Gold Standard: Why do we carbon offset with them?

Published by Anthony Collias on

If you’re one of our members, or you’ve simply been browsing our website, you’ve probably seen that we carbon offset with Gold Standard. So you may be wondering what Gold Standard is and why we carbon offset with them…

Gold standard carbon offsetting

The Gold Standard is a standard and certification for non-governmental carbon emission reduction projects. 

All of the carbon offset projects we work with are Gold Standard certified. This is a guarantee that the carbon credits purchased are real and verifiable. And it also means that the projects make measurable contributions to sustainable development. 

Gold Standard History

The Gold Standard was developed in 2003 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in consultation with an independent Standards Advisory Board. This included NGOs, scientists, project developers and government representatives. 

WWF set up gold standard in 2003

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it was born out of a need to be able to certify and validate carbon offsetting projects. So this ensures that they are actually reducing carbon emissions in the way they claim. 

Clean Development Mechanism explained

Carbon offsetting projects are possible because of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) defined in the Kyoto Protocol.

Under the CDM, emissions reduction projects can sell CERs, or Certified Emission Reduction units. We measure these in tonnes of CO2 emissions. 

The aims of this are: 

  1. To help developing countries achieve sustainable development. A crucial part of this is preventing climate change.
  2. To allow developed countries to meet their emission limitation and reduction targets. This means purchasing carbon offsets from projects in developing countries. 

The Gold Standard Carbon Offset Selection Process

The Gold Standard judges every carbon offset project according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are 17 goals designed to be “a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The UN General Assembly set these in 2015. They include targets such as:

  • No Poverty (1)
  • Gender Equality (5)
  • Climate Action (13). 

The aim is to achieve them all by 2030 across the globe.

UN sustainable development goals with gold standard

To be eligible for Gold Standard certification, a project must meet at least 3 of these SDG. And a project must always meet 13. Climate Action. Gold Standard prioritises projects that meet several of these goals. So this means that they are contributing meaningfully to sustainable growth in developing countries. 

Understanding Gold Standard carbon offset criteria

The criteria for projects wishing to become Gold Standard certified are:

  • Must be a renewable energy supply or end use energy efficiency, afforestation/reforestation or agriculture project type. This means that the project is either creating renewable energy, improving energy efficiency for communities, planting trees, or improving farming. 
  • Reducing greenhouse gases. The project must be able to show that it is reducing Carbon Dioxide, Methane, or Nitrous Oxide. These are the three main greenhouse gases.
  • Demonstrate additionality. So ‘Additionality’ means that the project can prove the work they are doing reducing carbon emissions would not have happened anyway. This uses the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Large Scale Additionality Tool
  • Make a net-positive contribution to the economic, environmental and social welfare of the local population. A project must meet at least three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. So this means that it is having a positive impact on the local population.

We work with Gold Standard carbon offset certified projects because of these high standards. Check out the projects we have supported to date here

Gold Standard’s Projects

To ensure total transparency around their projects, Gold Standard has a public Impact Registry. Here you can see all the projects they have certified to date, who has purchased carbon credits, and more details about the project. 

Try for example searching ‘Treepoints’ in Credits. You will see records of all the projects Treepoints has supported to date.

Treepoints aims for the same levels of transparency as Gold Standard, which is why we have our own Public Impact Ledger. Here you can see all the projects that we support and our Gold Standard carbon offset certificates.  

Offset your carbon footprint with Treepoints

If all of this sounds a bit complicated to you, fear not! We created Treepoints to give individuals an easy way to make a difference in the fight against climate change.

offsetting your carbon footprint with gold standard

This is why we select Gold Standard carbon offset verified projects to support on behalf of our members. We figured this is the best way for you to be sure that your money is supporting the best carbon reduction projects around the world. Think of it as a guarantee that your money is doing good for the environment.

If you are interested in learning more about our membership plans, check it out on our main website. 


1 Comment

Does carbon offsetting actually work? - The Treepoints Blog · December 9, 2020 at 1:58 pm

[…] qualify for Gold Standard certification, carbon offset schemes have to contribute to at least three of the UN Sustainable […]

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