The SOCIALCARBON Methodology led to the creation of a voluntary co-benefits standard – the SOCIALCARBON® Standard, which identifies and certifies VERs generated with the employment of this approach. The SOCIALCARBON® Standard was developed to strengthen co-benefits of carbon offset projects and enhance an active participation of stakeholders. It is typically adopted in conjunction with a carbon accounting standard, such as the VCS, ISO 14.064-2, TÜV NORD Climate Change Standard or the CDM.


  1. Ensures the project’s contribution to sustainable development.
  2.  Improves social and environmental benefits of the project.
  3. Promotes project differentiation in the market, adding value to generated credits.

Initially designed to evaluate the condition of communities involved in forest projects, the standard’s methodology has been adapted to a variety of climate change mitigation projects, while maintaining its singular characteristics. Over the past ten years, several organizations and communities have worked together on climate change mitigation projects in an effort to reach satisfactory standards for developing sustainability indicators. The standard is unique in its ability to measure and continuously monitor the social and environmental performance of projects, guaranteeing the effectiveness of the improvement measures being carried out.

The methodology is implemented through a tool known as the Sustainability Hexagon, which assesses six components across the course of the project: the carbon, biodiversity, social, financial, human and natural aspects. Projects that demonstrate continuous improvements through the application of the SOCIALCARBON Sustainability Hexagon are granted a certification.

The SOCIALCARBON Methodology obtains its basic structure from the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA), originally developed by Robert Chambers and Gordon Conway and subsequently modified by Scoones:

  • “A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.”[1]
  • Scoones argues that the ability to attain different livelihoods depends on the possession of material and social goods. With this in mind, he defines five different types of goods, which he terms “resources”: natural capital, economic or financial, human, social and physical.

SOCIALCARBON adopted four of the five resources pointed out by Scoones, and added two new ones: biodiversity and carbon.


The SOCIALCARBON standard aims to institutionalize the utilization of its methodology: to this end, any developer who wishes to use the SOCIALCARBON® brand or register credits on the SOCIALCARBON Registry must meet the criteria set out in the standard.

Guidelines: 1 CHAMBERS, R. & CONWAY, G. Sustainable rural livelihoods: practical concepts for the 21st century. Discussion paper 296, Institute of Development studies (IDS), 1992.