Here we provide important information about the Standard update and deadlines for project submission under the 2013 version of the Plan Vivo Standard.



As many of you know, we are currently in the process of updating the rules and guidance that govern the application of the Plan Vivo Standard. At the heart of the motivation for this Standard update lies the need to refresh and align with current VCM best practice and requirements for compensatory claims, while also maintaining the accessibility of the Standard for smallholder- and community-led projects. Plan Vivo will retain our commitment to ensuring that vulnerable and difficult to reach communities can access the VCM and that any benefits from the sale of credits will continue to be equitably shared with those communities and small holders.  


Where we have come from

The Plan Vivo Standard is the leading set of requirements used to certify smallholder and community projects based on their climate, livelihoods and environmental benefits. Our pioneering Standard is the longest standing in the Voluntary Carbon Market. It was originally developed in 1994 to incentivise and compensate smallholder reforestation in Chiapas, Mexico. Since then, Plan Vivo has accumulated a wealth of expertise and knowledge working with smallholder and community projects and has gone through a 20-year+ evolution to a tried-and-tested model.  

Over the last 20 years, there have been many lessons learned and we’re proud to see that our Standard is attracting more and more projects as a pragmatic solution to empower smallholders and communities in delivering climate impacts across the world. In order to incorporate experience and lessons learned over the last few years, and to integrate trends and changing policy landscapes, the Plan Vivo Standards is periodically updated. 

The previous update to the Standard was released in 2013 in response to an increasing interest in REDD projects and to welcome new innovative projects testing new models such as mangrove conservation, grasslands management and soil carbon projects.  

In 2015, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by 195 countries which raised ambition across the globe to keep temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius. At Plan Vivo, we want to ensure that our projects are best placed to contribute to global efforts in the fight against climate change, whilst putting communities at the centre of solutions. Therefore, a new update of the Plan Vivo Standard will be released in towards the end of 2021. 


Progress on the new standard

Plan Vivo has been in the process of updating its Standard over the last few years in order to respond and adapt to changing international carbon market landscapes, and to continuously make the Standard more robust and adaptive. The secretariat has been supported by various Technical Working Groups and a newly formed Steering Group, made up of key stakeholders across the Plan Vivo network, to address and advise on key decisions related to Plan Vivo’s position within the VCM. With Scotland set to host COP26 later this year, 2021 seems an appropriate time for us to launch the Standard update. 

The main change that will be introduced with the 2021 Update of the Standard is that the Standard will contain 3 sets of key requirements: 

  1. Project Requirements  
  2. Methodological Requirements 
  3. Validation and Verification Requirements  

We will announce when these documents will be released for public consultation in late summer 2021, and we strongly encourage you all to participate and feed into this participatory process. We will publish the process for reviewing and feedback on the updated Standard in due course.  

Note: As a result of updating the Standard, we will close submission of new PINs temporarily from 15th of August – 30th of October 2021 to update our guidance based on the new version of the Standard. Therefore, if you would like to submit a PIN under the 2013 version of the Plan Vivo Standard, it must be submitted before the end of 14th August. After this period, any new PINs submitted will be reviewed against the 2021 version of the Plan Vivo Standard. 

As I’m sure you all appreciate, making changes to the Standard, while continuing to support existing projects is not easy. We ask for your patience to bear with us during this time of transition and we look forward to bringing you a new an improved version of the Standard so together with the wider Plan Vivo network, we can increase our impact for people, climate and nature.