Lloyds Register Quality Assurance, Inc. (LRQA North America)

LRQA`s Dr. Warris authors new voluntary carbon standard

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LRQA’s Dr Anne-Marie Warris, Technical Director Climate Change was retained by the VCS Steering Committee to author the new Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS 2007) based on their decisions. Her technical expertise was crucial in the final version of the standard, as her work with the International Standards Organization (ISO) has resulted in elements of ISO 14064 and ISO 14065 being incorporated into the VCS 2007 and its reference documents, the first time ISO has agreed to their standards being integrated into a non-ISO global standard.

The VCS Association and the founding members, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), The Climate Group (TCG) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), launched the VCS 2007 at the London Stock Exchange in November 2007. The standard, which was developed over a two-year period and included consultation with over 1,000 stakeholders, will provide organizations, individuals and corporations with the credibility and assurance needed to invest in voluntary carbon offset schemes around the globe.

Kerryn Schrank, Program Director of BP’s targetneutral™ emphasised the relevance of the VCS 2007 for major corporations looking to invest in the voluntary carbon market, “The Voluntary Carbon Standard brings a new level of assurance to the voluntary offset market and gives buyers confidence.”

In addition to the strength of the VCS Steering Committee, the cooperation of ISO and Dr Warris authoring the standard, the VCS 2007 has two benefits that help establish it as the only truly global option for the voluntary carbon market, one is that validation and verification must be performed by organisations accredited by a member of the International Accreditation Forum, using ISO 14065 or accredited by a VCS approved GHG programme, the other being that all Voluntary Carbon Units (VCU’s) must be held in a VCS approved registry, providing assurance against double counting and double trading of carbon credits.

      Dr Warris, commenting on the importance of the VCS 2007, said, “VCS 2007 will help to eliminate two key uncertainties in the voluntary offset market today. Firstly, the concern that, if an organization pays to offset a tonne of CO2, that the reduction in emissions achieved by the offset project might not equal one tonne, and secondly, the concern that their tonne of CO2 may have been ‘double counted’.

  Dr Warris explains the importance of the VCS and some of its key features and benefits on a podcast which is a part of the comprehensive materials that can be found at www.businessassurance.com/vcs. Additional materials on the site include the actual VCS 2007, blog posts related to the development and implementation of the standard, reference materials and research reports on the voluntary carbon market, information created and distributed by the VCS Association, interviews with VCS Association Board members, and a podcast with commentary from Gary Gero of the California Climate Registry.

The global voluntary carbon market accounted for 23.7 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006 worth an estimated $91 million.2 Industry experts are forecasting that figure rising to at least $4 billion over the next five years. Mark Kenber, Policy Director of The Climate Group, added, “All the stakeholders in the emerging voluntary carbon market recognise that standards are critical. Our Voluntary Carbon Standard introduces a stringent quality assurance to the market and underpins consumer confidence, market credibility and innovation in low carbon technologies.”

Dr Warris’ work in developing and authoring the standard was crucial in assuring that the standard is a robust one that combines the insight and experience of the VCS Steering Committee with the expertise of ISO. The VCS 2007 has the potential to provide the voluntary carbon market with the transparency and credibility needed to ensure that the regulated market is not the only avenue for organisations, individuals and corporations looking to reduce their carbon footprint and make a measurable difference in the battle against climate change.

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