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 reach the ambition of the Paris Agreement and the Agenda 2030, it is critical to crowd in finance from both the public and private sector. To attract sufficient investment, it's important to lower risk profiles, particularly in emerging economies where the exposure to climate change is greatest but risks for investors are higher. Using quality standards can help design for maximum impact, measure progress in a practical but rigorous way, and credibly report on those outcomes.

Gold Standard for the Global Goals sets a certification pathway for institutions or funds investing in climate mitigation or adaptation programmes, sustainable infrastructure, or other development initiatives, 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 or portfolio level, embedding the standard requirements into 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 a programme or portfolio. This delivers an integrated approach that streamlines the certification process and optimises costs.


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 needs. A funder can seek impact certification of a programme, portfolio or fund simply to be able to credibly quantify and report the contributions delivered toward climate security and sustainable development.  

If an investor or 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, funders, 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 programme, portfolio 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