Registry system to boost carbon market integrity and growth

Thursday, 26 March, 2009

The VCS (Voluntary Carbon Standard) Registry System is the first multiple registry system to launch in the $330 million voluntary carbon market.

The global registry system, which includes the VCS Project Database, ensures all carbon credits generated under the VCS — Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) — can be tracked from issuance to retirement. It is a key part of the program which ensures that all VCUs are real, measurable, additional, permanent, independently verified, unique and traceable.

Three international companies are contracted to act as registries for the VCS Program: APX Inc (an environmental market infrastructure provider in North America); Caisse des Dépôts (a French financial institution and developer of CO2 registries in Europe); TZ1 (an international financial markets metaregistry in the US, UK and Asia Pacific).

VCS registries will issue, hold, transfer and retire VCUs representing one tonne of greenhouse gas reduction or removal.

The registries will interact directly with the VCS Project Database, which can be viewed publicly (www.vcsprojectdatabase.org), to upload project documentation and obtain unique serial numbers for each VCU. Together, the infrastructure provided by the global registries and the database provides a transparent, robust and scalable chain of custody for the voluntary carbon market.

The registry system incorporates features including:

  • the opportunity to expand the number of participating registries in the future, providing a truly scalable system;
  • a robust legal framework;
  • a state-of-the-art central project database system which publicly posts all key project documentation and ensures all VCUs in the system are unique;
  • inter-registry transfers (a planned feature) that will save buyers from having to open multiple accounts;
  • multilingual language support.

“The new registry embodies the VCS’s commitment to transparency, innovation and environmental and financial integrity," Mark Kenber, Chair of the VCSA and Policy Director of The Climate Group, said.

"Credits verified under the VCS are attracting growing interest from US buyers because of their high quality, affordability and potential fungibility with any future US cap-and-trade system. The robust legal framework and infrastructure will further underpin buyer and public confidence in the market and in carbon as a tradable commodity.”

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