Carbon markets

Carbon markets enable carbon offsetting, the process by which businesses and individuals purchase carbon credits -- or certified GHG emission reductions -- to take accountability for their unavoidable emissions and help finance the global transition to a low carbon economy. Gold Standard certification ensures that these emission reductions are real, 'additional,' and permanent, coming from projects that also contribute to a minimum of three Sustainable Development Goals.

The latest IPCC report>> highlights the gravity of the world's current climate change trajectory, moving the need to act from urgency to an emergency. Carbon markets help accelerate the transition to "net zero emissions" by enabling voluntary climate action by the private sector to close the emissions gap left by countries commitments under the Paris Agreement. 

Financing emission reductions beyond one's own footprint is a core component of climate action for companies and individuals alike. Doing so by purchasing Gold Standard carbon credits can help:

  1. Deliver on Best Practice Climate Action—Contribute to the Paris Agreement by making a direct investment in the low-carbon transition by supporting climate protection projects.
  2. Make an impact toward SDG priorities—Gold Standard certification requires ALL projects to follow stringent environmental and social safeguarding principles, while also delivering multiple certified SDG impacts. These SDG impacts are quantified according to Gold Standard approved methodologies for credible and comparable claims.
  3. Gain recognition by civil society – NGOs are increasingly calling for accountability for one's full carbon footprint as part of a credible climate strategy.

All Gold Standard carbon credits represent the reduction or removal of one tonne of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e), plus the SDG benefits associated with the project from which they are issued.

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Gold Standard labels for Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) for compliance targets

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Gold Standard Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) for voluntary climate action



Gold Standard was founded by WWF and other NGOs to serve as the benchmark in carbon markets -- ensuring that projects adhered to the highest levels of environmental integrity and delivered sustainable development benefits to local communities. Gold Standard continues to represent the best that can be achieved in carbon markets, featuring:

  • The most stringent environmental and social safeguards – required, not optional
  • Local stakeholder consultation – required, not optional
  • Gender-sensitive project design – required, not optional
  • Multiple contributions to sustainable development – required, not optional
  • Higher environmental integrity due to the exclusion of project types with greater risks and negative impacts (e.g., fossil fuel switch or large hydropower projects that can threaten local wildlife)
  • Civil society endorsement from our NGO Supporter Network

Following our mantra of "Making good better," we are currently developing SDG Impact Tools to standardise and simplify impact monitoring and measurement for improved credibility and comparability of claims from one project to another.

This rigour translates into greater impact and higher value. In fact, Gold Standard climate protection projects deliver up to $465 in additional value toward the SDGs for every tonne of CO2 mitigated. 



  • Contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement and SDG 13 – to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by financing a direct and quantifiable impact on climate change mitigation that is monitored, verified and certified Gold Standard.
  • ‘Carbon Neutral,’ ‘Climate Neutral,’ or ‘Climate Positive’ claims – If your purchase of emission reductions is equivalent to or greater than your carbon footprint, this can be used to meet ‘carbon neutral,’ ‘climate neutral,’ and ‘climate positive’ claims.
  • Contributions to other SDGs  - You may also describe the certified impacts toward other Sustainable Development Goals that the project you supported has delivered. **If you are considering purchasing carbon credits, beware of projects certified under other standards that claim SDG contributions without verification and/or without following safeguards to mitigate any negative impacts.