Strategic Plan Update

We are happy to share progress on our strategic planning process, which has been a team priority over the past months. I am very grateful to those of you who have spent time with us to share your insights into the market, the challenges you face as well as successes and innovation, and opportunities to collaborate in the future.
The Gold Standard’s strategy begins with our new Vision, Mission and Values—the pillars on which we build our plan.
  • Pioneering – For more than a decade, Gold Standard has shown how climate finance can achieve its highest potential. Now, we’re pushing the goal further, creating new and innovative programs and tools and integrating these into holistic interventions to deliver impacts at a greater scale—for climate security and sustainable development for all.
  • Collaborative – To realize our ambitious vision, we will join forces with in strategic partners who share our goals and complement our strengths.
  • Rigorous – We will build upon our reputation for quality and rigour with more robust measurement of outcomes and deeper impact across the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Transparent – We were established to bring confidence, trust, and accountability to carbon markets. We will continue to take strides to improve transparency in our own processes and the broader market.
The primary objective of our near-term strategy is to strengthen the Gold Standard’s position in carbon markets so that we may support our project developers and retailer partners in securing above market average prices for Gold Standard credits. We will do this in three ways:
  1. Deepen our impact assessment in SD to provide assurance that SD benefits are real and tangible:

    A) We will restructure to integrate Energy and Waste, Land Use & Forests and Water into a holistic standard “Gold Standard 3.0” that maximizes the benefits of the respective scopes. Practically this means that (i) Gold Standard’s building blocks (GS Principles, local stakeholder consultation, Do No Harm, and SD Matrix) will be upgraded and will become common to all activities (ii) Water will be mainstreamed across all activities – starting with agriculture – to ensure that appropriate water safeguards are in place for water intensive activities and that water-related quantification methodologies are made available.

    B) This new structure will make it possible for various outcomes—from greenhouse gas emissions to water benefits to improved health—to be certified through a unique standard and a single certification process.

    C) We will use the Sustainable Development Goals as a reference framework so that projects may easily measure their contribution to the emerging post-2015 development agenda. We are currently assembling an Expert Panel to guide the development of a Sustainable Development Goal Impact Assessment Tool and will share progress on this effort on an ongoing basis.
  2. Ensure that credits will be sold at above market prices—We have initiated an active demand building strategy with direct corporate engagement and broader marketing efforts, as well as advocacy with our NGO partners. In this way, we aim to grow the market by increasing corporate engagement in aggressive climate action and to showcase the greater impact of Gold Standard projects, and therefore the greater value of Gold Standard credits. More details about this plan will be shared in the coming weeks.
  3. Reduce costs and complexity related to certification—We are restructuring our team to ensure we can best support project developers through the certification process and invest in IT infrastructure to automate and streamline monitoring and reporting wherever possible. The Agriculture Programme’s Cool Farm Tool and a new electronic tool to calculate emissions reductions for cookstove projects are early examples of these.
In addition to the points I’ve mentioned above, we will continue to evolve our operations and communications to support our strategy. Some focal points include:
  • A new brand to be launched in the coming months that articulates how Gold Standard contributes to “climate security and sustainable development for all.”
  • Higher visibility in the business community to help ‘beat the drum’ for aggressive climate action that includes investments in Gold Standard projects. Details on this plan will be shared later in July.
  • A revitalization of our NGO supporters to encourage information sharing, ensure robust civil society reviews of Gold Standard programs and projects, and advocate for strong climate action.
  • Continued commitment to transparency in our own operations and more broadly in environmental markets.
The features of this newsletter already showcase the fruits of some of this work—from new corporate commitments to purchase Gold Standard carbon credits and Water Benefit Certificates to an event in Berlin that convened governments from the European Union to share ideas and challenges around their own domestic markets.
Our team is very excited and energized about this strategic direction and we’re confident it will help all our respective stakeholders further their own respective missions. I expect that many of you will have further questions about what this means to you. So Gold Standard will hold a webinar to field your queries and foster discussion about to move our market forward. Details to follow shortly.
I look forward to engaging with all of you as this plan continues to take shape.
Kind regards,
Marion Verles
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