Rules & Requirements
In order to apply for Gold Standard certification a project must adhere to the rules, requirements and guidelines of The Gold Standard Version 2.2.
The Gold Standard Version 2.2 was launched in June 2012 and is comprised of:
The smart, practical toolkit provides clarity and guidance helping project proponents to successfully implement high quality greenhouse gas reduction projects that also make measurable positive impacts on sustainable development.
For ease of use The Gold Standard has split out the toolkit, listing all the relevant sections in easily downloadable mandatory guidlines, guidance notes, legal documents or templates. It has also created a summary document of the amendments and additions to the new Gold Standard rulebook.
If you cannot find the required document/template please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat.
For projects implemented under older Gold Standard Versions (e.g. Version 1.0, Version 2.0 or 2.1) the relevant details can be located in the document archive.
|Annex D: ODA Declaration Form||Annex L: Fee Schedule|
|Annex M: Terms & Conditions||Annex N: Brand Guidelines|
|Annex O: ER Acquisition Agreement||Annex S: Cover Letter|
|Annex AI: Guidance Cover Letter||Annex AJ: Amending Cover Letter|
GS V2.1 DOCUMENT ARCHIVE (open/close)
Gold Standard Version 2.1
The Gold Standard Version 2.1 (GSv2.1) was superseded by The Gold Standard Version 2.2 (GSv2.2) on June 1, 2012. For project developers that applied to list a project prior to this date, but after 1st July 2009, please use the rules outlined below throughout the lifetime of the project.
The Gold Standard Version 2.1 is comprised of:
For ease of use The Gold Standard has split out the toolkit, listing all the relevant sections in easily downloadable guidance notes, templates or legal documents.
A. Gold Standard Structure and Guidance
D. ODA Declaration Template
L. Gold Standard Fee Schedule
GS v2.0 DOCUMENT ARCHIVE (open/close)
Gold Standard Version 2
The Gold Standard Version 2 (GSv2) was superseded by The Gold Standard Version 2.1 (GSv2.1) on July 1, 2009. For project developers that applied to list a project prior to this date, but after 1st August 2008, please use the rules outlined below throughout the lifetime of the project.
GS v1.0 DOCUMENT ARCHIVE (open/close)
Gold Standard Version 1
For project developers who applied to list a project with The Gold Standard prior to August 1st, 2008, the rules in force at the time of application remain valid throughout the project lifetime. The following GSv1 documents can be accessed here for reference:
GS-VER Validation and Verification Manual
The CDM Rulebook is the definitive online database of the CDM rules and is freely available to the public:
CDM PDD Template
This link downloads the latest UN template for the CDM Project Design Document (PDD):
TAC Rules & Requirements
The Gold Standard project cycle is the most technically rigorous project cycle in the carbon market. Instrumental to this certification process is The Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), an independent body composed of market specialists, including engineers, policymakers and lawyers. Projects in The Gold Standard’s project pipeline can undergo scrutiny from the TAC during review periods. The expertise and guidance of the TAC has significantly contributed to the credibility of The Gold Standard as it stands today.
The TAC meets on a regular basis to discuss both the operational side of The Gold Standard and the regulatory decisions for methodologies, rules and procedures. This section outlines the TAC proceedings and decisions as well as the relevant updates and clarifications to The Gold Standard Rules and Procedures.
RULE UPDATES OPEN/CLOSE
31 Jan 2014: Procedures for registering a multi-country Programme of Activities (PoA)
The procedures for registering a multi-country GS voluntary PoAs have been further clarified. These procedures also include clarifications for post-registration design change to expand PoA boundary to new countries. These clarifications are applicable to all Gold Standard voluntary PoAs registered after 31 January 2014.
31 Jan 2014: Requirements for the quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects
This rule update provides requirements for the treated water quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects. These guidelines are mandatory for all safe water supply projects with the time of first submission after 31 January 2014.
Nov 2013: Revision to The Gold Standard Registration Review Period
The Gold Standard registration review period has been revised from 8-weeks to 6-weeks.
This revision has been made based on the feedback received during an extensive consultation period held in July and August 2013. During this period, The Gold Standard Secretariat requested input and feedback on the proposed timelines for its review processes at the various steps of the certification cycle. One of the most frequently received comments was in terms of the length of time it took to conduct the registration review period. Project Proponents deemed that the current 8-weeks was too long and should be revised to make the review process more time efficient.
The revised registration review period of 6-weeks will be applicable for all Gold Standard version projects, including micro-scale projects submitted for registration from 1 November 2013.
Full details are located in the following PDF:
May 2013: Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme
The Gold Standard has just launched its new Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme. The requirements and application forms are attached below:
January 2013: The Application of Global Warming Potentials for Gold Standard Project Activities
The Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the measure of heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere, expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide. The document below outlines the process for applying GWPs to Gold Standard project activities and Programme of Activities (PoA) within the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
June 2012: Default non-renewable biomass fraction (NRB)
It was decided to allow the use in the context of Gold Standard projects of the default NRB fractions approved by CDM EB as published in Annex 22 of the EB 67 meeting report, provided the DNA of the project host country has formally approved the corresponding NRB fraction. Approval of the use of a default NRB fraction can be sought on a case-by-case basis where these have not been approved by DNAs, after feedback has been collected by project developers on the appropriateness of this NRB fraction through stakeholder consultation. These default NRB fractions can be used irrespective of the scale of the Gold Standard project. In case of formal rejection or revision of these default NRB fractions at a later stage, following decisions by DNAs, Gold Standard project developers shall revise these accordingly.
RULES UPDATE ARCHIVE OPEN/CLOSE
22 November 2011: Please review the latest Gold Standard rule updates.
Revised Standalone Micro-scale Scheme
The first generation micro-scale scheme and the community focused micro-scale scheme have been consolidated to form a revised standalone micro-scale scheme. The eligibility threshold has been raised to 10,000 tCO2e per annum. Deemed additionality is applied to non-retroactive activities targeting poor communities. The use of Objective Observers for the appraisal of potential risks and negative impacts in place of a full assessment by project developers themselves is extended to all activities, but based on a statistical, target-random selection instead of a systematic use. Project activities can still apply under the first generation OR community focused micro-scale scheme rules as long as they are formally submitted by the 31 December 2011. Project activities already submitted under the first generation OR community focused micro-scale scheme, can be upgraded to the revised standalone micro-scale scheme upon request by project proponents as long as they comply with all requirements of the revised scheme and project documentation is modified accordingly.
This new scheme allows for the extension of the programmatic approach to The Gold Standard’s micro-scale scheme activities. It combines benefits associated with the respective approaches, such as the concept of a validation and verification fund and the simplified procedures for the replication of similar activities under a programme. Each activity under the programme is capped at 10,000 tCO2e per annum, but no overall cap is applied to the programme as a whole. Project activities already submitted under any of the standalone micro-scale schemes can be included in a future micro-programme, upon request by project proponents and as long as they have not yet been submitted for internal or external validation.
The Gold Standard has a two-step stakeholder feedback mechanism already in place whereby local stakeholders have an opportunity to give feedback on the project during the local consultation process and the stakeholder feedback round. Stakeholders can also provide inputs over the crediting period on issues identified in the monitoring plan. No formal mechanism however was available to solicit feedback from stakeholders during the crediting period on issues identified outside of the monitoring plan.
In response to the request for strengthened means for post-registration local stakeholder inputs and in line with feedback received from the field, this new grievance mechanism is now introduced whereby all projects applying for Gold Standard registration must have a formal continuous input mechanism in place which will help foster mutual trust between project owners and local stakeholders.
The rationale will be to remediate issues identified during the crediting period as early as possible and prior to verification. Unforeseen issues that may arise during the course of the project and are not identified in the monitoring plan can also be addressed this way and local stakeholders can suggest improvements or modifications based on their understanding of the local situation.
This new mechanism applies to all project activities formally submitted to Gold Standard after 22 November 2011. It is encouraged but optional for activities already submitted. Please click on the link below to access the rules of the grievance mechanism.
Projects that are formally submitted by 31 December 2011 are not mandated to have a Grievance Mechanism in place.
Special Procedures for Conflict Zones and Refugee Camps
Projects proponents face considerable problems in contracting a DOE for validation and/or verification of projects located in conflict zones or refugee camps. These new rules allow for deviation from the usual procedures in such circumstances and to combine desk review by DOEs with on-site visits conducted by Objective Observers. All project activities, irrespective of their status in The Gold Standard project cycle, can adopt these procedures.
Methodology and Tool – Version Validity
The period within which the project documentation must be submitted for Gold Standard validation in order to use the version of the methodology or tool applicable at the time of first submission has been extended to 6 months (instead of 3 months in the current rules). If the project activity is not submitted for Gold Standard validation within the 6-month deadline, then the latest available version of the methodology and tool(s), at the time of submission for validation, must be applied. The time of submission for DOE validation is the date when the DOE is contracted for the validation of the project activity. This revision is applicable to project activities already formally submitted to Gold Standard but not yet submitted for validation.
Annex F Revised – Gold Standard Programme of Activities (PoA) Rules and Guidance
The revised Annex F provides clarifications on the stakeholder consultation process and programme timeframe. It also provides additional information on sustainability assessment, multiple types of activities in a programme, DOE site visits, inclusion and verification procedures, multi-country programmes, criteria for compliance check and post-registration design change. These updated rules apply to PoAs submitted to the Gold Standard after 22 November 2011. PoAs already submitted may apply the additional guidance provided in the revised Annex F, as deemed useful.
PoA Programmes can still apply using the earlier version of the Annex F (Dated – 23 December, 2010) as long as the project is formally submitted by 31 December 2011.
Methodology Eligibility Tool
The tool provides information on the eligibility of the CDM methodologies under The Gold Standard. The tool will be updated on a regular basis so as to account for both new or revised CDM methodologies and Gold Standard rule changes.
Annex C Revised – Specific Eligibility Criteria
The revised Annex C provides the latest revisions of The Gold Standard specific eligibility criteria. These revisions apply to all new project activities but can also apply to project activities already submitted, upon request by project proponents.
Biogas project activities: the requirement of the demonstration of 65% minimum utilisation ratio has been removed. Project activities shall be eligible for emission reductions from both methane avoidance (including the flared biogas fraction) and non-renewable fuel substitution as long as at the time of validation, evidence is provided to demonstrate that the system is designed in a way to at least make use of some of the biogas recovered for the delivery of energy services (e.g. electricity, heat).
Biomass project activities: the 5% cap on the share of non-renewable fuel in the electricity or heat annual delivery is now replaced by the requirement of a renewable fuel share of 50% after the first 3 years of operation for retrofit projects, and of 80% from the outset for greenfield projects.
For all project activities registered after 4 November 2010, the formal registration date will be the end of the registration review period, whatever the date at which all issues raised are closed.
23 December 2010: Please click below to download the latest version of the Programme of Activities Rules and Guidance:
23 July 2010: Sectoral Scopes for Gold Standard VER methodologies: Please click on the link to check the sectoral scopes that have been assigned to Gold Standard VER methodologies
Community focused micro-scale scheme
Please click below to download the document containing the new GS rules regarding fast-track retroactive projects:
Gold Standard response letter to the PDF Forum: