Initiatives + Innovations

To achieve its mission, Gold Standard works to mainstream adoption of credible climate and sustainable development quantification at scale through a series of strategic initiatives and collaborations.

Gold Standard strategic initiatives are long-term efforts and innovations focused on mainstreaming credible impact quantification through Gold Standard for the Global Goals. These initiatives are either internally led or coordinated with our institutional partners. We also host shorter-term programmes and working groups through the Gold Standard Network Platform, which are open for broad stakeholder participation to achieve a specific objective or deliverable.

We aim to strengthen environmental markets with more high-impact assets, resulting in greater and higher quality supply and demand.

Envisioning the voluntary carbon market post-2020

The advent of the Paris Agreement prompted reflection on the role and function of the voluntary carbon market to contribute to the ambition to reach net zero emissions by midcentury. With support from the German government, Gold Standard convened a working group of civil society organisations, carbon market private sector actors, and standards bodies to begin to answer these questions. The group seeks to position the voluntary carbon market to address the emissions gap, the finance gap and the time gap, while incentivising and recognising the private sector to engage at scale.

Review the final working group statement>>

Phase 2 of this programme is likely to develop guidance that further defines target setting, credible claims, and best practices for financing beyond boundaries.


SDG Impact Tool development

Gold Standard believes that quantification and claims of sustainable development outcomes must be rigorous and yet simple to achieve. We have convened a consortium to help ensure market mechanisms effectively channel finance to high-impact projects and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a meaningful way, while providing credible measures of performance that are comparable from project to project to avoid “SDG washing”. This group will develop activity-specific SDG Impact Tools to help make the MRV process simpler and deliver more credible and comparable impact data. These tools will begin piloting in spring 2020. 


Digitising MRV

Working with the Climate Ledger Initiative, we are piloting new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve data quality from the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) process – improving efficiencies, driving down costs and overcoming barriers to scale. 


Relevant Next-Generation MRV resources

Navigating Blockchain for Climate Action

The Climate Ledger Initiative has published two reports aimed at helping policymakers understand the opportunities + challenges of using blockchain technology for climate action and the Paris Agreement.

Navigating Blockchain and Climate Action - 2019 State and Trends
Second edition, published December 2019

Navigating Blockchain and Climate Action
First edition, published December 2018

We aim to increase action organisations take within and beyond their boundaries to shift to pathways that are consistent with the ambition of the Paris Agreement to balance carbon emissions with carbon sinks by midcentury.

Pathways to Net Zero

Building on the Corporate Climate Stewardship Guidelines published in 2018, Gold Standard is again working with WWF, CDP, and other civil society organisations to develop guidance for companies to align corporate climate strategies with the ‘net zero by 2050’ ambition of the Paris Agreement. A focus will be on how to design and account for climate action beyond company boundaries and what claims should be made along the path to net zero.


Relevant Corporate Sustainability Reporting resources

Corporate Climate Stewardship Guidelines

Developed with WWF and CDP, Corporate Climate Stewardship: Guidelines for best practice climate action aims to support companies in setting ambitious strategies that are in line with the ambition of the Paris Agreement. This helps business reduce climate risk and create value by answering to increasing customer, investor and civil society demands for strong climate action.

Published April 2018
Value Change

Value chain or “Scope 3” emissions are often the largest source of corporate carbon footprints, yet to date have been the lowest area of focus for most companies. With support from EIT Climate-KIC, Gold Standard and partners launched the Value Change Programme, which features practical tools that remove barriers to addressing value chain emissions and enables credible reporting of reductions to the GHG Protocol.



Gold Standard has led two expert working groups focused on addressing the challenges in accounting for intervention-level emission reductions in agriculture supply chains for the Food & Beverage sector. We have also initiated a working group to do the same for the Apparel sector. We plan to develop further sector-specific guidance, with the following under priority consideration: 

  • Finance
  • Transport
  • IT
  • Pulp & paper

Please contact us to register interest in these working groups or others. 

Relevant Value Change resources

Value Chain Interventions Guidance

Value Chain Interventions Guidance to enable reporting on emissions reductions made toward Scope 3 performance targets in line with common accounting frameworks like the GHG Protocol. Mars, Danone, Barry Callebaut, Ben & Jerry’s, Cargill, General Mills, L’Oreal, PepsiCo and Target are amongst the first to pilot these guidelines, with a view to publish the final version in 2019.

Piloting underway - FINAL GUIDANCE TO BE LAUNCHED IN 2020


Soil Carbon Guidance

Food & Beverage sector-specific Soil Carbon Guidance demonstrates how to quantify carbon sequestered in soil. Further piloting and sector-specific guidance development is anticipated. 

Piloting underway - FINAL GUIDANCE TO BE LAUNCHED IN 2020


We aim to increase mobilisation of climate finance toward high integrity climate and development activities for national and subnational climate action. 

Market/finance access and readiness

Gold Standard seeks to help host countries attract climate finance and access global voluntary and compliance carbon markets with high integrity, bankable projects. In 2020 we will work with partners to develop a roadmap for bankable projects and streamlined, credible impact reporting compliant with international investor and carbon market requirements. Based on Gold Standard methodologies and adapted for each host country context, inputs to the roadmap may include flexible application of the World Bank MAAP tool for investor requirements, guidance on sound GHG and SDG impact accounting, stakeholder consultation, environmental and social safeguards, etc.

Climate Finance

Gold Standard is working with consortium partners on a global, blended investment fund for demand-led climate finance at the subnational level. The fund seeks to address the chronic underfunding of bankable mitigation and adaptation projects in cities, counties, regions and states. Use of Gold Standard methodologies will ensure that the fund is designed from the outset to deliver, measure, and uniquely – to certify – climate mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability co-benefits. Quantified fund impacts will align with national priorities and can be integrated into national NDC and SDG reporting. Impact certification through SustainCERT becomes an added catalyst to attract private investment.

Sustainable Development Initiative: Paris Agreement, Article 6

Gold Standard in collaboration with UNEP-DTU Partnership launched the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) in 2017 to explore the options and to advocate for sustainable development provisions in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. SDI is currently focused on testing recommended sustainable development approaches in Article 6 pilots.