Margaret Kim, Gold Standard CEO
I’d like to start by wishing everyone a good recovery. COP can be an exciting yet overwhelming two weeks – both for those on the ground, and for those watching developments from afar – and we saw a number of innovative and ambitious initiatives introduced. We therefore thought it would be useful for Gold Standard to share some of our highlights, along with some reflections on the COP.
Gold Standard works with Project Developers, Governments, Corporates, and Investors to raise their ambition to achieve climate security and sustainable development for all.
I choose to look at the outcome of the negotiations as a glass half full. Despite the delay in implementation, it is encouraging to see commitments on loss and damages for the first time. But it is unfortunate that we did not see progress on raising ambition on mitigation, particularly when the warning signs of inaction – like flooding and extreme heat - have been so evident over the past year. This does not mean there was no progress. I was glad to see countries from across the world signing bilateral agreements to underpin use of Article 6, as well as over 40 countries and 20 institutions, including Gold Standard, pledging to work together to build capacity for its implementation. Gold Standard is continuing to stay at the forefront of implementing and explaining this complex area of policy, including through our Article 6 Webinar Series.
Another positive I saw at this COP is the increasing commitment and interest of big corporates and financial institutions in this space. There were encouraging examples of large institutions committing to adaptation funding. This interest is perhaps a response to regulatory pressures and civil society demand for sustainable development impact to differentiate their products. Corporate focus is around credible holistic solutions, and a pure focus on carbon value is already out of date. To sound a cautionary note, we should be sure that this adaptation action is in addition to mitigation rather than instead of it. Adaptation and mitigation should be complementary in driving impact in communities and countries. Gold Standard’s adaptation framework will be helpful to make sure investment is going where it is most needed – and is credibly reported using Gold Standard’s metrics.
Gold Standard provides methodologies, tools, and guidance to help our stakeholders deliver maximised impact with credibility and transparency:
At Gold Standard we are committed to supporting our stakeholders to navigate a complex and changing environment as much as we can. Just prior to COP we released a paper co-authored with EY about how Article 6 and the implementation of NDCs (National Determined Contributions) may shape government approaches to the carbon market, which has already been viewed over ten thousand times. We are also helping governments to build capacity in implementation, both in Article 6, and other market-based mechanisms that are part of their national implementation plans.
We also saw strong and growing interest in our fund and portfolio requirements. Our work with the Subnational Climate Finance initiative (SCF) shows that we are walking the talk, and we are applying the lessons we have learned from that to other funds – including the Pamex Local Investment Finance Facility (PLIFF), and the South Pole Adaptation Fund. We are also considering how we will apply the requirements to bonds in future. We are looking forward to sharing the experiences of these pilots in the next few months.
As we expected as we expected there is a need for Gold Standard’s quality and integrity in all areas of land-use, forestry and nature-based solutions. We can play a leading role in creating mechanisms to drive credible finance at scale. We are already developing solutions with IUCN (based on our partnership concerning the Nature Based Solutions Framework) and landscapes with the Landscape Finance Lab. We are also developing nature-focused methodologies and services, including for biodiversity to supplement the adaptation work launched at COP27. To supplement our role in restoration finance we are also considering our role in conservation, particularly in sustainable finance.
While at COP I was reassured of a need for an expansion of our work in the land use and forestry sector. We can play a role in driving to increase finance, whilst maintaining the credibility and transparency the sector requires. We are working to develop a biodiversity framework under the Gold Standard for the Global Goals principles and have AR restoration methodologies in the pipeline, and I expect to see more in future.
Gold Standard helps to provide an enabling environment by providing capacity building and partner support:
Our community event during the second week of COP brought together partners and participants from across the market to openly discuss how Digitisation, Article 6 and IC-VCM (Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market) Alignment and Adoption, and the Certification Process can better enable project development. We heard clearly from the inspiring and thought-provoking conversations that we are on the right path, but there is still work to be done with regards to our products, processes, building capacity and advocacy. We will continue this work and to engage with the market to gather insights and perspectives to ensure we get this right.
We met with multiple stakeholders and participated in events with governments from around the world where potential support and guidance was discussed. We will continue to provide an enabling environment for governments, impact investors, businesses, and project developers to ensure impact is delivered in a credible way.
Gold Standard strives for operational excellence to bring efficiency:
A key theme of COP was the role of digital solutions. Across a number of my meetings and events I saw the beginnings of a merge between the somewhat analogue carbon and finance world, and the Web3 and Blockchain community. This highlighted to me the importance that technology will play in driving investment in a credible and transparent way. We need to support digital solutions to bring efficiency, transparency, and access to the market, and ensure that we optimise so that those who are delivering impact can maximise those benefits. Gold Standard’s role is to connect those two worlds and make sure our standard and methodologies are ready to integrate into developing technologies, and technology is ready to integrate into our processes. The implications of digitisation for us over the coming years are significant and will alter the way we do business – as we continue to seek to deliver verifiable impact for those most affected by the changing world climate.
The running theme throughout COP was demonstrating best practice. Gold Standard is walking the talk with our partners, and our partnerships are vital as nothing can be achieved in silo. We do not have much time left, so we need to move with urgency, and we also need to ensure that fairness and equity are key considerations when supporting finance to deliver the impact the world needs.