Gold Standard Governance changes
We are pleased to welcome Ana Toni and Dr. Meinrad Bürer to our Board of Directors. Both bring a wealth of experience and will support our mission by providing financial oversight and strategic governance.
We are also delighted that Dr. Silke Karcher and Daniel Wiener will be offering their independent expertise and counsel as Senior Advisors to Gold Standard.
Please read on for full introductions.
Ana Toni, PhD
Member of the Board for Gold Standard
We are delighted to welcome Ana Toni to Gold Standard’s Board of Directors.
Ana Toni is the Executive Director of Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS) and Co-Founder of GIP (Public Interest Management).
From 2003 until May 2011, Ana was the Representative for the Ford Foundation in Brazil, during which time she oversaw the Foundation’s work in the areas of human rights, sustainable development, racial and ethical discrimination, sexuality and reproductive health, media democratisation and land rights. She was also responsible for coordinating the regional Latin America funding on Economics and Globalisation, the IBSA initiative (a collaboration between Brazil, South Africa and India) and the International Initiative on Intellectual Property Rights.
From 1998 to 2002, Ana was the Executive Director of ActionAid Brazil, working for the eradication of poverty and inequality through community development projects and leading public policy, advocacy and campaigning work at national and international levels. Ana also worked for ActionAid UK as Policy Advisor (1990 – 1993), representing the organisation at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
She worked for Greenpeace from 1993 to 1997; first, as the International Head of the Political Unit based at Greenpeace International in Amsterdam, and subsequently as Senior Advisor for Greenpeace Germany. Ana was Board Chair of Greenpeace Brazil from 2000 to 2003 and is currently Chair of the Board for Greenpeace International.
Ana has previously served as Board member of GIFE (the Brazilian Private Social Investment Association) and the Wikimedia Foundation. Currently, she is Board member of WINGS and of the Baoba Fund for Racial Equity, and still integrates the Brazilian Forum of Women’s Leaders on Sustainability.
Ana holds a degree in Economic and Social Studies from Swansea University, a Masters degree in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD in Political Science from the Rio de Janeiro State University.
We asked Ana what motivated her to join the Board of Directors at Gold Standard. Read the full Q&A below.
- View Ana Toni's Q&A
Q. Why did you decide to join the Gold Standard Board of Directors?
Bringing together climate action with the Sustainable Development Goals is the only way of solving the climate issue. Gold Standard has been innovative in recognising this early and bringing forward a concrete solution to facilitate action on the ground. From what I have seen from both the policy and the research angle, it’s clear that the possibility to prove this on the ground through certification is a possible game changer and it would be wonderful to be part of this important work.
Q. What is the most important problem Gold Standard can help solve?
Everyone, from international negotiators to local organisations, is struggling with the challenge of integrating the social and economic development needs with the present climate limits. We’re all learning from each other. Gold Standard is already looking at both issues together and involving society in finding solutions. With more than 1,300 projects around the world, Gold Standard is already proving that it’s possible to address climate change and contribute to sustainable development in tandem.
Q. How can your experience help Gold Standard realise its vision of “climate security and sustainable development for all”?
I hope my long experience on the governance and my perspective as a Brazilian would be helpful to Gold Standard. I’m committed to help ensure that Gold Standard’s already strong governance remains so as its scope expands to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indeed, it’s clear that SDGs and climate action relate to all countries, from South to North. But the challenges for developing versus developed countries are quite different and as a Brazilian I feel it is key for us to highlight these differences. Rather than solving a climate problem, the priorities for many countries in the South are to ensure access to health and sanitation, improve education, develop infrastructure, etc. By linking climate and development, we can bring a new pattern of development to countries in the South. I’m most interested in making climate action an opportunity for developing countries.
Dr. Meinrad Christophe Bürer
Member of the Board for Gold Standard
Building on his current role as Chair of Gold Standard’s Technical Advisory Committee, we are delighted to announce that Dr. Meinrad Bürer has joined our Board of Directors.
Since 2015, Meinrad has held the position of Senior Research Associate at the University of Geneva’s Institute for Environmental Sciences, with research interests including energy and climate policies, modelling and optimisation of energy systems, and low carbon and climate resilient development pathways. He is also Director of Research & Development at EcoAct, a private consultancy helping firms and governments to develop climate change strategies.
Meinrad previously worked as Senior Officer, Climate Change Mitigation, for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Prior to his role within the IFRC, he served as Technical Director for The Gold Standard Foundation for six years, after working for E4tech, a specialised private sector firm which provides consultancy services in the field of sustainable energy markets, policies and technologies.
Meinrad started his career as a research engineer, working on modelling and multi-criteria optimisation of integrated energy systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL). He has also been a visiting researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, where he conducted multi-criteria analysis of carbon abatement projects.
Meinrad holds a PhD in modelling and optimisation of energy systems, and M.Sc Degrees in both Energy Economics & Management and Mechanical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL).
- View Meinrad Bürer's Q&A
Q. How has your relationship with Gold Standard evolved over the years?
Thanks to financial support from WWF, who founded Gold Standard in 2003, I had the opportunity to join Gold Standard as Technical Director in the early days of its inception, working in a small team of passionate people who were convinced from the outset that action to address climate change should go hand-in-hand with delivering sustainable development. I then enjoyed six years of fast-pace and instrumental work in promoting standardisation, robustness and credibility in the voluntary carbon market, together with talented international colleagues and under the guidance of the Technical Advisory Committee.
When the time came for me to pursue new challenges with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, I was fortunate enough to remain part of the 'Gold Standard family' as a member of its Technical Advisory Committee. Now, by joining the Board of Directors, I have closed the loop and am pleased to have had the chance to contribute to a wide spectrum of functions – from operational to strategic - within the organisation.
Q. How has Gold Standard evolved over the years?
When I first started with Gold Standard, our portfolio comprised no more than 25 or so projects. Demand for Gold Standard was, however, very high thanks to the active promotion of the standard and its added value by our NGO supporters. In order to keep up with this demand, while protecting the rigorous quality and safeguards associated with our projects, we had to focus heavily on building capacity among project developers and auditors. We now have well over 1,000 projects around the world, all of which deliver multiple benefits beyond reducing emissions. The voluntary Gold Standard has also evolved into a very useful platform on which to test innovative approaches and methodologies in the field and we are delighted that some of these have been adopted in the compliance market or have inspired initiatives elsewhere.
Q. What problem do you see Gold Standard helping to solve in the future?
The year 2015 was a unique moment, with the convergence of three major international negotiation processes around climate change, the SDGs, and disaster risk reduction. Low carbon, climate resilient development pathways rely on actions at the intersection of these three frameworks.
Moving forward, words need to be converted into action in the field. Non-state actors – including civil society, NGOs and the private sector – have a key role to play in converting national commitments into a workable plan of action, leading to meaningful outcomes and impacts. However, they will need tools and support to achieve this. Building on more than 10 years of monitoring and evaluating sustainable outcomes from projects in the field, the Gold Standard can deliver some of these tools in collaboration with other leading organisations. In this context, our new standard, Gold Standard for the Global Goals, is a major step forward.
Dr. Silke Karcher
Senior Advisor to Gold Standard
We are honoured to welcome Dr. Silke Karcher from the German Ministry of Environment as Senior Advisor to Gold Standard.
Dr. Silke Karcher is Head of Division, European Climate and Energy Policy and New Market Mechanisms, at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
Her current work focuses on two key areas: (1) Climate and Energy issues in the European Union and (2) Carbon Market Mechanisms, including carbon markets in the international negotiations, a wide range of bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects and a broad research portfolio.
Earlier responsibilities included worldwide cooperation on energy; coordinating Germany's 2007 Climate and Energy Program at BMUB; head of unit "Mineral and Metal Industry" at Federal Environment Agency (UBA). She is an environmental engineer and holds doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin.
- View Silke Karcher's Q&A
Q. Why did you decide to become a Senior Advisor to Gold Standard?
The German Ministry for the Environment has supported Gold Standard from the beginning and we have closely followed the development of Gold Standard Foundation. I hope to be able to advise Gold Standard on our priorities and ideas concerning the development of the carbon market, including the voluntary market. On a personal level, I am looking forward to interesting and fruitful discussions to shape the future of the standard. I see my role as Senior Advisor as an independent role, acting in my personal capacity to give advice without participating in the decision-making process of Gold Standard. This provides me with the welcome opportunity to provide input and participate in debates, without being partisan.
Q. What role do you see for sustainable development in post-Paris carbon markets?
Generally, carbon market activities should contribute to sustainable development. International cooperation, including the transfer of mitigation outcomes, should promote sustainable development.
Interestingly, sustainable development is mentioned 22 times in the Paris Agreement and, by comparison, three times in the Kyoto Protocol. All three kinds of cooperative approaches in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement refer to sustainable development. Thus, the role of sustainable development is strong in the Paris Agreement. However, it remains to be decided, how the concept can and will be operationalised.
Q. What challenges do you see Gold Standard helping to solve?
If and when the carbon market is not purely a market for CO2-equivalent reductions as such, but also a market that looks at their quality beyond emissions reductions, buyers need standards and certificates to help them choose and find the (high) quality they are interested in. Gold Standard can help make co-benefits visible, helping buyers make informed choices, and it also helps to make those benefits more visible for a wider public.
Senior Advisor to Gold Standard
Daniel Wiener is an economist, author and specialist in sustainable development, finance and urbanisation. In 1987, Daniel co-founded ecos, a leading Swiss sustainable development consultancy which provides specialist advice to businesses, governments, cities, public institutions, associations and other organisations both nationally and globally.
Daniel was also a Co-Founder of the Gold Standard Foundation and served as a Director (Board Member) from its establishment in 2003 until January 2017. We are very pleased that he will now continue to inform the strategic direction of Gold Standard as Senior Advisor for the organisation.
Daniel is Founder and President of the Global Infrastructure Basel (GIB) Foundation, a standard setting body for sustainable infrastructure. He also serves as a founding Board Member of the UNEP Collaborating Centre BASE for financing clean energy, as a Board Member of the trade association Swisscleantech, and is Vice-President and Co-Founder of the Swiss Future Fund Foundation. Daniel holds a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Art’s Management from the University of Basel.
- View Daniel Wiener's Q&A
How has your relationship with Gold Standard evolved over the years?
When we started the Gold Standard Foundation it was mainly to address the criteria we felt were missing from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. We were inspired by the quest for "high quality decarbonisation." Our concern was that, despite reducing emissions, projects that generated carbon credits could damage other important values such as social inclusion, biodiversity or water. Through our rigorous standard, we have addressed these issues and, today, Gold Standard projects contribute to sustainable development in multiple ways. With growing recognition, the Gold Standard Foundation has become a sought-after partner for other actors in the sustainability field. A key task of the Board is now to ensure we pick the most credible and effective external collaborators, for example from the investor, NGO and project developer community.
How has Gold Standard evolved over that time?
Over the years, our offer has become more and more sophisticated, and we have extended our reach in to more complex markets, such as land use and forestry. In recent years, the Gold Standard has started to apply its knowledge to other fields, but we have always remained grounded in traditional carbon markets – the area where we are widely recognised for setting the benchmark.
What problem do you see Gold Standard helping to solve in the future?
With our new standard, Gold Standard for the Global Goals, impact assessment beyond market-based approaches has become a key component of the Foundation's offer. This new field plays a pivotal role in informing the decisions of a multitude of stakeholders. As in the beginning, it is a key role of the Gold Standard to help avoid what we used to call "hot air" and would name "green washing" today.