August 17, 2023

Standards in the Voluntary Carbon Market

Decoding Carbon Standards: From VCS to J-REDD, Navigating Market Benchmarks & Benefits.
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Navigating the voluntary carbon market is like traversing a mosaic of standards, each with its distinctive focus and criteria. From the globally recognized VCS to the community-centric Plan Vivo, these benchmarks ensure the authenticity, effectiveness, and holistic impact of carbon offset projects. In this guide, we shed light on the most prominent standards, offering clarity to stakeholders and enthusiasts alike

  1. Verified Carbon Standard (VCS): The VCS is one of the most widely recognized and adopted standards in the voluntary carbon market. It provides a framework for measuring and verifying emissions reductions and removals from forest-related projects, including REDD+ projects. VCS-compliant projects must meet specific criteria related to additionality, leakage, monitoring, and reporting.
  2. Climate, Community, and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards: The CCB Standards were developed to complement other carbon standards by emphasizing the importance of social and environmental co-benefits alongside carbon emission reductions. The CCB Standards recognize projects that deliver significant benefits to local communities and biodiversity in addition to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
  3. Plan Vivo Standard: The Plan Vivo Standard focuses on small-scale, community-based projects that aim to enhance sustainable land management and improve livelihoods in developing countries. Projects under this standard often involve local communities in activities such as reforestation, agroforestry, and sustainable land use planning.
  4. Climate Standards for Nature (CSN): CSN is a standard that aims to promote nature-based solutions to climate change, including REDD+ projects. It emphasizes high-quality emission reductions, engagement with local communities, and biodiversity co-benefits.
  5. Social Carbon: This standard places a strong emphasis on the social and economic aspects of carbon offset projects, including REDD+ initiatives. It focuses on delivering social benefits to local communities and enhancing their capacity to engage in sustainable forest management.
  6. Gold Standard for the Global Goals: While not exclusively focused on REDD+, the Gold Standard for the Global Goals is a comprehensive standard that covers a range of sustainable development projects, including REDD+ initiatives. It incorporates environmental, social, and economic criteria to ensure holistic sustainability.
  7. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation): REDD+ is a global initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. It also includes efforts to promote conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The "+"" signifies the inclusion of social, environmental, and economic co-benefits in addition to emissions reductions.
  8. Jurisdictional REDD (J-REDD): Jurisdictional REDD (J-REDD) goes beyond project-level efforts and focuses on emissions reductions and sustainable land use at the jurisdictional or regional level. It involves governments, local communities, and stakeholders working together to develop comprehensive strategies for reducing deforestation and promoting sustainable development within a specific geographic area. J-REDD recognizes the importance of policy and regulatory measures to address the underlying drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.