Q2 2016 Strategic Update

Dear colleagues and partners,

At the midway point of the year, I´m delighted to report that our team is making great progress in all of our initiatives. The below provides an outline of what we are currently working on and how this can support your activities. If you have any comments, concerns or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out>> - we welcome all inputs!

Progress toward the Standard

We thank everyone who made valuable suggestions and asked tough questions to feed into design of Gold Standard 3.0. You can see the summary of the consultation results here>>. Our focus now is to reconcile all feedback and build the supporting infrastructure. Next consultation: October or November 2016.

Progress toward SDG Impacts

SDG 3Health (ADALYs) – Working Group met in June to create the first draft of the ADALYs quantification methodology>>, which is now being reviewed by World Bank’s pool of experts. The next public consultation is expected in September, with publication estimated for end of year.

Gender equality – With funding from the Government of Luxembourg and support from World Bank, we are working towards a way to quantify gender equality impacts. We are currently in the process of assessing existing tools as well as investor interests to define our approach.

Water - We jointly authored a new policy paper>> with CMIA and Whave Solutions that outlines how Water Benefit Certificates can play a vital role in climate mitigation and adaptation while meeting broader SDGs. We will also be participating in a webinar addressing these market opportunities hosted through CMIA on 21st July 2016>>.

Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) – We have a mandate to create a REC product or label that 1) supports new growth of renewable energy production (additional) and 2) offers renewable energy activities that meet our Gold Standard principles and safeguards, including additionality, stakeholder inclusivity and a wider contribution to sustainable development.

Sustainable Cities – A cities framework that can be applied under our new Gold Standard 3.0 standard has been written and the expert working group has been finalised – meeting in August to review this framework. Piloting will commence in early 2017 in Cali, Colombia, Rajkot, India and Amman, Jordan.

SDG 15Land Use Programme – In the Agriculture space, two methodologies have been approved by our Technical Advisory Committee and will be published shortly: the Cool Farm Tool methodology and Quantification of GHG Emission Reductions from Improved Management in Smallholder Dairy Production Systems. Also see new team structure below>>

Progress toward Assurance, Claims Guidance, and IT infrastructure

Our team is also developing an assurance framework to define our structure and approach to certification across the various uses of the standard and to create a system of best practice. The first meeting of the new Gold Standard Assurance and Oversight committee, a subset of our technical governance, took place in Geneva on 9-10 July. In parallel, we are creating claims guidelines to ensure clarity, accuracy, and transparency of claims related to Gold Standard 3.0 activities and SDG impacts. And finally, we are taking initial steps toward the design of the technology solution that is expected to help:

  • Simplify the project design, registration, and certification processes
  • Streamline, and automate where possible, monitoring and quantification
  • Generate impact reporting that can be analysed, visualised, and aggregated
  • Lower time and costs for all of the above

These three key features of Gold Standard 3.0 will feature in our next consultation in autumn 2016.

Demand efforts

We are well aware of the challenges facing project developers and sellers of Gold Standard VERs and CERs, specifically that beyond-carbon impacts are largely not sufficiently valued in the market. Below is a summary of our efforts to support demand:  

  • Commencing work with the Science Based Targets initiative, including WWF, CDP, WRI, and UN Global Compact to build consensus on best practice for investing in emissions reductions, and more broadly define how the private sector can use markets and other tools to close the finance gap needed to meet a ‘well below 2-degrees’ target. This is expected to provide greater incentives to fund emissions reductions.
  • Advocating within key market opportunities like ICAO and the World Bank’s Pilot Auction Facility.
  • Advocating for strong market mechanisms, a sustainable price on carbon and a focus on sustainable development in climate policy negotiations.
  • Educating potential buyers about the differences among VERs through our editorials in our Supply and Demand report and blogs. The first article on valuation methods can be found here here>>. The second feature>> focuses directly on the differences among project types.

Next is for us to assess the market potential for impacts to be issued from Gold Standard 3.0 projects—from water to gender to ecosystem services. We will launch a Market Assessment study in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, supported by funding by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), and led by a third party research partner, to be recruited. If you or any associates are interested in funding SDG impacts and would like to participate in this study, please contact Sarah Leugers at sarah.leugers@goldstandard.org

Team updates

Since our last newsletter, our team>> has grown and evolved significantly to support our strategic objectives.

Management Team:

At the management team level, we are happy to welcome Claire Blenkinsop, who has joined to help build our business and strategic partnerships. Claire has worked with organisations including Conservation International, WWF, and Helvetas for twenty years and brings a wealth of experience in international fundraising and partnerships. We are, however, sorry to say farewell to Pieter van Midwoud, our Director of Partnerships and New Business Development, who has been with Gold Standard since the commencement of our Land Use programme in 2012.

Land Use:

Brendan Smith is now Technical Director, Land Use overseeing our programme with a view to integrate our approach to forestry, agriculture and water management in a holistic way. He is supported by Jacob Bourgeois, who is working as a Certification Officer for our land use activities, based out of the United States.


We are strengthening our operations under Lisa Rosen, with the hire of Mathilde Mansoz, who will work as a Programme Manager for our funded activities and operations. This team is joined by Deepak Kumar, our new IT Manager working in our Delhi office.


Johann (Hannes) Thaler is now consulting on project reviews and cookstove projects and has joined our Oversight and Assurance Panel. Richard Illfe has joined Gold Standard as part of the standards team, managing some of our funded activities as well as peer reviews and certification work focused on cookstoves. Anurag Juyal has joined as a Certification Officer based out of our Delhi office.

Marketing & Communications:

We´re pleased to welcome Gabriel Kuettel, as our new Marketing and Communications Assistant focusing on social media, digital communications, and design.


Sriskandh Subramanian is a consultant returning to work with Gold Standard in support of our Sustainable Cities launch.

Thanks once more for your continued support and feedback that is helping us create a more powerful standard.

Marion Verles

CEO of Gold Standard