What is a Methodology?

Methodologies set out detailed procedures for quantifying the real greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of a project and provide guidance to help project developers determine project boundaries, set baselines, assess additionality and ultimately quantify the GHG emissions that were reduced or removed. Any methodology developed under the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism can be used for projects and programs registering with VCS. The same is true for methodologies developed by the Climate Action Reserve, with the exception of their forest protocols.

If a current methodology does not fit, project developers can choose to develop their own methodology through the VCS methodology approval process.  

To ensure VCS remains the most robust and respected voluntary standard in the world, VCS periodically reviews approved methodologies to ensure they conform to current requirements, international best practices and scientific consensus. During this process, if it is determined that a methodology must be updated, revised or withdrawn, a grace period will apply for projects currently using the methodology. The status of each methodology is always displayed on the methodology page of the website.

VCS projects must comply with the grace periods and rules set out by the relevant GHG program. For example, if a CDM methodology is withdrawn, a VCS project using that methodology must issue the project validation report by the CDM deadline for requesting project registration.