Gold Standard is a certificate for climate change projects with a very high standard. Among things, it shows that a project contributes to various SDG goals. Primarily, the projects aim to lower GHG emissions. Hence, working towards goal 13; climate action. Although to reach a gold standard level, other goals need to be considered as well. Such as health and reduced poverty.
What is the Gold Standard?
The certificate was created by WWF and several other NGOs. It is a way to ensure the quality of an environmental project. More so, these kinds of projects are usually sponsored through climate compensation. In other words, they receive funding from the voluntary carbon market. This means that other companies or private persons can compensate for their emissions by sponsoring projects that are good for the planet. They offset their emissions.
Gold Standard projects and climate compensation
As mentioned, the certificate enables private persons and companies to compensate for their emissions. For example, ClimateHero helps people to support these kinds of projects. In detail, it can be hard to live a lifestyle that does not emit any CO2. Or transition an industry to a more sustainable production without releasing emissions. Therefore, the carbon market was created. It can be both voluntary or regulated by governments. For instance, the EU and China have large and regulated carbon markets. Yet, Gold Standard projects are related to the voluntary market. Which means that people choose to offset their emissions.
More so, most of the projects take place in developing, low and middle-income countries.
How does it work to offset emissions?
Environmental projects can receive “carbon credits” when they can show that they have removed GHG gases from the atmosphere. These are also known as carbon offset credits or simply carbon offset. One credit represents the removal of one “metric tonne of CO2”. Although, it is common to get credits for other gases as well. So, for one metric tonne of GHG removed (with the same effect as 1 tonne of CO2), one carbon credit is created.
For example, if a private person releases one tonne of GHG, it can offset this emission by buying one carbon credit. In theory, this means that the person has a carbon footprint of zero. In fact, one tonne of CO2 is about the average monthly carbon footprint of a person in Europe.
Furthermore, Gold Standard had issued 191 million carbon credits by 2021. These were from projects in over 98 different countries.
Gold Standard principles
1. The project shall do no harm, complying with the UNDP Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Carbon Safeguard Principles.
2. The project shall enhance sustainable development.
3. The project shall involve all relevant stakeholders.
4. Greenhouse gas emission reductions and carbon sequestration shall be real.
5. The project shall be compliant with all relevant laws and Gold Standard Principles.
6. The project shall be transparent.
7. The project’s compliance and progress shall be monitored, reported and independently verified throughout the entire crediting period.