Verification – ongoing check of project sequestration

What is verification?

Verification is the ongoing evaluation of the project against the requirements of Skógarkolefni – the Icelandic Forest Carbon Code by a body accredited by the Standards of Iceland. Verification will assess the carbon sequestration that has occurred as well as continuing management to the Icelandic Forest Service Sustainable Forest Management Guidelines. At verification, the verification body will check that statements about predicted or actual carbon sequestration are materially correct;

  • At year 5, with a limited level of assurance
  • From year 15 onwards, with a reasonable level of assurance for standard projects and a limited level of assurance for small projects.

When do I verify and how long does it take?

The verification due date is indicated on your most recent validation or verification statement. The first verification shall be completed 5 years after the project start date, and then at least every 10 years, unless Self-Assessment is carried out instead. The verification dates are linked to the vintage end dates on the Pending Issuance Units listed at validation.

You should begin the process 12 months before the verification is due. After surveying and submitting your documents, allow 6 months from when you sign a contract with the verifier to convert your carbon units to the ICR Registry.

Top tips for a smooth verification:

  • Give the verifier as much notice as possible
  • Make sure your documents are well completed and accurate
  • Make sure you submit all the necessary supporting evidence from your field survey (and other documents to support any changes to your project)
  • Respond as quickly as possible to requests for further information, clarification or corrective actions

A Verification Extension can be given in extenuating circumstances - Contact the FCC Secretariat.

Verifying groups of projects

Ideally, groups will be formed prior to validation, but it is also possible to form a group for the purposes of verification.

  • If a group is formed for verification, the start dates of the projects within the group should be within 2 years of each other (this also means that their verifications will be due within 2 years of each other).
  • A group requires a Group Manager and Group Agreement (See 2.1 Commitment of landowners and project/ group managers).
  • Once projects are grouped, the grouping should remain the same for each subsequent verification.

Who can verify my project?

Only one certification body has opted to certify FCC projects so far. More will be added to this list with time.

Borgartúni 30
105 Reykjavík
Tel: +354 565 9001

How much does verification cost?

The cost of validation is per project. We recommend getting quotes from validators.

The cost of verification is estimated between 400.000 ISK and 600.000 ISK per project, plus extra for travel and subsistence where a site visit is required. We recommend getting quotes from verifiers.

What's the process?

Stage 1. Preparing and submitting documents

  • Contact a verification body to initiate the verification process ideally 12 months before the verification due date; start monitoring at this time also (if weather allows)
  • Ask the verification body to check your survey plan prior to commencing monitoring. See: 2.5 Monitoring
  • Prepare the following documents referring to further guidance on the Forest Carbon Code
  • Make sure to use the right Templates of documents. Make sure to submit Version 2.0 Project Progress Report to be validated under Version 2.0 of the standard

You will then agree and sign a contract with a validation/verification body (VVB), and as a minimum, the following documents are required (see Template Documents) - other supporting evidence may also be necessary (see PDD for further details):

Project Progress Report (PPR)

  • Full Monitoring Report for each stratum identified in the project
  • Photos of the site as a whole and taken at each plot location
  • Map showing plot locations
  • Landowner, Tenant and Agent Contact Details (if any parties have changed since last assessment)
  • Landowner/Tenant commitment statement (if any parties have changed)

Stage 2. Project audit

The verifier will audit your project against the requirements of the Forest Carbon Code. The verifier will always visit the site at the year 5 verification for single projects but will do so on a risk-based approach for subsequent verifications. Monitoring carried out by an independent third party could be less likely to require a field visit.

You may be asked for further evidence, or to address some ‘Corrective Actions’. Your validator will usually allow one month to address Corrective Actions that can be completed quickly (e.g., fence repairs), whilst allowing up to one year for changes that are likely to take longer (e.g., supplemental planting) - except in exceptional circumstances. Corrective Actions will be required if establishment and/or tree growth and carbon sequestration rates do not meet predictions. Proof could be, for example, invoices or photographic evidence. A further site visit will usually not be required.

In some instances, where Corrective Actions are not quickly resolved, then the project can be verified ‘subject to Corrective Actions being completed’, provided a Remedial Plan is provided. If Corrective Actions are not resolved and there is no Remedial Plan, then your project will either be verified with red status, or not verified at all, depending upon the severity of concern about the project's success.

  • If the project demonstrates a stocking density of at least 2.000 stems per hectare in year 5, with no concerns about browsing levels, the next verification will be at year 15 as normal
  • If there are concerns about browsing levels or other health issues of the seedlings at year 5 then the verifier may require either:
    • Further action to promote establishment such as enhanced sheep/reindeer management, direct seeding or enrichment planting, and/or
    • An extra verification at year 10 to confirm continued progress
  • If the project is still not sequestering as fast as predicted, then the carbon prediction for future vintages would also be revised at this stage.

Stage 3. Project Review

Your project documentation will be reviewed by FCC Secretariat for consistency/completeness.

If the verification is successful, the verifier will issue a Verification Statement. It will be valid for 10 years (except in exceptional circumstances). The Verification Statement will have a Green-Amber-Red rating.

Green: This project delivered all carbon units within the current vintage and there are no concerns about the ability of the project to deliver units in future vintages.

Amber: This project delivered all carbon units within the current vintage but is verified subject to ongoing corrective actions being completed. Assuming the Remedial Plan to complete these actions is followed, there are no concerns about the ability of the project to deliver units in future vintages.

Red: This project failed to deliver all carbon units within the current vintage and/or there are concerns about this project’s ability to deliver sufficient units in future vintages.

If your project is classified as 'Green' status from year 15 onwards:

  • If your project has sequestered more than predicted, any extra units realized will be issued as verified Forest Carbon Units.

If your project is classified as 'Red' status at year 5:

  • All PIUs from the first vintage will be marked 'Not Delivered'
  • The verifier will require your next verification at year 10 rather than year 15
  • You will be required to reassess your carbon prediction and update the FCC Carbon Calculator at year 10 or 15, once the level of establishment is clearer. Any reduction in predicted sequestration will result in PIUs from future vintages being marked 'Not Delivered'.

If your project is classified as 'Red' status from year 15 onwards:

  • If your survey results confirm less carbon is stored onsite than predicted, then any undelivered PIUs will be marked 'Not Delivered'.
  • Your next verification will normally be due in 10 years
  • You will be required to re-assess your carbon prediction and update the FCC Carbon Calculator. Any reduction in predicted sequestration will result in PIUs from future vintages being marked 'Not Delivered'.

If there is little or no chance of recovery of the project to deliver carbon in future vintages, the project will not be verified.

Stage 4. Updating the registry and converting Pending Issuance Units (PIUs) to Forest Carbon Units (FCUs)

To update your project and carbon unit status on the ICR Registry, you should:

  • Login to the registry to create an 'issuance' of the relevant number of Forest Carbon Units for the vintage/time period being checked.
  • Your verification body will then upload your final documents and Verification Statement to the ICR Registry.
  • ICR will invoice you a verification fee including converting your Pending Issuance Units into verified Forest Carbon Units and issuing any extra Forest Carbon Units. Upon payment, the units will convert into the account in which they are currently held. See: Fees.
  • Any Pending Issuance Units not delivered will be marked 'Not Delivered'. If the project has sequestered more than the number of Pending Issuance Units issued, the project developer will receive extra verified Forest Carbon Units. See: Registry Rules of Use.