UPDATED 29 February 2024


Gold Standard’s Pilot Adaptation Framework Updated

Gold Standard has updated its Pilot Adaptation Framework documents to support the design of quality adaptation projects and investments. This pilot framework is now available for use to help protect the impacts of projects, secure supply chains against increasing costs, protect vulnerable communities, and secure investment.

Adaptation Framework updated

The effects of climate change on the global economy are not projections, they’re being experienced today. As any good investor will tell you, an investment gap is an investment opportunity. As the climate changes, adaptation is vital. Therefore, investing in adaptative management is becoming increasingly attractive.

By using Gold Standard’s Adaptation Framework, developed in collaboration with Resilient Cities Catalyst, and recently updated following a period of engagement with adaptation practitioners and potential users, you can protect your project or asset against climate risks.

The Adaptation Framework can be applied across multiple sectors and stakeholders including:

  • Investors with sustainable assets such as infrastructure or technology.
  • Project developers looking to protect their future impacts.
  • Corporates looking to secure supply chains to prevent increasing costs.
  • City and sub-national governments looking to protect vulnerable communities exposed to climate hazards. 
  • Insurance companies that want to increase their user’s ability to secure investment.

By reducing risks in a credible and effective way, you can enhance your business model and generate measurable adaptive outcomes to improve access to finance.

Generating returns through effective risk management

Investing in adaptation has already been proven to produce savings for companies and investors, particularly in emerging markets and developing economies because adaptive practice ensures a consistent supply of products. Gold Standard’s Adaptation Requirements enable investors and project owners to define, monitor and proactively manage the damages caused by climate change. The preventative results can be quantified in real savings by attributing avoided harms and losses to investments and projects.

The Adaptation Framework helps project owners and investment portfolio managers to strengthen their resilience to climate change. It provides a comprehensive science-based framework that helps to take climate risks fully into account. This allows project developers and investors to clearly see opportunities and financial vulnerabilities reinforcing the sustainability and profitability of the investment; and allows governments to translate their adaptation plans into tangible investment plans.

Filling the data gap

The Adaptation Framework engages stakeholders affected by climate change directly and indirectly throughout the adaptation design and implementation of the project. This serves to both inform stakeholders about how to best apply adaptive management practice as well as inform project owners and investors of localised current climate hazards that is rarely captured by global or national climate data.

By using local knowledge alongside the best available scientific climate data, hazard analysis, and risk assessment, the requirements fill the gap between local and municipal/national level data – meaning that projects can identify and mitigate against the future impact of climate change, protecting both the investments and the communities where the projects sit.

Using the framework

The Framework has recently been piloted in projects in Pittsburgh, USA and the Galapagos Islands:

  • In Pittsburgh, in a restoration and expansion project for the city’s greenways, the adaptation framework was used to identify key risks (including landslides, invasive species, and disease) and integrate adaptive measures into project design. It showed that effective management could be a powerful tool in preventing landslides after heavy rainfall, avoiding loss and damage to low-income communities who would otherwise be at risk to these climate hazards.
  • In the Galapagos, the project was an eco-tourism resort that is affected by pathogens, invasive species, and shorter, more intense rainy seasons. The framework helped prioritise risk reduction strategies into infrastructure and design plans, provided inputs for training on resilient agricultural practices and suggested the incorporation of biodiversity preservation into tour operations. The proposed adaptation measures aim to reduce the vulnerability of the resort to risks of food and water shortages and enhance the ability of infrastructure capacity to withstand excess rainfall which is expected to increase given changing weather patterns. These measures ensure that the overall investment value is maintained by protecting the biodiversity and food provision – often the main attractions for tourists who visit the site.

Following these initial pilots, the framework has been updated. The changes include: clarifying language and consistency of structure to improve readability and ease of use; the addition of requirements to improve alignment with traditional and cultural norms during stakeholder engagement, government plans, and corporate procedure; and detailed guidance on risk management options.

Phases of implementation

If you are interested in using our Gold Standard RCC Adaptation Requirements, piloting certification is formed of two phases:

  • Design certification ensures that the requirements have been applied correctly.
  • Performance certification ensures that the risks identified at point of design are managed according to best practice adaptive management.

Certification will help businesses and governments to make credible claims, manage risks, position funds for adaptation finance, and ensure long term license to operate.

As the Adaptation Framework is in a piloting phase, Gold Standard is not currently charging a fee for their use. There may be costs associated with third-party certification.

If you have a project that would benefit you can access the full requirements, below.


According to the report ‘From Risk to Reward: The Business Imperative to Finance Climate Adaptation and Resilience’, which surveyed the economic benefits of applying adaptation across various companies, 80% of respondents reported that the benefits they achieved were at least 2 to 15 times their cost.

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    If you want to discuss piloting, please contactcontact Caitlin Drake , Officer, Sustainable Finance & Innovation

    [email protected]

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