Carbon compensation certificates - VERs

Carbon offsetting represents one market-based means of accomplishing the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon offset

A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases and it is measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e). There are currently two different markets:

  • The Compliance market: Kyoto Protocol and EU ETS
  • The Voluntary market: individuals, companies or governments purchasing carbon offsets to mitigate their own greenhouse gas emissions.

Under both the compliance and voluntary markets a financial support – in the form of tradable emission reductions units - is given to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the voluntary market this tradable emission reduction unit is a Verified Emission Reduction (VER) and it is generated worldwide from projects that reduce CO2 emissions.

Verified Emission Reduction (VER)

VERs are usually certified through a voluntary certification process and not under the Kyoto Protocol.
The VERs can be used to compensate carbon emissions by organisations that voluntarily want to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. 1 VER corresponds to one metric ton of CO2 equivalent.

Projects can be developed across the following sectors:

  • forest conservation
  • renewable and non-renewable energy
  • manufacturing
  • waste disposal

Complete list of VCS sectoral scopes

Nvalue portfolio

Several standards for this type of emission reduction units are available within Nvalue Portfolio.

Voluntary Carbon Standard VERS (VCS VERs)

The VCS is a greenhouse gas accounting program used by projects around the world to verify and issue carbon credits in voluntary markets.

VCS was founded in 2005 by business and environmental leaders - the Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the World Economic Forum. 

The VCS Program is among the most widely used quality assurance system for accounting for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in the voluntary carbon market.

Used by more than 600 projects worldwide, the VCS Program is recognised and trusted to ensure GHG emission reductions and removals are real, measurable, additional, permanent, independently verified, conservatively estimated and uniquely numbered.

Gold Standard VERs( GS VERs)

The Gold Standard is an award winning certification standard for carbon mitigation projects and is recognised internationally as the benchmark for quality and rigor in both the compliance and voluntary carbon markets.

The Gold Standard certifies renewable energy and energy efficiency carbon offset projects to ensure that they all demonstrate real and permanent greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and sustainable development benefits in local communities that are measured, reported and verified.

Established in 2003 by the WWF, the Gold Standard is the only certification standard trusted and endorsed by more than 80 NGOs worldwide.


The VER+ Standard provides a global standard for voluntary GHG emission reduction projects.

The criteria of the VER+ Standard are streamlined with those of CDM / JI, including the requirements of project additionality and corresponding tests that prove that the project is not a business as usual scenario.

VER+ eligibility criteria Standard

Each Standard sets out different rules governing the project types that are acceptable and the measurements of emission reductions. Standards are important because they provide assurance for buyers of VERs.

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