Clarification on Eligibility of Project Involving GMOs (RC 2020 PR – SPR V1.2)  


Clarification on Eligibility of Project Involving GMOs (RC 2020 PR – SPR V1.2)

Publication date: 02/04/2020

1.            Background

Gold Standard for Global Goals, Safeguarding Principle & Requirements (Version 1.2) (Principle 9.3 – Genetic Resources, page 21) requires that


“..paragraph 3.9.6 – Projects involving the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)[1] are not eligible for Gold Standard Project Design Certification.


paragraph 3.9.7 – An assessment for the risk of GMO contamination from outside the Project area and reasonable and appropriate counter measures should be taken.”


Gold Standard projects shall not introduce GMO crops, trees, and/or livestock; however, the continuation of use of GMOs already in place in the baseline is allowed. This is further clarified below.


2.            Rule Clarification

The use of GMOs as the project activity is not eligible for Gold Standard certification. It is recognised, however, that projects may take place in facilities or farms that include GMOs in their processes and production. Project activities that themselves are not based on the introduction of GMOs but take place in such facilities are eligible for Certification under Gold Standard for the Global Goals. The projects applying Land-use & Forests Activity Requirements:

  • Agriculture projects involving GMO crops, trees and/or livestock are eligible provided the project activity itself does not:
    • Involve the introduction of GMO as a means to mitigate climate change and/or to maintain or increase yields in the project scenario or
    • Relies on the introduction of GMO product(s) to realise its SDG impacts
  • Forestry projects (for example Afforestation/Reforestation) involving GMO planting are not eligible for Certification under Gold Standard for the Global Goals.


It is also clarified that projects cannot use products that allow or require the introduction of GMOs (e.g. specific pesticides). If a product (herbicide/pesticide) was being used in the baseline, the continuation of use of these products in the project activity shall be assessed following requirements outlined in Safeguarding Principle & Requirements, Principle 9.6 – Pesticides & Fertilisers. It is noted that a safeguarding approach shall be applied to any such application, including review by independent experts.


Project developers seeking exceptions should contact Gold Standard for a case-by-case assessment of their proposed project. Projects with the potential to introduce highly innovative approaches, with significant potential for GHG emissions reductions/sequestration and/or other SDG benefits may be considered, at Gold Standard’s discretion.


3.            Related document:

Safeguarding Principle & Requirements 23.10.2019 1.2



[1] An organism in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. See ‘FSC Interpretation on GMO – FSC-POL-30-602’:

Related Documents:

Safeguarding Principles & Requirements 23.10.2019 1.2