Sceptre Group – The Gold Standard

The Gold Standard was created in 2003 by a group of non-governmental organisations including climate change veterans WWF, SouthSouthNorth, and Helio International. Today it is officially supported by 51 NGO’s worldwide.
The Gold Standard is a non-profit foundation under Swiss Law and is funded by public and private donors. It is governed by representatives of the NGO’s, governments, and the private sector.

Gold Standard was created to ensure that carbon markets work for a long term climate solution and stimulate local sustainable development. Gold Standard projects exclusively focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to reduce emissions at the source.

At Offset the Rest we decided it was essential we invest only in projects that have been independently validated and verified so we can ensure the credibility and integrity of our offset packages. Gold Standard provides this level of assurance as all Gold Standard projects require validation and verification by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) accredited Designated Operation Entities (DOEs).

The carbon credit marketplace is currently demonstrating a positive trend; heightened consumer awareness of the climate crisis. We want to be certain your interest and concern as a consumer is channelled effectively. We consider a transparent, independently audited, and meaningful project standard is therefore essential. And we believe Gold Standard currently provide the safest option in the voluntary marketplace.

Learn more about Gold Standard and the process of Gold Standard carbon credit certification below, or visit Gold Standard at http://www.cdmgoldstandard.org/.

How does the Gold Standard work?
What are Gold Standard carbon credits?
What factors differentiate a Gold Standard project from other renewable energy projects?
What is additionality and why does it matter?
Who verifies and validates Gold Standard projects?
Can you explain the Gold Standard certification process?

The Gold Standard works three ways: as a foundation, a project development method, and a credit label.

  1. The Gold Standard head office in Basel, Switzerland manages questions and applications about the Gold Standard accreditation process.
  2. Projects that use the Gold Standard method are considered by Offset the Rest to be the premium projects in the carbon market.  The project method requires the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that promote sustainable development for the local community.  All Gold Standard projects are rigorously tested for environmental quality by registered third parties.
  3. The Gold Standard carbon credit label is awarded after third party validation and verification of the offset project. Gold Standard credits are in high demand due to rising awareness about the need for transparency in the carbon market.

What are Gold Standard carbon credits?

Gold Standard carbon credits are created by Gold Standard projects that prevent the release of C02 into the atmosphere. One Gold Standard carbon credit is the equivalent of one tonne of C02 being retained in the ground through a Gold Standard accredited project.

Offset the Rest purchases Gold Standard carbon credits because the Gold Standard accreditation process exclusively rewards renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This promotes a shift from a fossil fuel dependent lifestyle by generating emission reductions and encouraging a fundamental change in behaviour.

What factors differentiate a Gold Standard project from other renewable energy projects?

Three important factors differentiate a Gold Standard project:

  1. Gold Standard projects exclusively employ renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
    The Gold Standard methodology was created to encourage the shift from a fossil fuel based economy to a renewable energy economy. Other projects, such as gas flaring or carbon sequestration, can be beneficial to the environment in the short term, but they don’t change our fundamental relationship with fossil fuel consumption in the long term.
  2. Gold Standard projects use the UNFCCC Additionality Tool, always.
    Normally emission reduction projects may choose if they want to use the UNFCCC’s Additionality tool, which provides a step by step method for demonstrating a project goes beyond ‘business as usual’ in terms of positive environmental impact. In the Gold Standard all projects use the Additionality tool. This is of significant importance; if a project is simply business as usual the credit is in effect meaningless.
  3. Gold Standard projects engage local stakeholders and ensure sustainable development.
    Gold Standard project developers invite local stakeholders to two consultation meetings; one in the initial stages of the project, and one just prior to validation. This is to ensure the project responds to local concerns regarding the environmental and social impacts, and the local economy.

What is additionality and why does it matter?

If a project is not additional, a company could receive credit for simply carrying out a project that would have occurred as part of the ‘business as usual’ scenario. The credits would essentially be worthless and the offsetter would have a false sense of helping the environment.

For example, a project developer decides to produce a wind farm to provide energy to a local industrial area, instead of relying on the commonly used coal fired power plant. This is certainly a good initiative, but the project is only additional if the project developer has other options. And in this case the project developer does, they could choose to go with the coal fired plant.

Therefore choosing to go with the wind farm is additional in that it goes beyond ‘business as usual’. If there were a law in place stating all new power plants must be wind generated, then the project is not additional, and the generation of revenue from carbon credits is not necessary.

Gold Standard uses a clear and simple way to establish additionality, the UNFCCC Additionality tool. This provides a step by step method for showing that a project goes beyond ‘business as usual’ in terms of positive environmental impact. Using the same tool on all projects provides consistency and sets a minimum standard for the carbon credits generated.

Who verifies and validates Gold Standard projects?

Designated Operational Entities (DOE’s) are firms that have been accredited by the United Nations as competent project evaluators. They validate that an offset project is designed in a credible way, and they control the projects themselves to make sure that the carbon emission reduction has actually been achieved.

The UNFCCC website provides a list of DOEs at cdm.unfccc.int/DOE/index.html

Can you explain the Gold Standard certification process?

  1. Pre-Assessment.
    The project design is evaluated to ensure it is a renewable energy, energy efficiency, or methane to energy project. The project is evaluated to ensure it can pass the UNFCCC Additionality tool.
  2. Initial Stakeholder Consultation.
    At the initial consultation the local community, local policy makers, and local NGO’s are invited to identify any potential issues that stakeholders could have with the project. The project developer provides a draft project development document, in non-technical language, and informs the meeting of any environmental and social impacts. After the initial stakeholder consultation, the project can list itself as a Gold Standard project in the project database.
  3. Gold Standard Project Development Document.
    This final document is developed based on the appropriate methodology from the CDM Executive Board.
  4. Main Consultation.
    The project development document and a non-technical project development document are made available in the local language, and the same group of participants as in the initial consultation are invited. A report is written including all oral and written comments, ensuring all stakeholder issues are appropriately addressed.
  5. Gold Standard Validation.
    The project is validated by a DOE (cdm.unfccc.int/DOE/index.html). Successful validation leads to registration.
  6. Gold Standard Registration.
    The Gold Standard Voluntary Emission Reduction (VER) is registered at the Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee.
  7. Gold Standard Verification.
    To maintain the projects registration and to earn Gold Standard certified credits, project proponents monitor emission reductions and sustainable development impacts after one year of operation. The monitoring reports are then checked again by a DOE to ensure all expected benefits are realised.
  8. Gold Standard Certification.
    Gold Standard credits will be issued directly by Gold Standard after certification.

http://www.offsettherest.com/the-gold-standard.html

For more information on Biofuel Investments, please visit Sceptre Group’s website at www.sceptreinternational.com.

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