CDM Gold Standard
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The Gold Standard, or Gold Standard for the Global Goals, is a standard and logo certification mark program for non-governmental emission reductions projects in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Joint Implementation (JI) and Voluntary Carbon Market. It is published and administered by the Gold Standard Foundation, a non-profit foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It was designed with an intent 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, with a logo 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. The programs were created following a 12-month consultation period that included workshops and web-based consultation conducted by an independent Standards Advisory Board composed of NGOs, scientists, project developers and government representatives.
The Gold Standard certification program 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 had officially endorsed the Gold Standard program.
The program is administered by the Gold Standard Foundation, a non-profit foundation under Swiss law that is headquartered in the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE), offices in Basel, Switzerland, with offices in Geneva, Rome and San Francisco. It also employs local experts in Brazil, India and South Africa.
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).
In July 2017, a new version called the Gold Standard for the Global Goals was released, superseding previous Gold Standards.
Scholarly Recognition & Critique
The Gold Standard is recognized 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 effectively police companies' misuse of the standard's label (making it difficult to know whether carbon credits associated with the Gold Standard labels have undergone the Gold Standard certification process). As a program certifying emissions trading programs, criticisms of the general practice of emissions trading may also generally apply to the Gold Standard certification program.
To be eligible for Gold Standard Certification, a project must:
- Be an approved[by whom?] 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 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 .
- "New Standard Launched to Accelerate and Measure Progress Toward the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Targets" (Press release). Gold Standard Foundation. 10 July 2017.
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- "Project Registry". Gold Standard. Retrieved 2018-08-22.