The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) (Version 3, 2011) is a Greenhouse Gas Programme, describing itself as a ‘comprehensive quality assurance system used to account for greenhouse gas emission reductions and credits’. It applies to offset projects in the voluntary carbon trading sector and was established by the Verified Carbon Standard Association (VCSA).
Agriculture including consumption and production (includes biofuels)
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.
SOCIALCARBON (Version 5, 2013) is a complementary standard that certifies carbon reduction projects for their contributions to sustainable development. It is applied to lots of different projects that have already achieved certification for their carbon reduction/avoidance activities - from small ones such as income generation intiatives for local communities, to large one including hydroelectric plants.
The aims of the standard are to:
The American Carbon Registry (ACR) has developed a number of standards to validate and verify carbon emissions reduction projects in diverse sectors including landfill gas, fuel switching, methane capture, forest carbon, truck idling, anaerobic digestion, carbon capture and storage, and rural solar power.
The American Carbon Registry publishes standards, methodologies, protocols and tools for greenhouse gas accounting. The 3 standards published to date are:
The Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that uses certification to move soya traders and producers towards reponsible production.
The Climate Action Reserve is a programme that seeks to ensure the environmental integrity of GHG emissions reduction projects as well as create and support financial and environmental value in the U.S. carbon market. It does this by establishing standards for quantifying and verifying GHG emissions reduction projects, overseeing independent third party verification bodies, issuing carbon credits generated from such projects and tracking the credits over time on a transparent, publicly-accessible system.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of the three market based instruments included in the Kyoto Protocol (1997). It is designed to help countries meet emissions reductions, encourage private sector involvement and contribute to sustainable development.
The Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards are designed as an evaluation tool for any land management projects, including those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and avoid the degradation of forests (and other ecosystems), as well as projects that remove carbon dioxide by sequestering carbon (e.g. reforestation and sustainable agriculture).
The Ceres Coalition of investors, environmental organisations and other public interest groups states it’s mission as: ‘Integrating sustainability into capital markets for the health of the planet and people’. The coalition includes many Fortune 500 companies and is involved in improving the dialogue between multiple stakeholders through engagement and disclosure.
The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) is a multi-stakeholder partnership between cocoa companies, labour unions and NGOs with the mission ‘to oversee and sustain efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and forced labour in the growing and processing of cocoa beans and their derivative products’.
It has adopted a programme that: