Beyond Neutral

Greenhouse Solutions


Gold Standard and Voluntary Carbon Standard Offsets

Gold Standard

The Gold Standard is the most widely recognised international standard and considered the highest quality standard and applies to Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which are created under Kyoto Protocol.

The Gold Standard builds on the framework used for CDM and Joint Implementation (JI) projects by including additional elements such as:

  • the restriction of projects to energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • the application of a strict additionality test;
  • ensuring the project contributes to sustainable development through the inclusion of social and environmental indicators; and
  • ensuring broad stakeholder engagement.

The Gold Standard is targeted at the mandatory market but can be found on the voluntary market.

Gold Standard for Voluntary Emission Reductions

The Gold Standard for Voluntary Emission Reductions (Gold Standard VER) was produced specifically for the voluntary market.

It is only available for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries and for those projects that fall outside the Kyoto Protocol’s CDM system. It utilises the same basic framework as the Gold Standard, but in a simplified way, so that it can be applied to smaller projects not normally applying for CDM registration.

Voluntary Carbon Standard

The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) provides Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) from independently verified projects that have quantifiable, additional and permanent emission reductions.

The VCS provides project developers with the criteria for the creation, verification and registration of VCUs and a protocol for offset verifiers. The VCS only allows certification of emission reductions that have already taken place, and all certified projects are registered on the official VCS website. VCUs must also be registered with an approved VCU Registry.

Unlike several other Standards, the VCS includes Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) projects.