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 ensure credibility in environmental markets to harness their power to deliver value toward climate security and the Global Goals.

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.


Market/finance access and readiness

Gold Standard will develop a tool that allows a proponent (project, country, landscape, programme) to look across the landscape of markets and finance sources to see if they are eligible and what requirements they need to meet.


SDG Impact certification of third-party carbon standards

Gold Standard was founded as a quality label to ensure environmental integrity and the delivery of sustainable development benefits for compliance projects under the UN Clean Development Mechanism. We now offer the opportunity for projects certified under other standards in the voluntary market to have their SDG impacts certified by Gold Standard for greater credibility and comparability of claims.


Relevant resources

SDG Impact Certification

Project developers who are interested in the simplicity and additional credibility of Gold Standard certification of their projects' SDG contributions can find more information about the benefits, eligibility criteria and process. 

Gold Standard corporate sustainability reporting initiatives help companies drive climate action into the core of their business make credible claims that enhance their brand.

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


Our vision for ‘climate security and sustainable development for all’ requires simplifying impact assessment while maintaining rigour and credibility. Our IT Vision 2020 captures the roadmap to manage complexity by fully digitising the certification process.

Next generation MRV

We aim to improve data quality from the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) process while also reducing costs and complexity by using technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our vision is a fully digitised MRV process by 2020 leveraging these emerging disruptive technologies to overcome barriers to scale.

As part of the Climate Ledger Initiative, Gold Standard is convening a multi-stakeholder process to mainstream credible MRV solutions for climate action with lower costs and higher accuracy. We will target next-generation MRV in key areas of the impact certification process: 

  1. Data collection
  2. Data verification
  3. Impact quantification
  4. Issuance and tokenisation

The work will first focus on grid connected renewable energy, technology distribution projects in communities, forestry, and transport.

Relevant Next Generataion MRV resources

Navigating Blockchain for Climate Action

The Climate Ledger Initiative has published two reports on navigating blockchain and climate action, aimed at helping policymakers understand the opportunities + challenges of using blockchain technology for climate action and implementation of 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 raise ambition in climate policy to instill the highest levels of environmental integrity and meaningful sustainable development impact in international agreements.


Gold Standard in collaboration with UNEP-DTU Partnership launched the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) in 2017 to explore the views on options for the implementation of sustainable development provisions in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. In 2018, SDI hosted a series of roundtable dicussions and developed text proposals to put forward to negotiators at COP24. In 2019 the SDI examined existing sustainable development impact assessment tools and approaches for use in Article 6, publishing a report that recommends further research + testing of approaches. This was advocated at COP25. SDI continues this Party-driven dialogue, testing recommended sustainable development approaches in Article 6 pilots.


Relevant Sustainable Development Dialog resources

SDI policy briefs and text proposals

In 2018, a set of policy briefs were published, summarising outcomes of the year-long series of Sustainable Development Dialog workshops with Parties and other stakeholders. Text proposals for negotiators were published ahead of COP24, revised based on Party discussions and shared ahead of the 2019 intercessional negotiating session (SB50). 

View these resources>>

Report: Assessment of Sustainable Development Approaches for use in Article 6 

Ahead of COP25 in 2019, SDI published a report, 'Assessment of Sustainable Development Approaches for use in Article 6' to 1) help negotiators and experts involved in carbon markets select suitable sustainable development impact assessment tools and approaches; and 2) inform negotiations on the benefits of introducing a work programme to develop tools to measure and monitor the contributions of Article 6 activities to sustainable development.

View this report>>

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.