Markets working to support sustainable development

Plan Vivo

Plan Vivo  is a framework that helps communities use their natural resources in a sustainable way, focusing on small-scale forest management and afforestation projects that produce carbon credits as well as benefits to lovelihoods and ecosystems. 

The scheme is implemented through projects which are all community-led and produce Plan Vivo Certificates - one certificate being equal to the reduction or avoidance of 1 tonne of CO2  and which are registered and traded on the Markit Environmental Registry. 

When registering a project, the producer/producer group - those that own or manage the land - will start by writing their land management plan in which they layout the activities that will be implemented. Each plan is then checked by a project coordinator to make sure that the goals are realistic and meet the technical requirements. From then, the carbon services from each plan are then calculated and the Plan Vivo Certificates are awarded. The producer/porducer groups then enter into a formal aggreement with the project coodinator whereby they receive Payements for Ecosystem Services (PES) as well as continued technical support. 

To ensure that the projects are successful, they are monitored by the project coordinator and payments are made when targets are met. In addition, Plan Vivo have also implement a Standard: a certfication scheme for community-based Payment for Ecosystem Service (PES) programmes. 


Market coverage: 

From March 2014, over 1.7 million Plan Vivo Certificates have been issued to 9,000 smallholders and 250 community groups. From this, it has been able to channel over $7 million to developing countries.

In the 'State of Carbon Markets 2013' report released by Ecosystem Marketplace, Plan Vivo is found to have certified <1% of the total carbon credits transacted in the voluntary market during 2012.

Background information: 

Plan Vivo is implemented by the Plan Vivos Foundation, a scottish charity whose aims are: 

  • Relieving poverty in developing countries through engaging rural communities in sustainable land-use projects.
  • Promoting environmental protection and improvement through biodiversity conservation and the restoration, protection and management of terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Building local capacity through the transfer of knowledge, skills and resources to developing countries.

Plan Vivo is one of only two land-use standards, and one of only four voluntary standards in total, recommended by the UK government commissioned report by the Carbon Trust.  


Funding source: 

Plan Vivo is a not-for-profit but it charges a number of fees for registration of projects. Project developers pay for registration (costs are variable but are meant not to exceed USD 12,500 per project) and are then able to sell carbon credits through the Markit Registry.

And recently, they have been awarded to us for the development of climate smart agriculture through improving the Small-Holder Agriculture Mitigation Benefit Assessment (SHAMBA) tool and, separately, to investigate the optimal level of monitoring in carbon forestry, in recognition that transaction costs are often a major barrier to smallholders accessing ecosystem service markets. It is unclear where thus funding has come from. 

Notable information: 

A focus on small-scale forestry projects and the provision of ecosystem services and livelihood benefits means that the Plan Vivo standard is unlike many other carbon offset standards.