The Verified Carbon Standard, Verra or VCS, formerly the Voluntary Carbon Standard, is a standard for certifying carbon emissions reductions. VCS is administered by Verra, a 501(c) not-for-profit organization.
In 2005, The Climate Group, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and The World Economic Forum – convened a team of global carbon market experts to draft the first VCS requirements. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) joined the effort soon after. These experts soon formed the VCS Steering Committee, which worked to draft the first and subsequent versions of the VCS Standard. Many of the members of the original steering committee went on to be on the original Board of Directors, which now has evolved into a body of 12 members that offers input and guidance to the organization.
On February 15, 2018, the organization that maintains the Verified Carbon Standard changed its name from Verified Carbon Standard to Verra.
Projects certified against the VCS Program’s rigorous set of rules and requirements are issued tradable GHG credits (Verified Carbon Units, or VCUs) which can then be sold on the open market and retired by individuals and companies as a means to offset their own emissions. Over time, this flexibility channels financing to clean, innovative businesses and technologies.
The development of the VCS Program is supported by the VCS Program Advisory Group, a multi-stakeholder body that helps ensure that the VCS Program continues to serve its users in an effective and efficient manner and drives practical and robust solutions to mitigate climate change.