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Carbon Offset Verification

Forestry and Land-Use
Christie Pollet-Young, Director, Greenhouse Gas Verificationphone icon510.452.9093 Email
carbon offset forestry auditing

Carbon offset projects are developed to provide real reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing, absorbing or avoiding the release of carbon dioxide. SCS Global Services works closely with project developers and landowners to provide third-party verification of forestry and land-use projects, a crucial step to secure the sale or trade of carbon credits in global carbon markets such as the California Cap-and-Trade Program.

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Accredited Verification Body
SCS is accredited to ISO 14065 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to offer carbon offset project validation and verification under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), the American Carbon Registry (ACR), and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCB). SCS is also accredited to perform carbon offset project verifications under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for all project types.

Carbon Offset Services

  • Pre-assessment or gap analysis – SCS can conduct a gap analysis prior to initiating the project. A gap analysis can identify technical issues prior to final verification.
  • Project design validation – SCS can validate the design of your offset project to determine your eligibility for verification. Please contact our GHG verification staff at any point in the development stages of your project.
  • Verification of project-based emissions reductions – SCS can verify GHG emission reductions.
  • VCS Methodology Assessment – SCS can help you develop a methodology for carbon offset projects where no prior methodology exists.


Complementary SCS Services

Combine your carbon offset verification with Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Forest Management Certification for increased operational and cost efficiency.


Project Types

SCS Global Services works with project developers, landowners, manufacturers, and private and municipal operators. The SCS verification team has broad expertise in Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land-Use (AFOLU), including forest inventory and sampling, remote sensing, GIS, forest biometrics, forest modeling, soil carbon, combined VCS-CCB audits, and combined FSC and forest carbon audits. Some of the project types that SCS can verify include:

  • Improved Forest Management
  • Afforestation and Reforestation
  • Avoided Conversion Projects
  • REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation)
  • Sustainable Agricultural Land Management
  • Other AFOLU Project Types (including peatlands and wetlands)

If you do not see your project type listed above or for an exhaustive list of the project types SCS verifies, please contact us.

Generate Carbon Credits

Steps to Project Completion and Credit Generation

  1. Choose a methodology developed under a recognized GHG program and develop offset project
  2. Work with SCS for third-party validation and verification
    1. Desk review: SCS conducts a desk review of all project documentation and validates the project design
    2. Site visit: SCS conducts a site visit to assess your project’s conformance with the relevant standard
    3. Draft Report: SCS issues a draft report based on submitted materials and findings from the site visit
    4. Technical Review: An SCS lead verifier who is not involved in the verification process will conduct an independent review of the audit
    5. Scheme Review and Approval: SCS produces a finalized verification opinion and submits the report to the applicable GHG program for registration and request for the issuance of carbon offsets
  3. Carbon credits are issued

What is the difference between validation and verification?
Validation is the process of evaluating the design of a project's plan for sequestering carbon dioxide or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. Verification is the process of evaluating calculations of the actual amount of greenhouse gas emissions that have been avoided or sequestered through implementation of the project.

How long will the carbon offset verification process take?
A typical verification takes 3-6 months. The length of verification depends on the size and complexity of the project, the standards used, and project type. The duration is also affected by how well the project developer is prepared and on response time.

To which standards does SCS verify?
SCS can verify projects to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Climate Action Reserve (CAR), or the American Carbon Registry (ACR), SCS can also verify projects being developed in the US to the California Air Resource Board (ARB) Compliance Forest Protocol. Projects with exemplary social and environmental components may be verified to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS).

How much does it cost?
Cost depends on factors such as project size, location, complexity, type, the standards used, and level of preparedness. Contact SCS for a customized quote.

What information do I need to provide to get a quote?
Filling out an application will provide SCS with the information needed to create a price quote. A complete application allows SCS to produce an accurate quote quickly. You will need to provide information on the standards used, project status, project size, and project location.

How do I know when my project is ready for validation and verification?
Projects can be validated and verified once they have a completed Project Design Document (PDD) that complies with the relevant standard. SCS often recommends conducting an internal audit to make sure the document is complete and to save time down the road.

Do you help project developers sell offsets or credits?
As an independent verifier, SCS does not participate in the buying, selling, or marketing of credits. However, third-party verification of credits is often a prerequisite for entry into carbon markets.

Does SCS help with project development?
As an independent third-party verifier, we cannot participate in consulting activities such as helping with project development if we are to later validate or verify a project.


“We chose SCS because of their expertise and professionalism necessary for first-in-kind carbon projects as well as more established projects.”
- Todd English, Former VP Operations, EOS Climate


“It is essential that the chosen verification body be as time efficient as possible. SCS’ team provides this efficiency, consistently meeting deadlines while maintaining the highest standards of project evaluation.”
- Josh Strauss, Vice President, Bluesource

For immediate service:

Christie Pollet-Young, Director, Greenhouse Gas Verification phone icon 510.452.9093 Email Christie