Carbon Offset Verification

Verify your carbon offset projects with SCS: Forests, Land-Use, Energy, Industry, Agriculture, Blue Carbon, and more

What is Carbon Offset Verification?

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, a crucial step to secure the sale or trade of carbon credits in global carbon markets such as the California Cap-and-Trade Program. Certified projects have real climate mitigation benefits, backed by SCS’ reliability and long-standing climate expertise, with over 290 million tons of carbon emissions reductions verified to date.

SCS Global Services works with project developers, landowners, manufacturers, and private and municipal operators in a wide variety of industries. The SCS verification team has expertise with first-of-its-kind projects, with a long history of experience 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.

The SCS Greenhouse Gas Program currently employs three VCSA-approved Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) experts with experience in biometrics, soil carbon, and forestry projects, and offers VCS methodology review and project validation as well as verification services. Our staff not only bring expertise to your carbon offset project, but the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are working with an experienced team that has verified over 380 million tonnes of Co2e emissions reductions.

See a map of projects verified by SCS

Why Choose SCS for Carbon Offset Verification?

SCS Global Services has become a leader in the carbon offset verification services market due to our commitment to quality, trust and transparency. To date, SCS has verified forest offset projects on five continents ranging from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) projects to Reforestation and Improved Forest Management projects. Our carbon offset verification program has been voted best Validation/Verification Body (VVB) by peers and other carbon market experts for multiple years and our team continues to receive the highest ratings with customers.

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  • Benefits
  • FAQs
  • Generate Carbon Credits
  • Service Offerings
  • Testimonials
  • Program Documents
  • Project Assurance: Assure funders and buyers that your projects are making real climate mitigation benefits, backed by SCS’s reliability and long-standing climate expertise
  • Experienced Program Managers: Work with knowledgeable, credentialed staff with experience verifying a wide range of offset types
  • Brand Awareness and Increased Market Value: Provide independent confirmation of your emissions reduction claim for better access to carbon markets
  • Exceptional Customer Support: Receive support throughout the verification process and afterward
  • Industry Expertise: SCS has verified over 295 million tons of carbon emission reductions

What is the difference between carbon offset validation and carbon offset 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) or the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).

How much does Carbon Offset Verification 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.

How do I know when my carbon offset 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.

Does SCS help project developers sell offsets or credits?
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.

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

  • Desk review: SCS conducts a desk review of all project documentation and validates the project design
  • Site visit: SCS conducts a site visit to assess your project’s conformance with the relevant standard
  • Draft Report: SCS issues a draft report based on submitted materials and findings from the site visit
  • Technical Review: An SCS lead verifier who is not involved in the verification process will conduct an independent review of the audit
  • 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

Accredited Verification Body

SCS is accredited to ISO 14065 by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to offer carbon offset project validation and verification under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), the American Carbon Registry (ACR), the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCB), the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta), and the Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL). SCS is also accredited to perform carbon offset project verifications under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for all project types.

Carbon Offset logos

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.

Project Types

Below are some of the project types that SCS can verify. If you don’t see your project type listed below, please contact us to ask.

  • Afforestation and Reforestation
  • Avoided Conversion Projects
  • Biofuel production
  • Blue Carbon
  • College energy efficiency
  • Compost Addition
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Grasslands
  • Improved Forest Management
  • Landfill Methane Destruction
  • Livestock Methane Destruction
  • Mine Methane Capture
  • Other AFOLU Project Types (including peatlands and wetlands)
  • Ozone Depleting Substances Destruction
  • REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation)
  • Renewable Energy
  • Rice cultivation
  • Sustainable Agricultural Land Management
  • Transportation
  • Various industrial and manufacturing processes

Complementary SCS Services

In addition, SCS provides carbon footprint measurement and verification for any entity or corporation. SCS offers measurement and verification of GHG inventories under the World Resources Institute and the Carbon Disclosure Project. SCS is also ANAB-accredited to offer GHG inventory verification under The Climate Registry. Also, combine your forest project verification with Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Forest Management Certification for increased operational and cost efficiency.

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
Forest Carbon Partners has been pleased to work with SCS on over 20 carbon offset verifications. We value the expertise and professionalism of the SCS verification team because we know that undergoing third-party verification with SCS helps ensure the long-term integrity of our offset credits.”
- Emily Warms, Manager of Investment & Operations, New Forests

We are proud to have our project validated by SCS Global Services as the world’s first under a new methodology for electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. SCS is one of the world’s premier third-party verifiers, ensuring thoroughness in design and confirming the validity of our process of obtaining carbon credits for our EV charging stations.”
- Wayne Killen, Director of Infrastructure Planning and Business Development, Electrify America

File Name Document
American Carbon Registry Visit Site
California Air Resources Board - Compliance Offset Program Visit Site
California Air Resources Board - Livestock Compliance Offset Protocol Visit Site
California Air Resources Board - Ozone Depleting Substances Compliance Offset Protocol Visit Site
California Air Resources Board - U.S. Forest Compliance Offset Protocol Visit Site
Carbon Offset Verification Brochure English   |   Spanish
Case Study English
Climate Action Reserve - Forest Project Protocol Visit Site
Climate Action Reserve - Landfill Project Protocol Visit Site
Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards Visit Site
Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes Visit Site
Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard Visit Site
The Climate Registry Visit Site
Verified Carbon Standard Visit Site

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Kenneth Zame

Christie Pollet-Young

Heather Rosa