The Gold Standard (GS) is an organization that certifies and issues voluntary carbon credits. It was developed by the Gold Standard Foundation and offers two types of carbon credits: GS Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) and GS Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).
Carbon credits are a way for organizations and individuals to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. When a carbon credit is purchased, it represents a reduction or removal of one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere. These credits can be traded and used by companies to meet their environmental targets or by individuals looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
The GS VERs are issued for projects that have been independently verified to meet the Gold Standard’s rigorous criteria. These projects must not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also deliver additional benefits to the local community, such as sustainable development, poverty reduction, and biodiversity conservation. The credits can be generated by various types of projects, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, and land-use. GS VERs provide confidence to the buyers that their investment is contributing to sustainable development while reducing emissions.
The GS CERs, on the other hand, are issued for projects that comply with the standards of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These projects are often located in developing countries and contribute to reducing emissions in sectors that are not covered by the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM is a similar mechanism that awards Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), but it has stricter requirements and is limited to certain sectors and countries.
The Gold Standard Foundation monitors and audits the projects to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria set for their respective carbon credits. This includes verifying that the emissions reductions are accurate, the projects are meeting their sustainability objectives, and the benefits are being delivered to the local communities. The Foundation also facilitates the trading and retirement of the carbon credits, ensuring transparency and integrity in the market.
Overall, the Gold Standard provides a robust and trusted certification framework for carbon credits. By choosing GS VERs or CERs, buyers can be confident that their investments are contributing to sustainable development and making a positive impact on the fight against climate change.