UPDATED 11 July 2024


Empowering gender equality: first gold standard "gender responsive" carbon credits issued

The first ever Gold Standard-Certified gender responsive project, created by project developer Co2Balance, has issued its first credits. This offers purchasers of carbon credits the opportunity to fund a project that proactively supports gender equality.

Empowering gender equality: first gold standard "gender responsive" carbon credits issued

Lango Safe Water ‘Gender Responsive’ Project

Gender equality: why it is essential in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Stark statistics from the United Nations underline the importance of gender equality in achieving the SDGs. 4.4 million more women than men live on less than US$1.90 a day in 89 countries. Almost half of teenage girls in Sub-Saharan Africa are denied education, reducing their earning potential. Women are underrepresented in leadership, and disproportionately feel the effects of environmental degradation and natural disasters. (unwomen.org)

Closing gender gaps will help to alleviate poverty, enhance education, improve health, lead to more jobs, increase food security, and offer increased environmental and energy sustainability. The World Bank emphasises that if women worldwide had equal access to productive resources (seeds, fertiliser, extension services, to name a few), 100-150 million fewer people would go hungry every day.

Yet, progress remains slow.

SDG5 Gender Equality

“Unless appropriate action is taken to advance gender equality, the promise of the 2030 Agenda—of a better world, with universal respect for human rights and dignity and full realization of human potential—will go unrealized.” ,Why Gender Quality Matters Across all SDGs, UN Women, 2018

A just transition to Net-Zero is non-negotiable for Gold Standard. In 2018 we launched our Gender Equality Requirements and Guidelines. This includes two levels: ‘gender sensitive’, which is mandatory for all project seeking certification under the standard, and an advanced ‘gender responsive’ level, for projects seeing deeper gender impact. To achieve this advanced level, project developers must undertake deep gender analysis, select gender targeted project goals, and design project-specific gender indicators and parameters.

The ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme recognised Gold Standard as a best-in-class example of a standard showing leadership on gender equality and women’s empowerment, in 2022. Their report "Integrating a Gender Lens in Voluntary Carbon Markets concluded that ‘there is a growing demand amongst buyers for more expensive higher-integrity carbon credits that meet robust social and environmental standards…".

Spotlight: Lango Safe Water ‘Gender Responsive’ Project

Gold Standard and CO2balance are now able to fulfil that demand. The Lango Safe Water project received the first ever Gold Standard Gender Responsive certification in 2020. The project rehabilitates boreholes to provide clean water in rural Uganda, and as of August 2023 credits are available to purchase on the Gold Standard Marketplace, offering purchasers the option to choose carbon credits from a project which has been rigorously assessed to reduce gender inequality. Climate and Social Impact:

  • 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emission reductions per year.
  • 40,000 individuals enjoying clean water access, reducing incidences of waterborne illness.
  • Each household gains almost 4 hours per week from reduced water collection needs, saving time for mostly women and young girls.
  • Reduced school absenteeism due to less exposure to waterborne disease and less time spent collecting water.

LANGO Project Woman at the borehole

Gender Equality Impact:

  • The local Water Resource Committees is approaching parity with 46% female to 54% male representation.
  • Reported incidents of domestic violence related to water collection have dropped to zero, compared to 35% prior to the project start.
  • 100% of the surveyed water users spend the time saved on domestic work, as well as income generating activities (99%) and social / leisure activities (94%).

LANGO Project Woman at the borehole

Paul Chiplen, Director of Sales and Marketing, CO2balance:
“We are driven by running projects that deliver additional impacts well beyond carbon, and the Gold Standard’s Gender Responsive Standard allows us to demonstrate these benefits for our Safe Water project in Lango. Being the first project developer to issue 'gender responsive' carbon credits under Gold Standard allows us raise awareness of the importance of gender equality and female empowerment in environmental markets and allows buyers to choose credits with those associated benefits, all while supporting our continued investment in such projects.”

Harriet, one of the recipients of the Safe Water Project in Lango:

“The project has highly changed my life and greatly improved on my health and personal hygiene. I spend my free time at the shop, doing house chores and other activities. My children are also able to go to school early and during the weekends they help me with garden work. Being able to have my own business has made me feel more empowered as a woman and also depend less on my husband”.

Having a reliable supply of safe and clean water has enabled Harriet to start up a shop business which she uses to support her family.

Margaret Kim, CEO, Gold Standard:
“There is a positive ripple effect when gender equality increases and women are empowered. By purchasing 'gender responsive' carbon credits purchasers can support projects that go above and beyond in their efforts to support women. I salute CO2balance for taking the lead with their pioneering work in Lango, showing the positive impact the carbon market can have on gender equality.”

Projects like this are an important way of driving climate finance towards both climate and gender equality aims. Gold Standard is looking forward to working with many more partners on projects like Lango Safe Water. Join us in helping to close the gender gap and empower women, while delivering climate security and sustainable development for all.

Interested in supporting this gender-certified project? Carbon credits for this project are available for purchase via the Gold Standard Marketplace (link below) and via other retailers.

Interested in applying the Gender Equality Framework? View the requirements and guidelines via the link below, and should you have questions you can contact us at [email protected]

Gold Standard Newsletter Subscription

Stay updated on our latest news and more.