Accounting for quality in agricultural carbon credits: a Verified Carbon Standard for agricultural land management projects: Naomi Swickard and Alison Nihart
As interest in voluntary carbon markets has grown, stakeholders have identified the need to standardize and certify carbon credits to ensure quality across projects. The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS, formerly the Voluntary Carbon Standard), was developed to satisfy this need. VCS offers a quality assurance system for accounting for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in the voluntary carbon market. In 2009, VCS credits accounted for more than one-third of all transacted GHG credits verified to a third-party standard globally (Hamilton et al. 2010). The VCS Program was established in 2005 through collaboration between the Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association and the World Economic Forum. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development joined the initiative as a founding partner in 2007. Today the VCS Program is supported by a Board of Directors, a small staff, and a series of advisory groups, through which the program continues to advance its work. This chapter describes the process used by the VCS to verify the quality of GHG emissions reductions projects, and provides details on Agricultural Land Management (ALM) requirements as part of the VCS Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) Program.