Verra's investigation into Zimbabwe's Kariba REDD+ carbon offset project will 'follow the evidence'; it says situation demonstrates integrity and strength of buffer pool that backs Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use projects registered under VCS

Sample article from our Forestry & Timberland

October 27, 2023 (press release) –

As anyone who has read the media coverage would agree, Kariba is an unprecedented situation featuring a shocking amount of alleged malfeasance. That is why we launched a rigorous and complete investigation under VCS Program Guide section 2.5.6, the VCS Registration and Issuance Process section 6, and the CCBS Program Rules section 4.7.30

The fundamental principle of our investigative process is that uncovering the truth is critical to the overall integrity of the market. Verra does not comment about such reviews while ongoing to avoid prejudicing the investigation. These are intensive and methodical investigations and are proceeding expeditiously, but do not have a concrete timeline for completion. Verra’s investigation will follow the evidence.

After the investigation is complete, there are several possible remedies. If it is determined that unethical or illegal behavior took place, Verra could suspend the project proponent’s Registry account. If it is determined that a reversal took place, Verra could tap into the buffer pool to account for the reversal. If it is determined that an excess issuance of credits has occurred, Verra could require compensation from the project proponent. Verra is assessing these and all other options.

Critically, contrary to reporting on the issue by Bloomberg, this moment provides a demonstration of the integrity and strength of the buffer pool mechanism. The buffer pool, after all, exists to back the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) projects registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Even adding up the total number of credits issued by Kariba since its inception is far less than the total buffer pool. It is noteworthy that the buffer pool can handle even this unique and extraordinary situation.


Verra is a global leader helping to tackle the world’s most intractable environmental and social challenges. As a mission-driven non-profit organization, Verra is committed to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods, and protect natural resources by working with the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards, tools, and programs that credibly, transparently and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits.

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