Starting a VCS Project: What to expect?

Looking to develop a project using the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)? This section outlines important information you should know before you begin.


Before beginning to develop a project in the VCS Program, familiarize yourself with the process and requirements.

  • Ensure that your project complies with the VCS rules and requirements laid out in the VCS Standard.
  • Check if your planned project activities are eligible in the VCS Program. Review Table 1 in the VCS Standard for non-Agricultural, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) projects and Appendix 1 for AFOLU projects.

The key steps of project development are:

Once verification has been completed and approved by Verra, a project proponent can request the issuance of credits.

For more detailed guidance on this process and additional details (opening a registry account etc.) please refer to the Registration and Issuance Process document.

Project developers are responsible for finding a suitable methodology for calculating the project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If there is no suitable Verra or Clean Development Mechanism methodology, it may be necessary to develop a new one.

Project developers also contract the VVBs directly.

All projects undergo a 30-day public comment period during pipeline listing. Comments received during this time must be addressed by the project developer.


VCS project development costs vary from project to project.  They fall into three categories:


There are two timelines project proponents need to be aware of before starting to develop a VCS project: 1) the timeline for project registration, and 2) the timeline for VCU issuance.

  1. Timeline for Project Registration

After a project proponent submits the draft project description, a project undergoes a 30-day public comment period.

After this, the project goes through validation during which a validation/verification body (VVB) reviews the project description and the comments received during the public comment period.

The length of the validation process varies from project to project. It can take up to a year or longer (in rare cases).

After a successful validation, the project proponent requests project registration with Verra as outlined in the Registration and Issuance Process document.

  1. Timeline for VCU Issuance

Before a project can be issued VCUs, the following steps need to be completed:

  1. Project activities need to be implemented and the GHG reductions and removals need to be monitored;
  2. validation/verification body (VVB)needs to verify the emission reductions and removals the project achieved;
  3. Verra needs to approve the verification.

Upon successful verification, the project can request VCU issuance. The exact timeline for this process varies from project to project.


Once a project has been registered and issued VCUs, the project proponent can sell these credits on the open market, typically the voluntary market and occasionally in a compliance market. If an entity uses VCUs to offset part of its carbon footprint, these units will be “retired”, i.e., they will be taken out of circulation so they can only be used for such a purpose once.

As a mission-driven, non-profit standard-setter Verra maintains an impartial position in the marketplace and does not buy, sell, or trade in carbon credits. Any negotiations and purchase agreements between the project developers and the buyers are established outside Verra Registry. Verra only retires credits per the instruction of the project proponent.

Additional Resources:

VCS Program Details

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