Gold Standard for the Global Goals

Community Services Activity Requirements

 

Version 1.1 – Published March 2018

Table of Contents

GOLD STANDARD FOUNDATION VISION & MISSION

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

1.0  GENERAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

2.0  GOLD STANDARD FOR THE GLOBAL GOALS – APPLIED ELIGIBILITY PRINICPLES

ANNEX A – ADDITIONAL CRITERIA for SPECIFIC PROJECT TYPES

ANNEX B – POSITIVE LIST

GOLD STANDARD FOUNDATION VISION & MISSION

OUR VISION: Climate security and sustainable development for all.

OUR MISSION: To catalyse more ambitious climate action to achieve the Global Goals through robust standards and verified impacts.

Status of Document: Version 1.1 – Effective 1st March 2018
Language: English
Contact Details: help@goldstandard.org

www.goldstandard.org

Next planned update: 02nd September 2019

PREFACE

This Requirements document, hereafter ”the CS Activity Requirements” provides the pathway to certification within the Gold Standard for the Global Goals for Community Service project activities to certify the project design and/or issue GS Certified Impact Statements and Products.

The CS Activity Requirements document is designed to be read in conjunction with the

Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements. Through conformity to these two documents a CS Project may be issued with Gold Standard Certified Impact Statements or Products by following the relevant Gold Standard Approved Methodologies and Product Requirements.

The CS Activity Requirements is intended to provide Community Service Project Developers with the necessary guidelines and requirements for Gold Standard Certification.

INTRODUCTION

All Community Service Activities (CS – as defined in this document) for which Gold Standard certification is being sought shall fulfill the requirements as set out in this document and those referenced or associated.

In order to maintain the integrity of the standard, Gold Standard reserves the right to issue updates and changes, clarifications or corrections to its requirements. Typically, this will involve a notice period and guidance will be provided on how to apply the new rules and requirements.

1.0  GENERAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

1.1  Eligible Project Types & Scope

1.1.1  CS Projects shall lead to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation by providing or improving access to services/resources at household or community[1] or institution[2] level. Eligible services include electricity and energy, water and sanitation, waste management, housing, etc.

1.1.2  In relation to the above all Projects shall therefore conform to Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements (and associated documents).

1.2  General Eligibility Criteria

1.2.1  The General eligibility criteria below further clarify the application of Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements to CS projects. The Project Developer shall apply Gold Standard for the Global Goals Requirements for other general eligibility criteria.

1.2.2  Types of project – Pre-identified CS project types are noted below. Project Developers may submit new project types to Gold Standard for approval following the Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements Section 3.1.

(a) Renewable energy: Renewable energy types such as solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal electricity generation), tidal/wave, wind, hydropower, geothermal, waste to energy and renewable biomass that are connected to mini[3]-grid or off-grid solutions for targeted users and/or applications.

  • Renewable projects supplying electricity to a national or a regional grid shall refer to Gold Standard Renewable Energy Activity Requirements.
  • Additional eligibility criteria for specific projects (e.g. Hydropower, biomass resources, etc.), are prescribed in Annex A of this document.

(b)  End- Use Energy efficiency:  Project activities that reduce energy requirements as compared to baseline scenario without affecting the level and quality of services or products, where the end user of the products and services are clearly identified and when the physical intervention is required at the user end. For example, efficient cooking, heating, lighting, etc.

(c)  Waste management and handling:  All waste management activities that deliver energy or a usable product with sustainable development benefits such as composting, biogas etc.

(d)  Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): WASH activities contributing to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation benefits.

1.2.3  Project Area, Boundary and Scale: Project Area and Boundary shall be defined in line with the applicable Methodologies or Product Requirements.

The definition of scale is the same for all Projects, except Microscale which is defined as:

(a)  Project issuing emission reductions less than or equal to 10,000 tCO2eq

(b)  Project seeking any Gold Standard Certified Impact other than emission reductions and meeting one of the following criteria:

  • Installed capacity less than equal to 2 MWel /6 MWth that employs renewable energy as the primary technology
  • Energy savings at a scale of no more than 20 GWh per year where energy efficiency is the primary activity
  • Achieve GHG emissions reductions at a scale of no more than 20 kt CO2eq per year where project activity type is not included in above two criteria.

1.2.4 Legal ownership: Projects involving the distribution of a large number of devices for services such as heating, cooking, lighting, electricity generation, water treatment technology such as water filter, etc. shall provide a clear description of the ownership of the Products that are generated under Gold Standard Certification all along the investment chain. In line with FPIC requirement, the proofs that end-users are aware of and willing to give up their rights on Products shall be provided.

1.2.5  The transfer of Product ownership shall be discussed during local stakeholder consultations for regular cycle projects. For retroactive projects, the project participants shall collect stakeholder feedback through live consultations, telephone discussions, electronic mode, etc. as deemed necessary to reach out to the relevant stakeholders.

1.2.6  For the purpose of applying UNFCCC methodologies for quantification of GHG reductions, ‘small scale’ is defined as in CDM Modalities and Procedures for three projects types; Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Others.

1.2.7  Where Gold Standard methodologies allow for a Suppressed Demand baseline scenario, this shall be limited to Small and Microscale Projects. Where a Suppressed Demand baseline is applied, it is not possible to ‘stack’ Gold Standard Certified Impact Statements or Products as the definition of baseline may be contradictory.

2.0  GOLD STANDARD FOR THE GLOBAL GOALS – APPLIED ELIGIBILITY PRINICPLES

This section describes the additional requirements and/or deviations

Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements. These additional requirements shall be met for the CS project to achieve Gold Standard certification.

The Certification cycle for CS Projects is as detailed in Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements. Projects successfully completing Performance Certification shall be issued with a project-level statement as per the Gold Standard Claims Guidelines, along with a number of Certified Impact Statements corresponding to the applicable Product Requirements.

Impact Statements can be stacked for a single CS project, however, there can additional requirements based on Product Requirements and such requirements should be applied and will supersede the generic requirements stated in this document.

2.1  Principle 1 – Contribution to Climate Security & Sustainable Development

No specific changes, deviations or additional requirements are applicable

2.2  Principle 2 – Safeguarding Principles

No specific changes, deviations or additional requirements are applicable

2.3  Principle 3 – Stakeholder Inclusivity

Community Service projects shall have specific stakeholder consultation requirements for certain project types (including, but not limited to, hydropower and biomass resource based projects are given in Annex A of this document).

2.4  Principle 4 – Demonstration of Real Outcomes

2.4.1  Projects may seek Certification and receive Issuance of Gold Standard Certified Impact Statements or Products for a maximum of two Design Certification Renewal Cycles i.e., a total of 15 years issuance. Product Requirements with specific requirements for total issuance period shall supersede information in this document.

2.4.2  Design Certification Renewal in the case of CS projects is mandatory every 5 years as per the Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements. For the first renewal CS Projects are not required to reassess the Baseline Scenario.

2.4.3 An eligible, GS-Approved VVB shall validate or verify Gold Standard Community Service Projects as per Gold Standard Validation & Verification Body Requirements.

2.5  Principle 5 – Financial Additionality & Ongoing Financial Need

2.5.1  All projects seeking the issuance of Impact Statements and/or Products shall demonstrate Financial Additionality in accordance with the Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements and the following, specific requirements.

2.5.2  Projects that meet any of the following criteria are considered as deemed additional and therefore are not required to prove Financial Additionality at the time of Design Certification:

(a)  Positive list (Annex B)

(b)  Projects located in LDC, SIDS, LLDC[4]

(c)  Microscale projects

2.5.3  For stacked Gold Standard Certified Impacts the project developer shall demonstrate the impact of the additional revenue streams qualitatively (i.e. provide a definition of what further benefit the finance will bring)

2.5.4  All project types shall demonstrate Ongoing Financial Need as per Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles & Requirements.

ANNEX A – ADDITIONAL CRITERIA for SPECIFIC PROJECT TYPES

The following sections outlines the additional eligibility criteria for specific project types.

Hydropower Project Activity

1.   Hydropower project activities located in High Conservation Value (HCV)[5] areas shall NOT be eligible under The Gold Standard. Project Developers shall assess whether their activity takes place in such a High Conservation Value area, based on both consultations with the local authorities (e.g. protected areas such as national parks) AND existing international sources of information such as the World Database on protected plants (IUCN, UNEP)[6], the Ramsar list of wetlands[7], and the United Nations list of protected areas[8]. The outcome of the assessment shall be provided in the Stakeholder Consultation report (regular activities) or as part of the documentation submitted for Preliminary Review.

2.  Unless already addressed satisfactorily as part of an existing Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), the opinion of an independent, relevant expert(s) shall be provided as part of a report at a minimum covering all the following issues (the opinion may be that an issue is not relevant for the considered project, but evidence shall be provided in support of it):

(a)  Are there any competing uses of water resources at the project location, of what nature and how severe are they? Convincing evidence shall be provided that the hydropower project does not divert water from other current users or that these are in agreement with the shift of use. The expert opinion shall be provided on time for validation, and be reflected in the Monitoring Plan for verification along the certification period.

(b)  What minimal ecological flow shall be complied with at any point in time, accounting for the specificities of local ecosystems and for seasonality? What quality assurance and control procedures shall be put in place for an appropriate continuous monitoring over the crediting period? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for validation.

(c)  Is the groundwater level seriously affected by the hydropower project? What quality assurance and control procedures shall be put in place for an appropriate continuous monitoring over the crediting period? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for validation.

(d)  Is the design of the fish passages and screens (water intake structure) installed in line with internationally recognised guidance? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for validation. Are these measures indeed effective over the crediting period, and if not what shall be done to improve the situation? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for verification.

(e)  What sediment management plan shall be considered? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for validation. Is it indeed effective over the crediting period, and if not how shall it be improved? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for verification.

(f)  What mitigation measures shall be put in place to prevent soil erosion? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for validation. Are they effective and if not, what complementary action shall be taken? The expert opinion shall be provided in time for verification.

3.  Besides the issues listed above, the expert(s) is free to include any other issue that they identify as being relevant for the project. Project developers have the opportunity to provide their views on the identified issues and their relevance as part of the report to be delivered by the expert in the context of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between The Gold Standard, the Project Representatives and the independent expert. For regular cycle projects, the independent expert(s) shall be invited to the Stakeholder Consultation and will identify the list of issues for which an independent expert opinion will be needed on time for validation and/or verification.

4.  This list is approved by The Gold Standard as part of the review of the stakeholder consultation report. For retroactive projects, a Detailed Preliminary Review shall be conducted and the independent expert(s) shall be contracted on time to deliver as part of the documentation submitted for preliminary review the list of issues for which an independent expert opinion will be needed on time for validation and/or verification. This list is reviewed and potentially approved by The Gold Standard as part of the preliminary review.

5.  Project Developer shall plan for, and conduct a one-day training for the hydropower plant staff on the different issues identified by the independent expert. This training shall be included in the Monitoring & Reporting Plan.


Electricity and/or heat, and liquid biofuels from biomass resources or biomass conversion.

Biomass resources:

1.  Activities making use of non-renewable biomass resources shall NOT be eligible for Gold Standard registration. Project Developers shall therefore provide convincing evidence that the project activities make use of renewable biomass resources[9]. These criteria shall be monitored along the crediting period and therefore be included in the Sustainability Monitoring & Reporting Plan.

2.  Activities expected to make use of biomass resources already in use shall NOT be eligible for Gold Standard Design Certification unless convincing evidence is provided showing that the current users are in agreement with the envisioned shift of use (potential leakage associated to such a shift shall be taken into account). In the absence of such an agreement, Project Developers shall demonstrate that their project makes use of surplus biomass for each type of biomass resources used[10]. They shall do so once, ex-ante on time for validation.

3.  Project Developers shall demonstrate that their activity will only make use of degraded[11] land and shall include this criterion in the Sustainability Monitoring & Reporting Plan. Two exceptions may be considered: convincing evidence is provided showing that the envisioned energy crop is part of a traditional rotational cropping, OR an increase of the productivity is obtained, locally and to the benefit of the current users, through measures implemented in the context of the activity to at a minimum compensate for the part of the land newly allocated to growing the energy crop. Conformity with these criteria above shall be monitored over the crediting period and thus be part of the Sustainability Monitoring & Reporting Plan.

4.  Activities making use of GMOs shall declare so in a transparent way. Local stakeholder’s opinion on GMOs shall prevail and appropriate mitigation measures shall be put in place to address their concerns, if any, in a satisfactory way.

Biomass conversion:

1. Avoidance of methane from biomass decay shall be eligible as long as biomass is used as a substitution for non-renewable fuels in project activities delivering energy services or for the production of usable product with sustainable development benefits (e.g. composting).

2.  The use of non-renewable fuel in biomass heat and/or electricity generation plants is authorised as long as the renewable fuel share reaches 50%[12] after the first 3 years[13] of operation for retrofit projects, and represents 80%4 from the outset for Greenfield projects.

Biogas (landfill gas and biogas from agro-processing, wastewater and other residues)

1. Methane recovery activities shall be eligible for emission reductions from both methane avoidance (including from the flared biogas fraction) and non-renewable fuel substitution as long as evidence is provided on time for validation to demonstrate that the system was designed in a way to at least make use of some of the biogas recovered for the delivery of energy services (e.g. electricity, heat).

Fossil-fired cogeneration

1.  Fossil-fired co-generation activities shall be eligible under Gold Standard. However, these activities can only claim emission reductions from end-use energy efficiency improvements, i.e. related to on-site energy consumption. Emission reductions related to the export of heat or electricity generated from the waste heat recovered shall NOT be eligible. This requirement applies on an annual basis and the electricity generation profile does not have to necessarily match the on-site demand profile on an instantaneous basis.

Waste incineration and gasification

1.  Co-firing of non-renewable and renewable waste within incineration or gasification facilities shall NOT be eligible under Gold Standard.

Waste handling and disposal

1.  Activities planning to make use of waste materials that are already in use in the pre-project situation shall NOT be eligible unless convincing evidence is provided to show that the current users are in agreement with the shift of use resulting from the project. In the absence of such an agreement, the project participants shall demonstrate that the activity makes use of surplus waste materials[14] and shall include this analysis in the Sustainability Monitoring Plan. They shall do so once, ex-ante on time for validation

Relighting

1.  Relighting activities involving the substitution of incandescent light bulbs by CFLs shall provide a detailed description of the future collection and disposal or recycling plan of the CFLs, with a particular attention to mercury. The effectiveness of the plan shall be part of the Sustainability Monitoring Plan. Recycling is not mandatory in the absence of existing recycling infrastructure but disposal shall be addressed satisfactorily.

End-use fossil fuel switching

1. Activities involving fossil fuel switching shall be eligible under Gold Standard. However, these activities can only claim emission reductions related to end-use energy efficiency improvements (e.g. energy recovery through condensation of water in the fumes of natural gas fired boilers). The emission reductions related to the difference in carbon content between a non-renewable fuel and a less carbon intensive non-renewable fuel used for substitution shall NOT be eligible.

ANNEX B – POSITIVE LIST

The positive list of CS projects consists of the following Project types:

1.  The following mini-grid connected or off-grid renewable electricity generation technologies:

  • Solar technologies (photovoltaic and solar thermal electricity generation);
  • Off-shore wind technologies;
  • Marine technologies (wave, tidal)
  • Building-integrated wind turbines or household rooftop wind turbines of a size up to 100 kW;

2.  The following mini-grid connected or off-grid electricity generation technologies where the individual units do not exceed the thresholds indicated in parentheses with the aggregate project installed capacity not exceeding the 15 MW threshold:

  • Micro/pico-hydro (with power plant size up to 100 kW);
  • Micro/pico-wind turbine (up to 100 kW);
  • PV-wind hybrid (up to 100 kW);
  • Geothermal (up to 200 kW);
  • Biomass gasification/biogas (up to 100 kW);

3.  Project activities solely composed of isolated units where the users of the technology/measure are households or communities or institutions and where each unit results in <= 600 MWh of energy savings per year or <=600 tonnes of emission reductions per year.

4.  Rural electrification[15] project activities using renewable energy sources in countries with rural electrification rates less than 50%; the most recent available data on the electrification rates shall be used to demonstrate compliance with the 50 percent threshold. In no case shall data be used if older than three years from the date of commencement of validation of the project activity.

5.  Project activities that involve technologies[16] and/or practices providing thermal energy to the user that have less than 20% adoption rate among the target users. The most recent available data on adoption rates shall be used to demonstrate compliance with the 20 per cent threshold in the target geographical area[17]. In no case shall data be used if older than three years from the date of commencement of validation of the project activity.

The positive list of technologies shall be reassessed every five years or as per GS discretion.

Endnotes

[1] Community refers to a group of people who live in the same area (such as a village, city, town, or neighbourhood) and share the services/resources. It shall be treated as guiding principle; the project proponent should refer to applicable rules, regulations, guidelines and official notifications of the host country in this regard.

Community may include variety of end-users for example households, commercial facilities such as shops, public services, residential and commercial buildings, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), etc.  Projects that do not include activities providing services or access to resources for identified user categories as listed here, for example industrial wastewater treatment projects, are not eligible for Gold Standard certification under CS Requirements.

[2] An establishment with a specific purpose that serves individuals or group of individuals within its premises such as a hospital, school, etc.

[3] A mini-grid is defined as small-scale power system with a total capacity not exceeding 15 MW (i.e. the sum of installed capacities of all generators connected to the mini-grid is equal to or less than 15 MW) which is not connected to a national or a regional grid.

[4] List as per UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (Annex 1, 2 and 3).

[5] Please refer to High Conservation Value Resource Network for definition of High Conservation Value Area.

[6] www.protectedplanet.net

[7] www.ramsar.org/pdf/sitelist.pdf

[8] http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/UNLNP-2003.pdf

[9] Refer to EB 23, Annex 18 “Definition of Renewable Biomass or its update http://cdm.unfccc.int/EB/023/eb23_repan18.pdf

[10] In accordance with the approach proposed in paragraph 18 of the Attachment C to Appendix B: General Guidance on Leakage in biomass projects (Attachment C to Appendix B of 4/CMP.1 Annex II) http://cdm.unfccc.int/Reference/Guidclarif/ssc/index_guid.html

[11] http://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/ARmethodologies/tools/ar-am-tool-13-v1.pdf

[12] Refers to the percentage of the total fuel consumed on an annual energy basis.

[13] The reference date for the 3-year period is the start date of crediting period.

[14] In accordance with the approach proposed in paragraph 18 of the Attachment C to Appendix B: General Guidance on Leakage in biomass projects (Attachment C to Appendix B of 4/CMP.1 Annex II) http://cdm.unfccc.int/Reference/Guidclarif/ssc/index_guid.html

[15] Rural electrification for the purpose of this document is defined as a project activity for supplying renewable electricity to facilities and energy consumers that do not have access to any electricity distribution system/network such as a national grid or regional grid. Such electricity end-use facilities may include but are not limited to households, public buildings, and/or small, medium and micro enterprises. Electricity uses may include but are not limited to interior lighting, street lighting, refrigeration, or agricultural water pumps.

[16] Examples of these technologies include but not limited to the introduction of improved biomass or fossil fuel cookstoves, ovens, dryers, space and water heaters (solar and otherwise), heat retention cookers, solar cookers, biodigesters, safe water supply and treatment technologies that displace the boiling of water, thermal insulation in cold climates, etc.

[17] Applicable geographical area – should be the entire host country. If the project participants opt to limit the applicable geographical area to a specific geographical area (such as province, region, etc.) within the host country, then they shall provide justification on the essential distinction between the identified specific geographical area and rest of the host country.