UPDATED 24 February 2023

Project developer output report

Measures to address the challenges and opportunities identified in the project developer virtual roundtables and survey


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The last few years have seen significant change in the voluntary carbon market. Recent growth in activity and demand has created new opportunities but has also put additional pressure on already limited resources and capacity.

To fully understand what these current challenges and opportunities are and how we can better support our project developer community we convened a set of virtual roundtables and shared a survey to gather feedback and insight.

This report synthesises the information received and provides detailed steps on the measures already in place as well as those that we are planning to implement to help address some of the issues and opportunities identified. This includes efforts to reduce certification timelines, improve stakeholder engagement and enhance our IT infrastructure.

Key deliverables that we hope will significantly support project developers, include:

  1. Increased capacity to improve customer service: Gold Standard has hired two additional staff within its standards development team and is in the process of recruiting four more in the coming months. This is alongside new admin support for the Registry and general helpdesk enquiries and a new Market Relations function to provide dedicated support, key account management, and improved stakeholder engagement. Finally, there are plans to recruit regional staff in Africa, Asia, and Latin America later this year, to provide more tailored support and boost engagement with stakeholders and partners in the continents on which our standard is used most.
  2. Accelerate the preliminary review process: To expedite the timeline to list a project, Gold Standard has excluded preliminary reviews for new VPAs; expanded the checklist-based fast-track preliminary review to now include most project types; significantly reduced the information to be provided; deceased the timelines for responses; and SustainCERT has eliminated the need to book a review.
  3. Streamline and build capacity for validation and verification services: As well as developing a VVB Standard (soon to be published for consultation) to improve the consistency and quality of the validation and verification process for all projects, Gold Standard has recently issued a Request for Proposals for a delivery partner to help standardise reporting templates and implement measures that will streamline services to ensure continual improvement of certification quality whilst enabling more efficient, improved, and consistent reviews - including more specific, clearer, and timely feedback to project developers.

This is just a first step in building more inclusive and tailored stakeholder engagement. We will be proactively reaching out to stakeholders and other market participants to build on this feedback, to better understand market considerations on new initiatives and programmes and to provide solutions that better support project development on the ground.


We thank all those that took the time to participate in the virtual roundtables and the survey.

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