Rainforest Alliance Accredited for Voluntary Carbon Standard

March 30, 2009

The need to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly those emitted when lands are deforested, has prompted the growth of carbon forestry programs worldwide. Independent, third-party evaluation of forestry projects is crucial to ensuring their credibility. To this end, the Rainforest Alliance has received accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to ISO 14065:2007, the international standard for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies and a necessary requirement for approval to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). The Rainforest Alliance is now the first Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certifier to be fully accredited under this standard as a forestry verifier to the VCS.

Though reducing emissions is a first priority, individuals and organizations can "offset" emissions that they cannot eliminate by purchasing credits from projects that take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere or prevent their emission. Planting of trees, managing existing forests more responsibly and conserving forests that are in danger of deforestation or degradation all contribute to carbon dioxide sequestration. In coordination with its programs in sustainable forestry, agriculture and tourism, the Rainforest Alliance, an international conservation organization, audits farm and forest projects that can demonstrate their ability to sequester significant volumes of carbon.

Voluntary Carbon Standard

For the past two years, the Rainforest Alliance has provided carbon auditing services to FSC-certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified and non-certified landowners against the standards of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, Plan Vivo and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). With ANSI's positive accreditation decision, the Rainforest Alliance will now be able to verify VCS forestry and agroforestry projects.

"The VCS is emerging as the leading standard for voluntary verification of climate mitigation projects," said Jeff Hayward, climate initiative manager for the Rainforest Alliance. "Being the first FSC-certifier with formal accreditation to the VCS enables the Rainforest Alliance to offer a wider range of responsible forestry and climate verification to ground-breaking carbon projects globally."

The Rainforest Alliance has validated and verified forest carbon projects in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, England, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Indonesia, and is currently working with projects in over 20 countries.