystem Marketplace, Steve Zwick has written a series called “Of Milk and Money” which takes a deep dive into the VCS-certified Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project. Currently in six installments, with more to come, the series weaves the narrative of this agroforestry project, which uses VCS methodology VM0017 Adoption of Sustainable Agricultural Land Management. Read our recap or read the full series and access accompanying podcasts.