We are seeking your feedback on the proposal to mainstream the microscale project requirements into Gold Standard for the Global Goals (GS4GG).
Why the need for such a change?
The microscale scheme was originally introduced in version 2.2 of the Gold Standard to help smaller projects - generally those that deliver less than 10,000 tCO2e a year and provide a wealth of other development benefits to vulnerable communities - gain access to carbon finance through a simplified assurance process and methodologies.
The programme has seen great success with over 900 microscale projects certified since its inception. Today, the microscale project requirements need to evolve to align with changes in the voluntary carbon market.
Since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the market has evolved with new compliance schemes and regulatory bodies - such as CORSIA and the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market’s (IC-VCM) upcoming Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) – establishing new minimum criteria for standard setting and assurance. A key principle within the criteria is the need for audits by third-party validation and verification bodies, which means microscale projects that continue to use internal validation and verification processes will not be compliant under these evolving market conditions.
To continue supporting microscale projects in accessing climate finance, we are proposing to mainstream the microscale project requirements within GS4GG.
Summary of the changes
The Microscale Scheme is currently operationalised through:
- the Microscale Project Requirements
- the Programme of Activity (PoA) Requirements, and
- a variety of specific rules and requirements in other standard documents (methodologies, activity requirements, etc.)
The Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee has recommended to mainstream the microscale scheme into GS4GG under a newly created ‘microscale’ project scale category. This change will ensure consistent application of the certification process for all project scales, while maintaining microscale project requirements and simplifications. Specifically:
1) Microscale Project Requirements
As of the date of entry into force, the Microscale Project Requirements document, sections 2-12, will no longer be applicable. The main simplification in the Microscale Project Requirements was the possibility for Internal Validation/Verification, which is being removed. This will mean that from the date of entry into force all microscale projects shall undergo validation and verification by a Gold Standard-approved Validation/Verification Body (VVB).
2) Programme of Activity (PoA) Requirements
The Programme of Activity Requirements that interpret the Microscale Project Requirements for the PoA context will be updated subsequently in line with the proposed changes.
3) Other standard documents (methodologies, activity requirements, etc.)
The various simplified standard requirements introduced to support microscale project activities are already included within the relevant methodologies, activity requirements, and Programme of Activity requirements. These will still be available for microscale projects, and we will continue to develop and introduce further tools and simplifications into the future.
The proposed date for entry into force is 20 September 2023.