Over the past few months, Will Solutions’ team has been working hard on updating its methodology.


Why a carbon project methodology?

Will’s Sustainable Communities are registered projects under the Verified Carbon Standard by Verra. Everything we do for the Sustainable Communities must be approved by Verra. To do so, in 2012, Will developed a methodology titled VM0018. The methodology dictates what sectors are eligible under the Sustainable Communities and how we quantify emission reductions among other requirements.


Why update the VM0018 Sustainable Communities methodology?

Will has more than 10 years of experience in the voluntary carbon market and has successfully completed 6 cycles of Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV). The seventh has been submitted for verification recently. All those years of experience have allowed Will to grow, improve, and establish new ambitious objectives for the Sustainable Communities, such as adding the transportation sector to the list of eligible sectors.

The transportation sector is a big player in climate change. In fact, according to Transport Canada (2021), the road transportation sector alone is responsible for 21% of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada, which is the equivalent of 156 million of tonnes of CO2. Hence, adding the transportation sector to the methodology is intended to further stimulate participation of small organizations (NGOs, SMEs, municipalities, etc.) to the Sustainable Communities and to further reduce emissions.

With the same goal of stimulating participation of a greater number of small organizations, Will wanted to include a wider range of waste types and waste treatments. For now, the VM0018 is limited to cardboard recycling, organic waste composting and aerobic decomposition.

In short, our 12-year-old methodology must be updated to reflect these changes.


The Amended Methodology

The amended methodology follows the rigorous principles and requirements of the VCS program. It contains the following main sections:

Applicability Conditions: This section describes the necessary conditions for the application of the methodology. Instead of listing eligibility criteria for specific projects, applicability conditions are general conditions that allow the establishment of a Sustainable Community.
Project Boundary: Project boundaries are physical and geographical boundaries that allow to locate a project and define the different GHG sources that will be considered in the quantification of emission reductions.
Baseline Scenario: The baseline scenario is a reference scenario that is used to compare with the project to determine the quantity of emissions reduced or avoided by the project. The baseline scenario is usually the situation before the implementation of a project. However, there are different types of baseline scenarios, which are applicable to different contexts. This section describes our procedure to determine which type of baseline scenario we will use in a given context.
Additionality: Additionality is a requirement for higher quality carbon credits. This section describes how we demonstrate that our projects are additional.
Quantification of GHG Emission Reductions: This section explains the equations used for the quantification of baseline emissions, project emissions and emission reductions.
Monitoring : This section lists the different parameters and variables considered in our calculations. It also lists the possible evidence or sources that support the data provided for each parameter and variable.


Will’s Sustainable Communities are “grouped projects”, which means they group various emission reduction projects called “project activity instances” (PAIs). Most VCS requirements apply to both the grouped project and PAIs. To account for this, and to improve on the methodology’s clarity, the different sections in the amended methodology address both the grouped project and the PAIs. The following table highlights the main elements of each section:

  Sustainable Community PAI (Project Activity Instance)
Applicability Conditions Will must be the owner of emission reductions. This is done though a legally binding contract that transfers ownership of emission reductions from the PAI implementer to Will Solutions. PAIs must be part of sectoral scope 3, 7 or 13 (Energy Demand, Transport and Waste Handling and Disposal).
PAI implementers must be owners of their projects.
Participation to the Sustainable Community must be the only access to the voluntary carbon market (emission reductions must be claimed only once).
Project Boundary A Sustainable Community is limited to a geographical area with similar climactic conditions and socio-economic context, such as the cost of energy, large grid-connected energy suppliers, temperatures, etc.) PAIs must be located within the geographical area of the Sustainable Community to which it belongs.
PAIs can be limited to an equipment or system impacted by the project (e.g. replacement of a propane forklift to an electric forklift), but they can also cover the whole building (e.g. conversion of a heating system from fuel oil to electricity).
Baseline Scenario In the absence of the Sustainable Community, all the projects would not generate emission reductions. Therefore, the baseline scenario is the sum of all emission reductions generated by all the PAIs in a Sustainable Community. The baseline scenario is the scenario that best represents the situation in the absence of the PAI. Depending on the context, the baseline scenario may be the quantity of GHG that would have been emitted without the PAI, with or without considering any changes that could affect the PAI (e.g. production increase and longer operating hours directly influence energy consumption). The baseline scenario may also be the quantity of GHG emitted by a more common practice in the field and at the scale of the PAI.
Additionality A Sustainable Community is deemed as additional if it is the first of its kind in a territory. PAIs are additional if they go beyond laws and regulations in their territory, if they overcome one or more implementation barrier and if they are rare or uncommon practices.
Quantification of Emission Reductions Emission reductions are quantified as the sum of all emission reductions generated by all the PAIs in a Sustainable Community. Emission reductions are quantified using specific equations, that are adapted to each PAI type.
Monitoring Not applicable Here are some examples of parameters:
Fuel consumption, electricity consumption, mass of waste recovered, distance traveled


The development of a methodology is a thorough process. The methodology must go through numerous cycles of verification, comments, adjustments, submission, and verification again. At the moment, the methodology completed its first verification cycle, which we conducted with our partners. The methodology will be submitted to the VCS program shortly.


Next Steps

The next step will be to wait the instructions from the VCS program. VCS is currently auditing its active methodologies, including the VM0018, to validate and submit them to the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) for review. We are convinced that the amended version of the methodology, which covers three sectoral scopes (3, 7, and 13), is a first-of-its-kind in the world – that is what we concluded from our research on the Berkeley University database available (Read the full article here) – and that it will catalyze climate action for a greater number of small organizations.

Anne Ménard
GHG Auditor
Author and editor