Post-COP26 – Reflections on Article 6 Outcomes

Gold Standard has, over the past few years, been preparing for the transition into the Paris Agreement, considering how we can continue to represent the very highest quality of carbon credit available, while supporting and creating new opportunities for project developers and our wider stakeholder community:


Reducing emissions one grain at a time

The most productive rice farming currently requires the flooding of paddy fields, consuming vast quantities of water. It also creates a low oxygen environment, leading to soil microbes producing methane that escapes from the water into the atmosphere.


Empowerment of women: a key ingredient for sustainable development

PHOTO Abbie Trayler-Smith / Panos Pictures

I heard the great (if controversial) pundit Christopher Hitchens make this claim in a debate. He continued that if you give women control over their own lives, perhaps a small amount of credit, “The whole floor, culturally, socially, medically, economically will rise. It works every time.”

At the time, the two points seemed to my untrained ear unrelated: economic development and gender equality. But the evidence is clear.


Showing the Climate Crisis the Red Card

Looking back on the World Cup, Qatar’s claim that it was “carbon neutral” wasn’t taken as seriously. Indeed, they led to widespread accusations of greenwashing across the media and likely more criticism of the competition than if they’d not been made at all.


The Mitigation Contribution under Article 6: key understandings and what it means for the VCM

Below is the text itself (bold font added), which forms part of the Decision on Article 6.4, the new carbon crediting mechanism that the UNFCCC will operate:

The [Article 6.4] mechanism registry shall track:


Scaling the voluntary carbon market? Let's think bigger.

At Gold Standard, we are taking steps to respond to new drivers shaping the voluntary carbon market in the new context of the Paris Agreement, the need for science-based mitigation hierarchy as well as the work of the Task Force for Scaling the Voluntary Carbon Market (TSVCM). We are also looking to the longer-term, and the role of markets in helping to achieve the global balance of emissions sinks and sources needed to achieve the goals adopted in Paris.


Climate impact claims to crowd in private sector finance

Given the binary nature of the Kyoto Protocol, under which only developed countries took on emissions limits, a “carbon neutral” target has been a simple way for companies to set ambition and take action outside their boundaries – that is, beyond what would be included in their inventory reporting – and to unlock unique claims.

Today, the picture is more complex and dynamic:


Open letter – Feedback by the Gold Standard Foundation to the TSVCM’s Phase II Public Consultation



The core stated aim of the TSVCM is to ‘scale an effective and efficient voluntary carbon market to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.’ With the assumption that effective means ‘with integrity and quality’, as stated elsewhere in this and previous documents, we highlight the following key limitations and concerns and then make recommendations regarding how to address each of them, to make these efforts credible.


How to spot greenwashing – and how to stop it

The adoption of the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy on 21st April – an investor's guide that defines green investments – has become embroiled in a greenwashing scandal. This taxonomy was intended to be the EU Commission’s keystone regulation underpinning the sustainable finance pillar of the EU Green Deal, with the objective of preventing greenwashing.


Let’s remove ONLY what we can’t avoid

The tech sector in particular is going big on removals, some so far as Microsoft who promise to remove more carbon than they have emitted. Stripe has introduced a product allowing businesses to contribute funds to technology-based carbon sequestration. And a growing number of start-ups are snubbing avoided emissions and directing climate contributions toward removals – even at the expense of core integrity principles like additionality and robust monitoring.