Impact reporting and certification

Investors face growing pressure to invest sustainably and to measure the positive environmental and social impacts of their portfolios. These trends have triggered an increased need for sophisticated ways to accurately measure the positive impact of investments and their contributions towards the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

To mobilise private capital in climate-smart and impact investments, it is critical to lower risk profiles, particularly in emerging economies where the exposure to climate change is greatest but risks for investors are higher. Beyond financial returns, sustainability-minded impact investors also seek to maximise the positive impacts that a well-designed intervention can deliver, and to report on those impacts in a credible way.

Gold Standard for the Global Goals sets a certification pathway for funds investing in sustainable infrastructure and high-impact programmes, helping de-risk investment and enabling credible, comparable reporting on climate and sustainable development impacts.

Investments suitable for certification include:

Gold Standard for the Global Goals can be applied at a fund level, embedding the standard requirements into a fund’s investment criteria and due diligence process. Requirements are robust but simple for early-stage assessment of risks and estimation of development outcomes. The standard also provides a pragmatic approach for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of project performance within an investment portfolio. This delivers an integrated approach that streamlines the certification process and optimises costs at the portfolio level.


Projects are assessed against the non-financial assessment criteria, based on the UNDP’s safeguarding principles, and risks are identified, mitigated and monitored over time. Comprehensive stakeholder mapping and consultations feed into the project design, creating strategic buy-in from relevant stakeholders and mitigating potential future risks that could threaten an investment and overall project success.


Standard requirements include criteria to assess governance capabilities and structure, including investment planning, inter-institutional coordination, track-record of implementing similar projects, as well as management systems, including clearly designated roles and responsibilities and capacity building.


Investors can monitor and report the SDG impacts of their project investments at a portfolio level without losing focus on the individual stories behind each project. Each investment project is required to contribute to at least three SDGs, including SDG 13 - Climate Action. Annual MRV provides assurance that desired outcomes from investments are achieved.


Gold Standard for the Global Goals can serve as an aggregation tool for multiple projects, reducing development and monitoring costs and improving the risk-return profile of the portfolio.

Impact certification can fulfill different investor needs. A fund can also seek impact certification to simply to credibly quantify and report the contributions that its project portfolio delivers toward climate security and sustainable development.  

If an investor or project partner wishes to monetise their impacts, such as by issuing carbon credits or renewable energy certificates for trading, they must follow further requirements (e.g. demonstrate additionality in the case of carbon credits) and globally accepted methodologies to be eligible under relevant environmental markets.

With either approach, investors and the projects they support are assured to have made meaningful, verified contributions to a more climate-secure and sustainable world.

If you think your investment or fund will benefit from Gold Standard certification, get started by contacting SustainCERT, the official certification provider for Gold Standard for the Global Goals, to begin the process.

Contact SustainCERT