Gold Standard Annual Conference
Last week, I attended The Gold Standard Foundation’s annual conference. The Gold Standard Foundation was established by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2003, in order to develop a standard to certify carbon emission reductions with sustainable development outcomes. Over the past 10 years The Gold Standard Foundation has pioneered the way climate change is addressed, enabling individuals, corporations and governments to channel billions of Euros into 1,000 low carbon development projects worldwide.
Many of the 130 participants at the Zurich conference were Alliance partners as carbon finance plays an important role in funding clean cooking projects, and because of the predominance of the Gold Standard certification for clean cooking carbon projects. According to the Alliance’s 2012 Results Report, 36% of the 16.9 million offsets contracted were certified by The Gold Standard.
This year’s conference theme was The Future of Results-Based Finance – measuring environmental and social impacts beyond carbon. In his opening remarks, Adrian Rimmer, CEO of The Gold Standard Foundation, emphasized the importance of clean cooking solutions, “Cookstoves projects are very important to The Gold Standard and, as they deliver multiple health, community and livelihood benefits beyond carbon, demonstrate why our focus on broader results-based finance is important.”
Although the sale of carbon offsets provides a valuable revenue stream, the uncertainty of carbon markets is a challenge for many clean cooking carbon projects. During the conference, the Alliance convened a meeting of partners to discuss how best to work together to increase demand for clean cooking carbon credits. This work is an important part of the Alliance’s strategy to unlock carbon finance to scale up the adoption of clean cooking solutions.
The conference also marked the tenth anniversary of The Gold Standard Foundation. In its first decade, The Gold Standard has built a pipeline of 1,000 low carbon development projects and issued almost 30-million carbon credits. Each credit represents one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced and provides further environmental and development benefits. As it looks to the next decade, The Gold Standard is working towards broader ‘results based finance’ frameworks to measure benefits beyond carbon, such as water, health and livelihood outcomes.