I am pleased to share that last month we launched the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta). Over the past few years, we have heard from many of you about your desire to report on the sustainable development impacts of your projects. In response to this, we decided to develop this new standard, not only for Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) projects and those under the Climate, Community & and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards program, but for any project that contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We hope that the ability of projects to report in a robust and consistent manner how they are advancing the SDGs will allow projects to attract additional financing to scale up their activities.
We expect that there will be numerous projects using SD VISta, but I wanted to share with you a great example of one that Conservation South Africa (CSA) is implementing in communal rangelands bordering South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Through innovative measures, this project enabled the farmers in the Mnisi and Amashangaan tribal lands to rest over-utilized grazing areas and allow for their replenishment and active management. To facilitate this change, CSA supplemented the cattle’s fodder, which improved the cattle’s health and meat quality. CSA also hired rangers to manage the cattle, which allowed farmers to pursue other livelihood-earning activities.
SD VISta provided the project proponents with a framework to demonstrate the broader overarching impact of these interrelated activities on the ground and how they contribute to specific targets of the SDGs: the project helped to halt and reverse land degradation; improved food security and nutrition; and promoted full and productive employment, respectively contributing to SDG 2; Zero Hunger, SDG 8; Decent Work and Economic Growth; and SDG 15, Life on Land.
We began work on SD VISta in the summer of 2017 and since then have been developing the rules and requirements, piloting it with 16 projects, including 2 VCS projects, and actively engaging with a broad range of stakeholders. This culminated in the launch last week and resulted in some great coverage by a diverse set of media outlets (listed here). I’m particularly pleased by the potential of SD VISta to bring legitimacy, quality assurance, and transparency to the reporting of sustainable development outcomes and invite you to learn more about SD VISta by visiting this page where we have posted a number of resources, including a sign-up for our upcoming webinar on February 12 where we will provide additional details.
Finally, I wanted to share with you some very exciting news about our Board of Directors. Specifically, we are delighted to welcome Charlotte Streck (Climate Focus) and Kelley Kizzier (Environmental Defense Fund). Both Charlotte and Kelley bring tremendous skills and capacity to the board, including specific climate and broad-ranging sustainable development expertise. We also would like to thank Nathaniel Keohane (Environmental Defense Fund), who is rotating off the Verra Board of Directors, for his support and service for the last three years.
Verra Welcomes Two New Board Members
We are excited to welcome two new members to Verra’s Board of Directors: Kelley Kizzier, Associate Vice President of International Climate Change at the Environmental Defense Fund, and Charlotte Streck, Co-Founder and Director of Climate Focus. Kelley has a wealth of experience in international climate policy, including serving as the UNFCCC co-chair of the negotiations on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement for the past three years. Charlotte is a renowned international expert on climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agricultural and forestry sectors. She is also a prolific writer, lecturer, and an associate editor of the journal Climate Policy. We very much look forward to working with them.
Update: VCS Program Advisory Group
Late last year we announced that we are establishing a VCS Program Advisory Group, which will provide strategic guidance on the evolution of the VCS Program, including updates to the content of the VCS rules, and offer insights into the needs of different users of the VCS Program. The group will also advise on existing and prospective market opportunities, such as those under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and various domestic markets (e.g., Colombia, South Africa). Establishment of this group is part of a broader effort to implement Advisory Groups for each of our standards. Applications for membership were open until 7 December 2018. We received a tremendous number of impressive submissions and are currently reviewing them to make final selections. Thanks very much to everyone who submitted an application; we’ll be in touch soon.
Update: VCS Version 4
As many of you are aware, we launched a 60-day public consultation in May 2018 on several proposals which were intended to serve as the basis for the next version of the VCS Program: VCS Version 4. Thanks to all of you who provided feedback. Given the tremendous amount of responses we received during the consultation, we announced afterwards that we’d hold a second 60-day consultation in Q1 2019. The second consultation, which is still on track to be released by the end of Q1 this year, will set out revised versions of some of the proposals based on your comments and recent developments in the broader space. It will also include a draft of the Version 4 program documentation. Please let us know if you have any questions.
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VCS and CCB Projects Open for Public Comment
One VCS/CCB project and four VCS projects are currently open for public comment: one afforestation project, two solar energy projects and two wind energy projects.
The Hechu Afforestation Project in Anhui Province, a VCS/CCB project, is planting native broadleaf trees on barren land. In addition to generating average annual emission reductions of 469,187 tCO2e, the project will enhance biodiversity in the area; improve soil and water conservation in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the Jianghuai hilly area; and create job opportunities for local communities.
The two solar energy projects are based in India: the Grouped Off-Grid Renewable Energy Project, mainly based in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, is installing solar power plants with a capacity of approximately 40 MWh and will generate annual emission reductions of about 20,000 tCO2e. The 20 MWAC (22MWDC) Skcil Solar Power Plant Project is based in Karnataka and will displace about 6,372 MWh of fossil-fuel based electricity per year, generating annual emission reductions of about 34,500 tCO2e.
The two wind energy projects are also based in India: the Bundled Wind Power Project by Sembcorp Green Infra Limited in India consists of 78 Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) and will generate annual emission reductions of about 312,000 tCO2e. The 9.9 MW Wind Power Project by KPL International Ltd. in Gujarat will displace 26,442 MWh of fossil-fuel based electricity per year and generate annual emission reductions of 25,000 tCO2e.
Verra Is Hiring!
We have a number of openings (one Program Manager, two Senior Program Officers, and 4 Program Officers) to help with program operations, standards development and market development. You can view the postings for these positions on our Opportunities page. Please share this information with others you think might be interested.