Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Offsets

One of the leading international carbon offsetting standards

Wind turbines

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is one of the leading standards for voluntary carbon offsetting.

It provides a credible but simple set of criteria that will provide integrity to the voluntary carbon market. The VCS will ensure that all project-based voluntary emission reductions that are independently verified to meet its criteria – defined as Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) - represent real, quantifiable, additional and permanent project-based emission reductions.

  • VCS ensures a project will deliver contracted emissions reductions
  • VCS ensures additionality
  • VCS prevents double counting
  • VCS prevents leakage effects

The VCS has created registries which are used to register, transfer and retire VCU’s from the market and therefore prevent double counting.

There are 10 minimum threshold criteria which the emission reduction project must satisfy in order for its reductions to meet the Verified Carbon Standard and be verified and registered.


1) The offset project must be one of the endorsed project categories

2) The emission reduction must involve any of the 6 GHG’s currently included within the Kyoto Protocol

3) The project start date or emission reduction must be on or after January 1st 2000

4) The crediting period should be a single crediting period of 10 years commencing from the project’s start date

5) The project boundary shall encompass all anthropogenic emissions by sources of GHG’s. Incorporating all primary effects (intended changes in emissions caused by the project) and significant secondary effects (unintended emissions caused by the project). The project will only use one project boundary to avoid double counting.

6) Secondary effects are to be incorporated into the calculation methodology

7) The calculation methodology is to use CDM Executive board approved calculations for determining the emission reduction where possible. Combinations of approved methodologies can be used. The proponent may use a performance standard or best practice approach when a CDM methodology is not available either in its entirety or as a combination.

8) The project activity must be additional i.e. the emission reduction must be below what would have occurred in the absence of the project.

9) The project must not have any negative impact on the sustainable development in the local community.

10) The project must use the most recent emission reduction monitoring protocol that has been approved by the CDM executive board or the JI supervisory committee.