UPDATED 29 January 2024

media release

Sustainability standards join forces to scale climate impact

25 Aug 2020
Geneva, Switzerland
Released by
Gold Standard
  • media contact Sarah Leugers, Chief Growth Officer

For the first time standards including Better Cotton Initiative, Fairtrade, FSC, and the Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials will be able to quantify carbon emission reductions in their certified commodities in a way that corporate purchasers can count toward their climate commitments.

With increasing demand for more sustainable, climate-friendly goods and services, ISEAL member standards are collaborating with Gold Standard to define common practices to calculate carbon reductions and sequestration that companies can easily report against their Science Based Targets or other climate performance objectives. The objective is to drive sustainability at a landscape scale through certified commodities with improved climate impact.

A company purchasing Fairtrade-certified coffee or sourcing their cotton as ‘Better Cotton’ from licensed Better Cotton Initiative farmers, for example, will be able to report lower emission factors for these commodities in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and thus, a lower corporate carbon footprint. 

For producers, this increases the value of their certified commodities by not only ensuring that production processes are equitable and sustainable, but by also adding another quantified, verified impact that companies can claim toward increasingly important climate commitments.

Paul Chatterton, Founder and Lead for WWF Landscape Finance Lab says, “We expect this initiative to catalyse sustainability action and investment at scale by creating more demand for certified commodities at a landscape level, rather than isolated interventions with specific producers or projects.”

"Making it easier to report on the positive climate impacts of the use of certified, sustainably produced products is progress toward to support real, measurable change,” adds Rolf Hogan, Executive Director of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.

“Forests play a fundamental role for the world’s climate, and giving responsible forest managers the tools to demonstrate carbon reductions and sequestration will enable consumers and companies to conscientiously promote positive impacts,” comments Kim Carstensen, Director General, FSC International.

SustainCERT, the official certification partner for Gold Standard for the Global Goals, will lead pilot initiatives with participating standards, verify pilot outcomes and help companies attribute the impacts in their corporate reporting.

The consortium also intends to explore how the methodologies and guidance might be extended to catalyse other critical sustainability impacts such as water, soil, or deforestation free targets.

This programme supports Gold Standard’s aim to help the world #GrowToZero: To meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of Net-Zero emissions while accelerating progress toward zero extreme poverty, zero hunger, zero biodiversity loss and other ambitious targets.

The initiative is made possible thanks to a grant from the ISEAL Innovations Fund, which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.

About the Better Cotton Initiative

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) — a global not-for-profit organisation — is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. In the 2018-19 cotton season, together with our partners BCI provided training on more sustainable agricultural practices to 2.3 million farmers from 23 countries. BCI is truly a joint effort, encompassing organisations all the way from farms to fashion and textile brands to civil society organisations, driving the cotton sector towards sustainability. Thanks to the support of partners and members, Better Cotton accounts for around 22% of global cotton production, and by the end of 2020, BCI aims to train 5 million farmers worldwide on more sustainable agricultural practices and for Better Cotton to account for 30% of global cotton production.


About Fairtrade International

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries. Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organizations empower producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers and advocate for a fair and sustainable future. Find out more at www.fairtrade.net.


About FSC

As the pioneer of forest certification, FSC has 25 years of experience in sustainable forest management and is widely regarded as the world’s most trusted forest certification system. FSC uses its expertise to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests, bringing together experts from the environmental, economic and social spheres. FSC develops the standards that define how forests can be managed sustainably and provides a label for businesses to show their products originate from these certified forests. FSC standards are based on ten core principles designed to prevent deforestation and degradation, and safeguard biodiversity, water quality, carbon storage, and Indigenous Peoples’ and workers’ rights, among other key environmental and social values.


About RSB

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) is an international, multi- stakeholder, independent organisation that supports the development of the global bio-based and circular through sustainability solutions, certification, innovation and collaborative partnerships.With credible solutions, global expertise, partners across the spectrum from government to industry and NGOs, and an extremely robust approach to sustainability, RSB is the partner of choice for the bioeconomy as it seeks to combat climate change while also ensuring social development and environmental protection. Grounded in its most trusted sustainability Standard, RSB provides solutions that enable companies across the bio-based and circular economy to demonstrate real and credible sustainability.


About WWF Landscape Finance Lab

The Landscape Finance Lab connects landscape teams, governments, corporates and financial institutions to incubate sustainable landscapes that generate impact at scale. The Lab is pioneering this new approach in landscapes that span land & sea areas of over 1 million hectares, attract investments of $100M+ and are able to run sustainably for decades.

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