A flexible framework for assessing and reporting on the sustainable development benefits of project-based activities, helping unlock new sources of finance to support and scale up high-impact efforts
It can be challenging to consistently and transparently assess and communicate the economic, social and environmental impacts of projects supported by companies, NGOs, investors, development finance institutions (DFIs) and other stakeholders. The Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) will be designed to address these challenges.
SD VISta will complement two of VCS’ existing project standards, the Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards. Building on our experience in developing and managing those standards, SD VISta will deepen and broaden our offering to stakeholders that wish to demonstrate the sustainable development benefits of site-based activities in all sectors.
SD VISta could:
- Provide a flexible framework for project developers (including but not limited to VCS project proponents) and marketers to define, and consistently report on, their most relevant and valuable project outcomes, and link those to investors, buyers and other key stakeholders – potentially enabling market access or price premiums
- Facilitate private-sector engagement and alignment of project actions and reporting with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets at the national and global levels
- Provide an independent, credible and transparent means for companies to demonstrate achievement of their business and corporate social responsibility goals, such as meeting zero-net deforestation commitments, supporting women and children, and improving livelihoods, health and access to water
- Help DFIs (e.g. IDB, AfDB) and impact investors address potential environmental and social risks, maximize target outcomes from their sustainable development project portfolios, and link those to national and regional sustainable development priorities
- Unlock new sources of finance and drive results-based payments to high-performing projects, supporting their up-scaling and replication
How it works
Projects developed under the SD VISta program must follow a rigorous assessment process in order to be certified.
- SD VISta: The standard (and associated program documents) will lay out the rules and requirements which all projects must follow in order to be certified.
- Independent Auditing: All SD VISta projects will be subject to assessment by qualified independent third parties and VCS staff to ensure that standards are met.
- Methodologies: Projects may use any method to meet SD VISta requirements. VCS will provide guidance on appropriate methodologies and, in cases where projects generate sustainable development assets, VCS will approve methodologies.
- Registry System: VCS will track and make publicly available data on all SD VISta projects. The VCS registry system will track the generation, retirement and cancellation of any SD VISta-verified sustainable development asset as well as all Verified Carbon Units that bear a SD VISta label, which indicates that an emission reduction unit was generated during a SD VISta-verified period.
California Offset Project Registry
The VCS Offset Project Registry (OPR) facilitates the participation of offset projects within the California cap-and-trade program
Verified Carbon Standard
The VCS Program is the world’s leading voluntary program for the certification of GHG emission reduction projects