Gold Standard for the Global Goals
Leveraging Climate Action for Greater Impact in Sustainable Development
The Gold Standard brand has always stood for delivering sustainable development impacts alongside climate mitigation. Now with an ambitious 2030 Agenda, we have engineered our standard to ensure that climate action also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals in a meaningful and measurable way.
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Accelerating progress toward climate security + sustainable development for all
If we are to meet the ambition of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, action cannot be one-dimensional. Nor can it be incremental. For the transition to an equitable and sustainable world, impacts must be holistic, transformational, and delivered at an exponential pace.
Standards show us the best way to get the results we need. Gold Standard for the Global Goals is a comprehensive standard to accelerate global progress toward climate security and sustainable development. It provides the tools and guidance to deliver results on the ground in the most effective and equitable manner. Certification provides the confidence that results are not only measured and verified—but translate to real impact in social value.
- Environmental markets—Increasing ambition in voluntary and compliance carbon markets and renewable energy markets to ensure environmental integrity and that climate action also delivers dividends toward development
- Large-scale development—Ensuring urban development, NAMAs, regional, and bilateral interventions align funder requirements with local needs through strong design and measuring reporting and verification (MRV) tools that de-risk and incentivise investment and maximise impact
- Corporate supply chains—Certifying climate and SDG impacts in corporate supply chains for best practice implementation and credible claims
The tremendous ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees and the interconnected nature of the 169 targets of the 17 Global Goals mean that we cannot think in yesterday’s paradigms. We cannot focus on one outcome at the exclusion—or worse, at the risk—of others. Saving lives or conserving ecosystems cannot be seen as ‘co-benefits’ of carbon mitigation. This requires holistic and ambitious project design to identify cross-cutting opportunities like gender equality and economic empowerment that can have powerful knock-on effects. It also means that local stakeholders must be at the center of any activity that affects them and that they can access a grievance mechanism if issues arise. Local constituents know best the priorities of their communities. They’re uniquely attuned to the risks, barriers, and solutions to ensure broad adoption of a new technology or activity—the ultimate success of the project.
A holistic approach also helps us prevent unintended impacts, so that we don’t plant a forest only to threaten downstream water access, or improve crop yields by introducing chemicals damaging to local species. We can avoid risks like distributing cookstoves without engaging women in the value chain or giving them the tools to advocate for using improved technologies throughout their community to ensure broad uptake. These safeguards are fundamental to project success and critical for all involved – local stakeholders, project developers, and funders alike.
Assurance of outcomes for funder confidence
Healthy markets and a results-based finance approach require certainty in outcomes. If environmental integrity is undermined, if social safeguards are questioned, markets cannot function. And we need them to. Carbon markets have proven their ability to reduce the costs of the low-carbon transition. Gold Standard’s leadership in carbon markets has demonstrated the ability to amplify the return on investment. Gold Standard projects deliver between $21 and $177 in additional value toward the SDGs for every ton of CO2 mitigated.
Gold Standard for the Global Goals aims to allow us to honor every impact and effectively drive finance where it’s most needed—from gender equality and health to water access and poverty alleviation. Certification against the standard assures impact data, with accurate monitoring, rigorous data collection and transparency throughout the entire process, including reporting of impacts.
Managing complexity for streamlined implementation and scale
The complexity of all this requires customisation – the right safeguards, stakeholder engagement, monitoring, verification, at the right times. Gold Standard for the Global Goals gives practitioners the simple, intuitive tools they need to deliver impacts on the ground.
Activity certification de-risks investments by providing third-party verification that the activity follows best practice design, manages environmental and social risks, engages local communities and delivers multiple development benefits. This allows for practical application to large-scale activities and scalability with lower time and costs.
Methodologies and third party verification of what an activity accomplishes, with two different approaches:
- Assessment of project SDG impacts for reporting
- Certified Gold Standard products from globally-accepted methodologies for impact monetisation, such as Certified and Verified Emissions Reductions (CERs and VERs), ADALYs, and Water Benefit Certificates
Gold Standard for the Global Goals answers 3 key questions:
- Are we doing the best we can? Gold Standard certification gives funders the confidence they need that their investment is accomplishing as much as possible, while proactively addressing and managing any project risks.
- What progress are we making? Quantification and verification of impacts with standardised metrics allow us to measure whether an initiative is making a difference.
- Are we moving fast enough? Using next-generation monitoring and reporting tools we can see collective progress toward climate targets and the Development 2030 Agenda.