Environmental integrity + sustainable development


High-impact Gold Standard assets -- from carbon credits to renewable energy certificates -- allow the power of markets to drive change, accelerating progress toward the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Gold Standard was founded to ensure carbon markets feature the highest levels of environmental integrity and contribute towards sustainable development. We continue to strengthen and scale efforts across a range of environmental markets, focused on making it simpler for high-impact climate protection projects to achieve certification and access markets in the context of the new Paris Agreement Framework.

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Voluntary + Compliance Carbon Markets

The latest IPCC report highlights the urgency to fully decarbonize our global economy. Carbon markets help accelerate and finance the transition to net-zero emissions by enabling businesses and individuals to take accountability for their unavoidable emissions through the purchase of carbon credits.

This helps close the emissions gap left by countries commitments under the Paris Agreement, the finance gap where urgently needed climate action is not yet funded, and the time gap that favours action today over waiting for sufficient policy measures from governments.


However much we try to reduce our footprint, in our current world some emissions are still unavoidable. Financing emission reductions by purchasing high impact carbon credits is a way to take responsibility for your climate impact and to take-action beyond your own footprint.

Carbon credits represent the reduction or removal of one tonne of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e). Gold Standard carbon credits also include gender-sensitive and inclusive stakeholder design, environmental and social safeguards, and a contribution towards at least three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - ensuring the greatest impact delivered for every dollar channeled to projects.

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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



Renewable energy markets

At least 42% of electricity must be supplied by renewable sources by 2030 to reach net zero emissions by midcentury -- the ambition of the Paris Agreement -- which requires doubling renewable power capacity. The private sector is key to this transition, yet some companies are limited in their ability to source renewable energy directly. Renewable energy markets allow these companies to purchase clean energy from their grid.

By purchasing clean energy -- whether directly or through renewable energy markets -- companies demonstrate a commitment to being more environmentally friendly, something clients, consumers + civil society are increasingly demanding.


More and more businesses are setting ambitious renewable energy targets in an effort to spur the global transitions to renewables and purchasing renewable electricity through energy attribute certificates is a convenient, affordable and accessible option.

Gold Standard labelled Renewable Energy Attribute Certificates represent a megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated and delivered to the grid from a renewable source. They are issued on top of I-RECs, internationally recognised and reliable electricity attribute tracking certificates (RECs). And most importantly, they follow Gold Standard principles to ensure that a buyer’s purchase results in real-world emissions reductions and the addition of new renewable energy capacity to the grid, helping to drive the clean energy transition.

Water Benefit Certificates

The World Economic Forum names water crises as the #1 greatest risk facing the world.

Freshwater sustains life – neither people nor nature can exist without it. But many of the world’s water systems are dangerously stressed and experts predict that ‘business as usual’ water use will expose 4.8 billion people to severe water scarcity by 2050.


Water is the most fundamental human need and many organisations are committed to water stewardship, working collaboratively to ensure that social, environmental and economic benefits are achieved.

Gold Standard has developed requirements to certify the positive socio-economic impacts of water projects, enabling companies to support high-impact water projects through the purchase of Water Benefit Certificates (WBCs).

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. Each Gold Standard certified water project must deliver impact toward at least three SDGs and demonstrate a clear financial need for additional finance from selling Water Benefit Certificates – delivering development impacts that would not have otherwise happened.

For more information
Voluntary + Compliance Carbon Markets
Renewable energy markets
Water Benefit Certificates