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Carbon Offset Verification
Forestry and Land-Use
Christie Pollet-Young, Director, Greenhouse Gas Verificationphone icon510.452.9093 Email
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Generate valuable, credible carbon offset credits for your forestry and land-use projects. SCS Global Services is recognized for quality validation and verification services under the California Air Resources Board, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB), the Climate Action Reserve, and the Gold Standard. Our services can qualify your credits to be traded globally in voluntary and mandatory offset markets. 

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Our Audit Team

The SCS audit 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.

Project Types

The following project types can be verified:

  • 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)

Forest Carbon and Land-Use Carbon Offset Services

  • Pre-assessment or gap analysis - We can conduct a gap analysis prior to initiating the project. A gap analysis can identify technical issues prior to full verification.
  • Project design validation - Validate the design of your forest carbon offset project with SCS to determine your eligibility for verification. Please contact us at any point in the development stages of your project.
  • Verification of project-based emissions reductions - We verify greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions based on the program standard and project type.
  • VCS Methodology Assessment - For carbon offset projects where no prior methodology exists.

Contact SCS for informational resources specific to your project type and standard.

Complementary Services

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


SCS will guide your project staff through the verification process and provide personalized attention with a fast turnaround and a high-level of service tailored to your needs.

  1. Apply for Verification

    Complete an application form, including a description of your project and its location. SCS staff will return a proposal to you for signature. To initiate the verification process, return a signed proposal and contract agreement.

  2. Submit Project Documentation

    SCS will conduct a desk review of all project documentation and issues findings to the applicant. You have an opportunity to address each finding before the site visit.

  3. Site Visit

    We will conduct site visit(s) to assess the project's compliance with the relevant program standards. This includes an office visit and a field visit.

  4. Draft Verification Report

    SCS will issue a draft verification report that details findings from the site visit. You have an opportunity to address findings before the final verification decision is made.

  5. Technical Review

    A lead verifier who was not involved in the audit will do an independent review of the draft verification report.

  6. Verification Report

    The final verification opinion is submitted to the applicable greenhouse gas registry for issuance of carbon offsets (as warranted).

Projects and Clients
View a Case Study

SCS Global Services first began verifying carbon offset projects in 2007, building on its long history as an expert in forest management certification. In 2008, we were among the first companies in the world to achieve ISO 14065 accreditation for the validation and verification of forest carbon offset projects. SCS has since become the world's leading verifier of forest carbon offsets.

In 2007, SCS conducted the first verifications of Forest Conservation Management Projects under the Climate Action Reserve (CAR). SCS has verified projects totaling more than five million acres globally.

Biofilica Environmental Investments: Jari Amapa REDD+ Project

SCS validated and verified the 2011-2012 avoided carbon dioxide equivalent (C02e) emissions of this Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) project in the Brazilian Jari Amapa forest, registered to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). As part of the REDD+ activities, project manager Biofilica Environmental Investments incubates small businesses that serve as alternatives to deforestation, directly benefiting more than 50 families. The 65,000-hectare REDD+ project is a portion of a 200,000-hectare forest certified to the Forest Stewardship Council standard by SCS previously. The surrounding ecosystem is home to more than 150 threatened animal, plant and insect species.

The Conservation Fund: Big River & Salmon Creek

SCS has verified the Big River and Salmon Creek Forest Project from 2007 through 2012 under the CAR's Forest Project Protocol. This conservation-based forest management project in Northern California is an Air Resources Board (ARB) early action project under California's carbon offset trading scheme, and is composed of two forest tracts that are high priority refugia watersheds for California Coho Salmon. The 15,911 acres of important coastal forestland provide a significant contribution to the integrity and ecological viability of their respective watersheds, and the approximately one million metric tons of biological carbon stored in the land now has permanent conservation restrictions.

Terra Global Capital: Oddar Meanchey REDD+ Project

 SCS verified the Oddar Meanchey Project's 700,000 tonnes of avoided greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the 2008 - 2011 time period, registered to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This Cambodia REDD+ project was the first in the world to earn the "Triple Gold" distinction under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard. The collaborative initiative has sparked the creation of community-based water delivery enterprises, sustainable farming systems, land tenure facilitation processes and fuel-efficient stove delivery.

Conservation International: Alto Mayo Conservation Initiative

In the summer of 2012, SCS validated the deforestation reduction activities of the Alto Mayo Conservation Initiative, registered to the VCS. The 700 square miles of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon covered by this project is of extremely high value for biodiversity conservation and watershed protection. As part of the deforestation avoidance programs the project puts in place, conservation agreements will increase the productivity and sustainability of local family coffee plantations, all while reducing emissions from deforestation by an average of 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Disney is one of the project's biggest funders, donating $3.5 million to the conservation efforts.

World Bank - VCS Agriculture Methodology Approval

SCS assessed the World Bank's new methodology for estimating the emission reductions resulting from adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. The methodology was approved under the VCS and is based on the Western Kenya Smallholder Agriculture Carbon Finance project. The Western Kenya project, which is supported by the World Bank's Carbon Finance Unit's BioCarbon Fund, focuses on helping farmers adopt practices that increase carbon in soil and biomass on agricultural lands.

Anthrotect - Choco-Darien Corridor CCB Project

SCS validated Anthrotect's Choco-Darien Corridor carbon offset project to the CCB Project Design Standards. The project, located in northwestern Colombia near the Panama border, was awarded CCB Gold Level status for its exceptional social and environmental benefits. Over its 30-year lifespan, the project will prevent the emission of over 2.3 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by protecting more than 13,500 hectares of forest.

Wildlife Works Carbon LLC - Kasigau Corridor REDD Project

SCS assessed of one of Africa's first REDD projects evaluating the project for its climate, community and biodiversity benefits. The project's 74,000 acre nature sanctuary serves as an important wildlife corridor between Kenya's Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks.

Project activities include preservation of the dryland forest along with various community development initiatives. The sanctuary includes an organic clothing factory called Ecofactory, which employs young women from the community who sew organic cotton clothing. Local farmers cultivate subsidized citrus trees in the sanctuary's organic greenhouse and earn income from the sale of the fruit. The sanctuary also includes an ecotourism camp, where safari guides and other service jobs provide employment for locals. SCS was able to validate the project at the Gold Level under the CCB standards. Wildlife Works has also hired SCS to conduct validation and verification of the project under the VCS.


What is the difference between validation and verification?

Validation is the process of evaluating a project's plan for absorbing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. Verification is the process of evaluating calculations of the actual amount of greenhouse gases that have been absorbed or avoided by a 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 auditor, SCS does not participate in the buying, selling, or marketing of credits. If a project is verified, it may facilitate issuance of credits.

Request Information

For immediate service:

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