Certified SDG impacts
for results based finance
Gold Standard for the Global Goals allows for the issuance of certified SDG impacts, from water benefits to renewable energy certificates to health or gender equality benefits. This enables project developers to monetise project impacts, and provides project funders with the highest levels of assurance that outcomes have been achieved.
Photo - UN SDG Action Campaign-header
Explore the certified SDG impacts that projects or interventions can currently issue under Gold Standard for the Global Goals and how funders can support these outcomes.
- Emission Reductions (carbon credits)
Emission reductions represent the prevention of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) from entering the atmosphere, also known as carbon credits, which are used for carbon offsetting. Gold Standard carbon credits include:
- Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) for voluntary climate action
- Labels for Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) for meeting compliance targets
Why finance Gold Standard Emission Reductions?Financing the reduction of global GHG emissions by purchasing carbon credits is a core component of responsible climate action for companies and individuals alike. For business, financing Gold Standard Emission Reductions can help:
- Deliver on best practice corporate climate action>>
- Play a direct role in the Paris Climate Agreement
- Gain recognition by civil society organisations and climate-conscious customers
- Contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via certified SDG impacts of each Gold Standard carbon credit
What can be claimed?
- Contribute to the Paris Climate Agreement and SDG 13
- For credibility, companies should always first commit to ambitious internal emission reduction targets. Gold Standard recommends setting a Science Based Target.
- The purchase of emission reductions can be used to meet ‘carbon neutral,’ ‘climate neutral,’ and ‘climate positive’ claims.
Example: We have made a contribution to SDG 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, by funding 1000 emission reductions through PROJECT NAME. This represents a direct and quantifiable impact on climate action, monitored, verified and certified to Gold Standard.
- Renewable Energy Certificate Labels
The Gold Standard Renewable Energy Label represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable source. This quality label ensures that a buyer’s purchase results in real-world emissions reductions and the addition of new renewable energy capacity to the grid, from a project that also delivers verified sustainable development benefits.Currently, Gold Standard Renewable Energy Labels are issued on top of I-RECs from the International REC Standard.
Why purchase Gold Standard Renewable Energy Labels?At least 42% of electricity will need to be supplied by renewable sources by 2030 if we are to stay well below 2oC temperature rise. This means doubling current global renewable power capacity. Investing in high-quality renewable energy certificates like the Gold Standard Renewable Energy Label, allows you to:
- Support adding new renewable energy capacity to the grid, representing progress to SDG 7 and the Paris Climate Agreement
- Contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via certified SDG impacts of each Gold Standard Renewable Energy Label
What can be claimed?
- Contribution to SDG Target 7.2
- Reduction in Scope 2 footprint, eligible under RE100 and the GHG Protocol
Example: We have made a contribution to SDG Target 7.2 to increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by funding 1000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity generated from a renewable source through PROJECT NAME/NUMBER. This represents a direct and quantifiable impact on affordable and clean energy, monitored, verified and certified to Gold Standard.
- Water Benefit Certificates
A Water Benefit Certificate represents a volume of water that has been sustainably supplied, purified or conserved. There are different volumes for different project types, depending on size and impacts provided.
Volumes - cubic metres per annum (m3 p.a.)
Number of m3 per WBC
For volumes up to 40,000 m3 p.a.
1 m3 = 1 WBC
For additional volumes greater than 40,000 m3 but less than 1,300,000 m3 p.a.
10 m3 are worth 1 WBC
For additional volumes greater than 1,300,000 m3 p.a.
100 m3 are worth 1 WBC
Why purchase Water Benefit Certificates?Water has been repeatedly named by the World Economic Forum as the single biggest risk the world faces. These threats are only exacerbated by increasing temperatures and changing weather patterns. Purchasing Water Benefit Certificates allows organisations committed to water stewardship to have certainty that they have:
- Supported high-impact projects that supply, purify and conserve water around the world that would not have otherwise happened
- Contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via certified SDG impacts of each Gold Standard Water Benefit Certificate
What can be claimed?
- Contribution to SDG 6 representing a direct impact on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, monitored, verified and certified Gold Standard.
- Target 6.1. - WASH projects contribute in achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
- Target 6.2. - WASH projects contribute to achieving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
- Target 6.3. - Wastewater treatment projects help improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated waste water and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
- Target 6.4. - Projects under the Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative help to increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
Example: We have made a contribution to SDG Target 6.1 by providing 1000 people with access to safe drinking water through PROJECT NAME and to SDG Target 6.2 by providing access to new sanitation facilities. This represents a direct and quantifiable impact on clean water and sanitation, monitored, verified and certified to Gold Standard.
- Gender Equality impacts
Empowering women and girls is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change and closing the gender gap can accelerate progress towards many other SDGs.
Gold Standard for the Global Goals features strengthened safeguards around gender equality, making all Gold Standard projects “Gender Sensitive”. In addition, projects can proactively assess and certify their contributions to SDG 5 by following our “Gender Responsive” Framework.
Why support certified gender equality benefits?Financing Gold Standard-certified gender equality benefits moves beyond a general sense that a project has helped women and girls to quantified and verified impact. Funders are able to:
- Demonstrate leadership in tackling gender issues
- Make an measurable contribution toward SDG priorities
- Credibly report on what investments have delivered
- Reward high performance and create incentives to encourage more long-term development, empowering more women and girls to close the gender gap
What can be claimed?
- Funders of any project certified under Gold Standard for the Global Goals may claim to have supported a ‘Gender Sensitive’ project, reflecting its compliance with the latest best practices in gender equality.
- Funders financing ‘certified SDG 5 impacts’ under our "Gender Responsive" Framework may also claim direct contributions to SDG 5 targets, including:
- SDG Target 5.1 - End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
- SDG Target 5.4 - Recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
- SDG Target 5.5 - Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
Example: We have made a contribution to SDG Target 5.4 by funding the reduction of 1000 hours of unpaid domestic work through PROJECT NAME and to SDG Target 5.5 by providing new permanent employment to 20 women within the project boundary. This represents a direct and quantifiable impact on gender equality, monitored, verified and certified to Gold Standard.
- Improved Health outcomes
The WHO estimates that exposure to smoke from the simple act of cooking is the fourth leading risk factor for disease in developing countries, causing 4.3 million premature deaths per year. Averted Disability Adjusted Life Years (ADALYs) is a commonly used metric that represents the number of years of healthy life made possible by a given intervention.
Building upon the ground-breaking work of Kirk Smith and the Berkeley Air Institute, we've developed a first-of-its-kind methodology to quantify the health benefits from interventions that reduce household air pollution from clean cooking and heating technologies.
Why finance certified health benefits?
While improved cookstove projects have always been linked to reduced air pollution, the resulting health outcomes were difficult to quantify. By financing ADALYs, funders are able to:
- Make a direct and verified impact on the health of vulnerable communities
- Ensure the intervention was cost-effective because it can be directly compared to the burden of disease – that is, it generates more economic benefits than it costs
What can be claimed?
Funding Gold Standard certified ADALYs can be used to support an organisation’s commitments to good health, specifically:
- SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- SDG Target 3.9: Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
SDG Target 3.9.1: Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution
Example: We have made a contribution to SDG Target 3.9 by funding 1000 Averted Disability Adjusted Life Years (ADALYs) from PROJECT NAME. This represents a direct and quantifiable impact on human health, monitored, verified and certified to Gold Standard.
- Black Carbon reductions
Black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are by-products of burning diesel, coal, firewood, and crop residue. Recent studies show that black carbon may be responsible for close to 20% of the planet’s warming, making it the second highest contributor to climate change. More companies are now making commitments to reducing SLCPs either through the Climate & Clean Air Coalition or We Mean Business.
Gold Standard has developed the first-ever methodology to measure SLCP reductions in improved cookstoves projects.
Why finance the reduction of black carbon?
- Support projects that provide an immediate and measurable impact on mitigating climate change at a local level, whilst delivering a host of other certified SDG impacts
- Use in conjunction with Emission Reductions to accurately report + reduce for full climate benefits
- Help to drive the implementation of more efficient cooking and heating technologies to broader populations
What can be claimed?
- Contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement + SDG 13 by financing Black Carbon Equivalent (BCe) emission reductions from improved cookstoves or clean burning fuels
- The precise amount of black carbon and other SLCPs reduced from an intervention in a given year
For credibility, companies should always first commit to ambitious internal GHG and black carbon or other SLCP emission reduction targets. Gold Standard recommends setting a Science Based Target for GHG emission reductions and making commitments to reduce SLCPs through the Climate & Clean Air Coalition.
Example: We have made a contribution to SDG Target 13 by funding the reduction of 1000 Black Carbon Equivalent (BCe) emission reductions through PROJECT NAME. The project has also improved the health of 500 people within the project boundary. This represents a direct and quantifiable impact on climate action, monitored, verified and certified to Gold Standard.