CDM Gold Standard
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The Gold Standard is a standard for creating high-quality emission reductions projects in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Joint Implementation (JI) and Voluntary Carbon Market. It was designed to ensure that carbon credits are not only real and verifiable but that they make measurable contributions to sustainable development worldwide. Its objective is to add branding, a label to existing and new Carbon Credits generated by projects which can then be bought and traded by countries that have a binding legal commitment according to the Kyoto Protocol.
The Gold Standard for CDM (GS CER) was developed in 2003 by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), SouthSouthNorth, and Helio International. The Voluntary Gold Standard (GS VER), a methodology for use within the voluntary carbon market, was launched in May 2006. Both were the result of an extensive 12-month workshop and web-based consultation process conducted by an independent Standards Advisory Board composed of NGOs, scientists, project developers and government representatives.
The Gold Standard is open to any non-government, community based organization especially those with an interest in the promotion of sustainable development or a focus on climate and energy issues. As of March 2009, 60 environmental and development non-profit organizations internationally officially endorse The Gold Standard. These organizations support The Gold Standard as an effective tool for creating high-quality emission reduction projects that promote sustainable development and benefit local communities.
The Gold Standard is headquartered in the BASE (Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy) offices in Basel, Switzerland, with offices in Geneva, Rome and San Francisco. It employs local experts in Brazil, India and South Africa.
The Gold Standard is registered as a non-profit foundation under Swiss law.
Scholarly Recognition & Critique
The Gold Standard is recognised by carbon market and climate change politics scholars as a prime instance of the group of voluntary standards. Independent empirical evidence for how the Gold Standard is actually performing is rare. Existing evidence suggests that the Gold Standard does not always achieve to police effectively companies' misuse of the standard's label (making it difficult to know whether actually carbon credits associated with the standard through Gold Standard labels have actually undergone the Gold Standard certification process). Also, true Gold Standard certification is directly associated with critique that questions emission trading.
To be eligible for Gold Standard Certification, a project must:
- Be an approved Renewable Energy Supply or End-use Energy Efficiency Improvement project type
- Be reducing one of the three eligible Green House Gases: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
- Not employ Official Development Assistance (ODA) under the condition that the credits coming out of the project are transferred to the donor country.
- Not be applying for other certifications, to ensure there is no double counting of Credits
- Demonstrate its 'additionality' by using the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) Large Scale Additionality Tool; and show that the project is not a 'business-as-usual' scenario
- Make a net-positive contribution to the economic, environmental and social welfare of the local population that hosts it
The Gold Standard Versions
In July 2008 the Gold Standard Version 2.0 was released with sets of guidelines and manuals on the GS requirements, toolkits and other supporting documents to be used by project developers and DOEs. This relegated the previously applicable manuals to Version 1.0. The Version 2.0 also supports Program of Activities (PoA).
The Gold Standard Registry
Status of projects that apply for Gold Standard can be tracked on its registry. The Project Developers, Designated Operational Entities (DOEs) (also known as Validators), and Traders can open accounts with the registry. There are various publicly available reports .
- Helio International
- Bernstein, S., Betsill, M., Hoffmann, M., and Paterson, M. (2010). A Tale of Two Copenhagens: Carbon Markets and Climate Governance. Millennium - Journal of International Studies, 39(1):161–173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0305829810372480
- Lippert, I. (2013). Enacting Environments: An Ethnography of the Digitalisation and Naturalisation of Emissions. PhD thesis, Augsburg University, Philosophisch-Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Augsburg. see Pages 522-527
- Blok, A. (2010). Topologies of climate change: actor-network theory, relational-scalar analytics, and carbon-market overflows. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28, 896–912. http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/d0309
- CDM Gold Standard
- http://www.cdmgoldstandard.org/materials.php?id=18 (manuals for design and project developers)
- http://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/PAmethodologies/AdditionalityTools/Additionality_tool.pdf (Additionality tool)