UPDATED 27 June 2024

Our Standard

Maximise Positive Impact, Minimise Potential Risk

Gold Standard for the Global Goals is an innovative impact standard bringing high-level integrity and credibility to the most important global goal of our time: climate security and sustainable development.

Comprised of numerous methodologies, guidelines and requirements - backed by strong safeguards and principles – it enables the credible measurement, reporting and verification of positive impacts generated by climate and sustainable development initiatives. Its robust yet customisable design allows for application across a diverse range of initiatives and users, with one fundamental objective: driving financial support to climate and sustainable development initiatives.

Founded in 2003 by WWF and other international NGOs, Gold Standard has always been a pioneer in raising ambition. Originally created to ensure the highest levels of environmental integrity and sustainable development outcomes for the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, we continue to demonstrate leadership for high-quality and high-integrity in the voluntary carbon market, while using our two decades of experience to evolve and innovate to serve wider needs. 

The Gold Standard Difference

Integrity: the bedrock of our standard

Our standard is widely recognised for its integrity, both for the environment and the protection of local communities. Our sustainable development and safeguard provisions are recognised as market-leading by the Oeko Institute, our gender provisions by ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme, and our grievance mechanism by Carbon Maket Watch.

Gold Standard-certified activities feature strong safeguards to avoid unintended negative impact and minimise risks, broad stakeholder engagement to improve project design, best practice methodologies and end-to-end impact management. While many of our pioneering efforts have been reflected across similar standard bodies, Gold Standard goes beyond to bring integrity and credibility to a higher level.


Unique to Gold Standard

  • All Gold Standard-certified activities must deliver impact toward a minimum of 3 UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are committed to ensuring that climate initiatives also work for climate justice, by delivering benefits to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as no poverty, good health and well-being, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable clean energy, ecosystem and biodiversity conservation, and of course climate action. 
  • In line with our gender-sensitive design principles, all Gold Standard-certified activities must take into account the overall societal context from a gender perspective, comply with our Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerments Requirements, and conduct relevant stakeholder consultations in line with the standard. See ISEAL Website for more information
  • Gold Standard is the first climate-centred standard to achieve Code Compliant status for ISEAL, which sets the standard for these processes and principles, including transparency, impartiality, stakeholder engagement, grievance management, and efficiency, as well collaboration with other standards for exponential impact.

View all principles and requirements under Gold Standard for the Global Goals



How Gold Standard Maximises Positive Impact

Climate protection

Contribute to climate protection AND sustainable development.


Follow ALL relevant environmental, economic and social safeguarding principles.

Local Stakeholder

Ensure stakeholder inclusivity – including local stakeholder consultations to ensure anyone affected by a project has an opportunity to feed into the project design process.

Gender sensitive

Follow Gender-sensitive design principles, which is unique to Gold Standard.

Sustainable Development Goals

Deliver impact toward a minimum of 3 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate action. These SDG benefits can vary according to project type.

Independent Third Party Verification and Validation Body

Be independently verified for both the emission reductions and sustainable development benefits delivered.

Grievance Mecanism

Provide a grievance mechanism in case there are issues with the project. A project must resolve any grievances in order to gain/maintain Gold Standard certification. 

Ensuring Trust

It is critical that purchasers of carbon credits know that the credits they purchase represent real impact. Gold Standard-certified initiatives producing carbon credits must demonstrate to have the following attributes to ensure integrity of their climate impact:


Projects that are validated and certified to an internationally recognised standard.


Emissions reductions are measurable and permanent.


Emission reductions would not have happened without the project activity.

Independently Verified

Project activities and impact data are verified by independent third party auditors.


Carbon credits are not counted or claimed by another party.


All certified impacts are tracked transparently in a public registry.

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