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As part of our mission to catalyse more ambitious action to achieve the Global Goals through robust standards and verified impacts, Gold Standard has prioritised its efforts and forged partnerships to deliver scalable, future-fit solutions. We're sharing here progress against our strategy and what you can expect to see from Gold Standard ahead of COP26 and beyond.  



Click the 3 pillars to go directly to relevant content.
  


OPTIMISE MARKETS 


Designing carbon markets for
highest impact 


From Article 6.2 and 6.4 to the voluntary carbon market, our focus is the same: To maximise the impact of all carbon finance, positioning markets to deliver meaningful, measurable contributions toward sustainable development and to be a tool for climate justice.
 
Read about our vision for carbon market evolution
1 - Expand methodologies 
We are expanding to include new high-integrity nature based climate solutions that support climate security, healthy ecosystems and thriving communities.

- Methodology for mangrove planting/assisted natural regeneration will include requirements to assess drivers of mangrove loss and an option to complement direct biomass measurements with remote sensing to overcome the increased complexity and risk associated with in-person monitoring. Developed by FORLIANCE and may be approved as early as Q1 2022.

- Biochar methodology to account for avoided GHG emissions from the conversion of bio-wastes into biochar for energy production and/or sequestration by biochar application to soils.
- Avoided N20 from fertilizer use methodology to account for avoided emissions from practices on fertilizer management and application. Following our call for proposals we have interviewed several external firms to develop this methodology, which is expected to release early Q2 2022.

- Carbon removals working group is being convened to design and develop best practices aimed at ensuring integrity as the market for carbon removals develops.
2 - Remove barriers to scale - making integrity achievable
We are working to pilot and scale new ways to monitor impact to get better data more efficiently and to reduce transaction costs for developers. We are focused on updating methodologies and testing new remote sensing and alternative MRV approaches to quantify climate impact. Our goal is to enable more frequent issuances, sometimes based on conservative factors that can be adjusted according to on-site monitoring at longer intervals.

- Streamlining community services methodologies to reduce monitoring requirements and transaction costs for project developers, while reflecting latest sector developments to ensure the highest levels of rigour are maintained.  

- New remote audit techniques for VVBs to help maintain integrity of the assurance process while streamlining processes and reducing travel and its associated climate impact where it is not explicitly needed.

- Remote sensing approaches for LUF projects will include providing tools to determine project area eligibility and defining a process for assessing which third-party technologies are sufficiently accurate for Gold Standard’s assurance requirements (Alternative MRV Program). We will also commence development of Gold Standard’s own bespoke tools and associated algorithms to assess project performance using remote sensing (e.g., satellite, radar, Lidar) and proximal sensors (e.g., soil spectrometry). We’ll soon begin recruitment for external experts.
- Revision of Soil Organic Carbon Methodology to improve practicality while maintaining rigour. Updates will include applicability criteria to identify eligible activities, how to use data types and models, ways to assess risk and account for uncertainty in measuring project performance, guidance on parameters, and a process for interim issuances when using models for SOC stock prediction - to release Q2 2022.

SDG Impact Tools to standardise and streamline SDG impact reporting, were piloted in the first half of 2021 and will be available for general use, along with supporting guidance, before year end.
3 - Ensure integrity in markets 
- Voluntary Carbon Market
With support from the German Ministry of the Environment, Gold Standard is developing a transition framework to ensure that the voluntary carbon market maintains high-integrity in the post-2020 era.

We will shortly publish a new process for projects that seek corresponding adjustments to make their post-2020 credits eligible for compliance schemes including CORSIA, or to serve offsetting or carbon neutral claims in the Paris era. This option will unlock new markets for project developers and enable buyers to purchase and retire credits with confidence and integrity towards specific claims.  
- Enhancing ambition in Article 6

- As announced on 25th August, Gold Standard is partnering with the Swedish Energy Agency to facilitate the Swedish Government’s acquisition of quality Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs), aiming to serve as a model for broader international cooperation in mitigating climate change.

We are now seeking experts to join Gold Standard’s new Working Group on Aligning with the Paris Agreement, to help us bring Gold Standard rules and systems in line with the new international context.

- We are developing an Additionality Framework supported by the Swiss Federal Office of the Environment to ensure carbon finance in bilateral cooperation delivers real climate impact as well as sustainable development outcomes.

- MRV systems to support developing countries in attracting climate finance, with first efforts with the government of Mongolia in collaboration with NDC Partnership. We are pleased to now share a report on operationalising Article 6 in Mongolia, outlining ten practical considerations for countries planning to host Article 6 activities. 

- We continue to advocate for inclusion of sustainable development principles through the Sustainable Development Initiative, co-managed with UNEP-DTU. We will soon publish SDI recommendations for the inclusion of sustainable development provisions in Article 6 negotiations at COP26, as well as further guidance to enable higher sustainable development impacts through activities on the ground.
 

IMPLEMENT CORPORATE AMBITION


High-integrity tools to enable companies to achieve Net Zero 

We are creating guidance for corporate climate ambition, introducing new tools that allow companies to meet climate targets, and scaling our high-integrity carbon credit portfolio. 

 
1 - Set ambitious climate strategies: Best practices framework 
Building from the Corporate Climate Stewardship guidelines co-authored with WWF and CDP that codified the expectation for companies to reduce emissions in line science AND finance reductions to reach global net zero targets, Gold Standard will play a leading role in developing a new framework that clarifies best practices for both and credible claims to incentivise and reward companies for ambitious climate action both within and beyond their corporate boundaries.
 
2 - Reduce within corporate boundaries: Solutions to reduce scope 3 emissions and credibly report to GHG Protocol + Science Based Targets 

- The Value Change initiative to reduce emissions from interventions within value chain continues to pilot activities with corporate climate leaders.
- Last year, we announced our collaboration with ISEAL standards to lower the climate impact of purchased goods and credibly report on these benefits up and down the value chain. We have now published, “Accounting + Reporting the Climate Impact of Certified Commodities”, open for public consultation until 1st October 2021. This 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.

 WEBINAR 

Accounting for the Impact of Certified Commodities
07 September 2021
 REGISTER 

 
3 - Finance beyond corporate countries: Market instruments to accelerate progress to global Net Zero emissions  
Enduring integrity and impact of carbon credits  EVENT 

Climate Week + Net Zero Festival event
Beyond Net Zero: Credible, Ambitious Climate Strategies
22 September 2021

CATALYSE SUSTAINABLE FINANCE  


Developing robust solutions for public and private sector investment and advocacy  

Applying the rigor of Gold Standard for the Global Goals, we have developed a new strategy to support impact investors, including governments, cities, private impact investors, to make credible claims that they are generating a net positive, measurable social or environmental impact alongside financial returns. 

 
1 - Portfolio Certification

The Subnational Climate Finance (SCF) initiative was approved by the Green Climate Fund to deliver blended finance to scale up mid-sized, climate-resilient, low-carbon infrastructure and nature-based solutions in developing countries.

With a consortium that includes Pegasus Investors, R20, and IUCN, Gold Standard is responsible for certifying both the fund and underlying projects. We have developed screening criteria which can be used by other funds to ensure projects that will not achieve sustainable development impacts are screened out at the prefeasibility review stage, as well as an NDC screening tool to ensure that projects are also aligned with national climate and sustainable development priorities.

We are currently working with technical experts to develop guidance on how to define assurance for sustainable development and climate impact claims at the level of both the portfolio and underlying projects. The first draft of our claims guidelines are expected by mid 2022. We are also developing an analysis of additionality at the level of a portfolio or fund level, expected by the end of this year.

2 - For investors: Design funds for highest impact and make credible claims on impact investment

Gold standard is working to develop frameworks and approaches that support project developers with modest means to drive action and help them meet the needs of investors. As part of this we have started work to advance frameworks to support adaptation/resilience activities and sustainable agriculture.

Gold Standard is collaborating with Resilient Cities Catalyst and leading experts to develop a new adaptation framework that can support greater resilience globally, in combination with Gold Standard for the Global Goals’ sustainable development impacts.
 

3 - Reducing investors’ reporting costs by aligning with emerging regulations and or sustainability labels

Investors are being asked to comply with multiple reporting frameworks for climate mitigation and adaptation, sustainable development, environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements and biodiversity protection.

Gold Standard is working to help minimise reporting costs by aligning our portfolio certification reporting process with the emerging EU Sustainable finance regulations – including the EU sustainable finance taxonomy and the sustainable finance disclosure regulation.

We have also started work to align Gold Standard for the Global Goals with the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) Nature Based Solutions standard, the Fast INFRA sustainable infrastructure label, and the Blue Dot Network Sustainable Infrastructure label. Our aim is to ensure that data for Gold Standard certification can also be used to report compliance with multiple best practice requirements, regulations, and labels.

4 - Supporting sustainable development transitions with assessment tools and innovative finance models

As the recent IPCC report has shown, achieving sustainable development requires far-reaching change across all sectors of society and the global economy. Gold Standard has begun to engage with key actors working on assessing how our work can help catalyse fundamental and cross cutting change for a just transition to a low-carbon, climate secure future. Gold Standard is working to support OECD governments and international impact investors and corporates better evaluate where projects and programs can catalyze just and sustainable development transitions and which business models can support such transition.

We support the work of the UNFCCC Global Innovation Hub to be launched at COP 26, participate as experts to the Climate Investment Fund work on transitions, advise the CDP Catalytic Emission Reduction Finance (CERF) project and work actively within the Cities Climate Finance Leadership alliance to support:

  1. Development of assessment tools that can identify which enabling environments are best suited to which climate and sustainable development solutions
  2. Innovative financial models that support the aggregation of small disparate activities
All these programmes and initiatives are aimed at accelerating progress toward the Net-Zero ambition of the Paris Climate Agreement while catalyzing impact toward the broader Sustainable Development Goals. We thank all our stakeholders for contributing to this mission in various ways and welcome further collaboration. Please feel free to reach out with any comments or ideas as we move forward on the road to COP26.  

If you would like to learn more about or participate in any of these initiatives, contact help@goldstandard.org.
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