The world's leading voluntary GHG program


Methodologies are technical documents used by project developers to quantify the GHG benefits of different project types. They also set out requirements for project developers to determine project boundaries, set baselines and assess additionality. All methodologies set out criteria to determine whether a particular project is eligible to apply the methodology.

Projects registering with VCS can use approved VCS methodologies, any methodology approved under the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism, and methodologies developed by the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) with the exception of their forest protocols.

The complete set of methodologies approved for use under the VCS Program can be found using the following links:

VCS methodologies

CDM methodologies

CAR methodologies

If no approved methodology exists for a particular project type, project developers can choose to develop their own methodology through the VCS methodology approval process.

To ensure the VCS Program remains current and robust, VCS periodically reviews approved methodologies to ensure they conform to current requirements, international best practices and scientific consensus. During this process, if it is determined that a methodology must be updated, revised or withdrawn, a grace period will apply for projects currently using the methodology. The status of each methodology is always displayed on each methodology’s page. The current and valid version of a methodology must always be used.

Note also that VCS projects must comply with the grace periods and rules set out by approved GHG programs. For example, if a CDM methodology is withdrawn, a VCS project using that methodology must issue the project validation report by the CDM deadline for requesting project registration.

Standardized Methods

Standardized methods are methodological approaches that standardize the determination of additionality and/or the crediting baseline for a given class of project activity, with the objective of streamlining the development and assessment process for individual projects. Additionality and/or the crediting baseline are determined for the class of project activity, and qualifying conditions and criteria are set out in the methodology. Individual projects need only meet the conditions and apply the pre-defined criteria set out in the standardized method, obviating the need for each project to determine additionality and/or the crediting baseline via project-specific approaches and analyses.

VCS defines two types of standardized methods: performance methods and activity methods. The former establish performance benchmark metrics for determining additionality and/or the crediting baseline. Projects that meet or exceed a pre-determined level of the metric may be deemed as additional and the same or a different level of the metric may serve as the crediting baseline. Activity methods pre-determine additionality for given classes of project activities using a positive list. Projects that implement activities on the positive list are automatically deemed as additional and do not otherwise need to demonstrate additionality.

Additional Resources

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