FAQs – Glossary – Site tutorial

Frequently asked questions

You can find frequently asked questions regarding our standard and certification process in the SustainCERT helpdesk. Our partner, SustainCERT is the official certification provider for Gold Standard for the Global Goals. If you need any further assistance, please contact help@sustain-cert.com


MayIndicates an option
ShallIndicates a Requirement
ShouldIndicates a recommendation
Affected StakeholderAny stakeholder affected physically, socially or economically by the implementation of the Project. Note that affected stakeholders may be outside the Project Area and in some cases be a distance beyond the Project Boundary.
Annual ReportAn annual update submitted by the Project Developer. Report covers updates and actions taken on the Project during a given year.
American National Standards Institutewww.ansica.orgANSI
AssessmentThe combined process of audit, review and decision on a conformity within the requirements of a standard (part of Validation or Verification e.g. a Validation Assessment).
AssuranceDemonstrable evidence that specified requirements related to an activity are fulfilled.
AuditSystematic, documented process for obtaining records, statements of facts or other relevant information and assessing them objectively to determine the extent to which specified requirements are fulfilled.
AuditorPerson who carries out the audit
Audit TeamOne or more auditors conducting an assessment. An audit team may consist of only one person; in such cases, the person is expected to have all team competences and team leader competences.
Averted Disability Adjusted Life YearA measure of mortality and morbidity used to demonstrate project impact on SDG 3.  The quantification and certification of ADALYs is undertaken via the use of a GS-Methodology.ADALY
Baseline ScenarioThe Baseline Scenario is defined as the reasonable, conservative scenario that would exist in the absence of the project. While setting the Baseline Scenario the Project Developer shall take into account the relevant applicable legislation and how effectively these are enforced.
CDM Programme ActivityA CDM project activity under a programme of activities. A CPA is a single, or a set of interrelated measure(s), to reduce GHG emissions or result in net anthropogenic greenhouse gas removals by sinks, applied within a designated area defined in the baseline methodology.  CPA
CDM Programme of Activity Design DocumentPDD for a CDM PoACPA-DD
Community Service ActivityA Project type that entails provision of services to a community.  The Requirements for CSA are included in the Gold Standard Community Services Activity RequirementsCSA
CompetenceAbility to apply knowledge and skills in Gold Standard audit with a view to achieving intended results.
ComplaintsFormal (written) and/or informal (verbal) expressions of dissatisfaction regarding the performance of an assurance provider in relation to its Gold Standard function(s), from any source, such as the client, the general public or its representatives, government bodies, NGOs, etc.
Corrective Action RequestWith a CAR, the GS-VVB or The Gold Standard requests appropriate action be taken to show conformity with a requirement. In order to achieve a successful certification, all CARs shall be formally closed.CAR
(Gold Standard) Certified Emissions ReductionCertified Emissions Reduction: a carbon credit, issued by another third party standard (typically UNFCCC CDM) for use in the compliance carbon markets.  A Gold Standard labelled CER is known as a GS-CERCER / GS-CER
CertificationThe written assurance confirmation/communication that fulfilment of specified requirements has been demonstrated (Adapted from ISO 17000).
Clean Development MechanismStandard for the issues of CERs, operated by the UNFCCC.CDM
ConformityConformity is defined as the fulfillment of a requirement.
Conformity CriteriaA checklist and associated guidance for GS-VVBs for the Validation or Verification against Gold Standard for the Global Goals.
Coordinating and Managing EntitiyEntity that communicates with the Gold Standard on all matters related to a PoA and associated activities, as nominated in the cover letters to be submitted for each one of the activities.  CME
Customary RightsCustomary rights are those that result from a long series of habitual or customary actions, constantly repeated, which have, by such repetition and by uninterrupted acquiescence, acquired the force of a law within a geographical or sociological unit.
Designated National AuthorityA designated national authority (DNA) is the organization granted responsibility by a Party to authorise and approve participation in CDM projects  DNA
Design CertificationProject Design Certification is a key milestone in the Project Cycle. It marks the point a Project has undertaken Validation, a VVB has submitted a positive opinion and the Gold Standard Project Design Review is complete. Only Certified Project Design status Projects may proceed to Verification/Performance Certification (see also Retro-active Registration/merging Project Design Certification and Performance Certification).
Designated Operational EntitiyA type of VVB that is eligible to apply for GS-VVB status.  DOE is the term used by the UNFCCC for VVBs that are accredited to Validate and Verify CDM Projects.DOE
DisputesDisagreement between an assurance provider and the client regarding the assurance provider’s recommendation and/or opinions/decisions made at various stages during the audit.–  
Eligibility PrinciplesThe overarching rationale and purpose for the Requirements as related to achieving the Gold Standard Vision and Mission
Environmental and Social Impact AssessmentESIA
EquivalentAggregated or equivalent units of measurementeq
European UnionThe European UnionEU
CDM Executive BoardExecutive Board of the Clean Development MechanismEB
Expert StakeholderExpert Stakeholders are individuals that hold specific expertise or knowledge about the organization, process, or activity being audited and/or about the context and practices to which the project is applied. For the purposes of this Standard a Stakeholder is considered an expert if they hold over 10 years of relevant, contextually specific professional, academic or practical experience in a given topic. Higher academic qualifications are preferred but can be justified as not required if necessary.
Forward Action RequestForward Action Request: A VVB or The Gold Standard Secretariat requests appropriate action be taken in the project to become fully compliant with a requirement. FARs are not raised for issues that are linked to the eligibility of a project under the WBC scheme, such as a financial needs assessment. A FAR will be issued where the impact of the infraction is: not material within the current certification, AND unusual or non-systematic, AND correctable in a specific timeframe of less than 1 year. FARs can be closed by The Gold Standard Secretariat or a GS-VVB.FAR
Giga-tonneUnit of measurement (e.g. 1 Gt)Gt
Genetically Modified Organism(Source: FSC) 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’: https://ic.fsc.org/policies.338.htm  GMO
Greenhouse GasA gas that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.  GHG
Gold Standard Accreditation ApprovalFormal recognition an VVB’s institutional capacity and competence to be eligible to carry out the GS audit in accordance with the standard requirements.
Gold Standard Approved MethodologyThe specific Activity/Outcome requirements and procedures used to calculate, monitor and report on a given Outcome that may lead to the issuance of Gold Standard Certified SDG Impact Statements or Products.GS-Methodology
Gold Standard Approved SDG ToolAn approved Tool that can be used to demonstrate one or more positive SDG Impacts. They cannot be used for the Issuance of GS Certified SDG Impact Statements or Products.GS-SDG Tool
Gold Standard Certified ProductsProducts are a type of Gold Standard Certified SDG Impact that are issued by Gold Standard upon the successful Performance Certification under a given GS Approved Methodology and Product Requirements. Examples include GS VERs and CER Labels.
Gold Standard Certified ProjectA Project that has successfully completed Design Certification and completed at least one Performance Certification successfully.
Gold Standard Certified SDG Impact StatementA Certified Statement issued by Gold Standard upon the successful certification under a given GS Approved Methodology. These may come in a number of forms.   Gold Standard recognises that typically the monitoring parameters included in GS-Approved Methodologies relate to Outcomes rather than Impacts. The use of the term Impact Statement reflects that these Outcomes may be used as a way of communicating the progress towards the impact sought and is typical of impact investment approaches.
Gold Standard Certified SDG ImpactsGold Standard Certified SDG Impacts are achieved by following GS-Approved Methodologies and successfully undergoing Performance Certification. They may be in the form of Gold Standard Certified Products or SDG Impact Statements, issued upon successful completion of Performance Certification.
Gold Standard FoundationThe owner and operator of Gold Standard for the Global Goals. Gold Standard is a Swiss-based non-profit whose Vision focuses on Climate Security and Sustainable Development for all. www.goldstandard.orgGS
Gold Standard LabelA Gold Standard Label is a type of Product that is Issued to a Project Developer but relates to the application of Gold Standard certification to a product issued by a third party. For example the application of Gold Standard Label to CERs.
Gold Standard NGO SupportersGold Standard was founded by a group of NGOs and continues to represent the interests of civil society in all our work. NGO Supporters can take an active role in the project development process, providing constructive feedback and offering their expertise. This lends further credibility to our local sustainable development initiatives. Every NGO that supports Gold Standard helps strengthen the collective statement that carbon markets should foster transparency, environmental rigor and sustainable development. http://www.goldstandard.org/our-story/who-we-are
Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)GS TAC is responsible for ensuring the rigor and integrity in all our work, proven existing programs and innovative new initiatives. The TAC is an independent body composed of market specialists that provide expertise, guidance and decisions.GS-TAC
Gold Standard Verified Emissions ReductionA Gold Standard issued Verified Emissions Reduction: a single unit (one tonne) of CO2 equivalent reduction captured as a carbon credit for use as a commodity within the voluntary carbon marketGS-VER
Gold Standard Validation & Verification BodyA Gold Standard approved audit organisation appointed by and on behalf of the Project Developer to carry out an audit and assessment in order to provide a Validation or Verification Report to Gold Standard in order to ultimately support Certification or rejection.GS-VVB
Governance and Management SystemSystem of governance and management applied by a project (see Gold Standard for Sustainable Urban Development)GMS
Global Protocol for Communitieshttp://www.iclei.org/activities/agendas/low-carbon-city/gpc.htmlGPC
High Conservation ValueA biological, ecological, social or cultural value of outstanding significance or critical importance.  HCV
Implementation DateThe date at which the main activities envisaged by the Project begin operation.  For example:  the first users begin using distributed technology, the commencement of energy generation by an installed device, the planting of trees, the commencement of altered working practices.  Note that test or pilot activities do not constitute Implementation.
Interested StakeholderAny stakeholder who is interested (i.e. has expressed an interest) in the Project or its outcomes. They do not to be local or affected.
ISEALInternational Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling (www.isealalliance.org )ISEAL
ISOInternational Standards Organisation (www.iso.org )ISO
IssuanceThe issue by Gold Standard of a Gold Standard Certified Impact Statement or Product (such as a GS VER). These are issued by Gold Standard following the successful completion of Performance Certification.
International Union for the Conservation of Naturewww.iucn.orgIUCN
Justification InformationAlong with an Output Indicator the information that must be provided to support the SDG Contributions claimed by a project. The information must credibly demonstrate how the Output Indicator can be used to show a positive influence on one or more SDG Indicators.
Key Project InformationA template that captures high level project details in the early stages of development. The Key Project Information is used to support Eligibility Check.KPI
Kilo-wattUnit of measurementkW
KnowledgeThe theoretical and/or practical understanding of a subject.–  
Least Developed CountryThe Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is a list of the countries that, according to the United Nations, exhibit the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development, with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world.LDC
Landlocked Least Developed CountryLLDC
Low Emission Development Strategieshttp://ledsgp.org/?loclang=en_gbLEDs
Listed‘Listed’ is a Certification status that an activity may achieve through successful completion of the Preliminary Review.
Local StakeholderStakeholders that reside or work within or in close proximity to the Project Area.
Millennium Development GoalsThe eight International Development goals adopted by the United Nations, 2000. The Millennium Development Goals conclude as of 2015 and are replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals.MDGs
Monitoring & Reporting PlanAn initial plan and subsequent ongoing monitoring that is based on the systematic collection of data on specified indicators to provide indications of the extent to which outcomes are being achieved.
Monitoring PeriodThe period of time for which a Monitoring Report covers and for which Verification and ultimately Certification is sought.
Monitoring ReportA report submitted by the Project Developer in support of Verification. The Monitoring Report includes reports against the parameters set in the Monitoring Plan plus any re-assessment, change or stakeholder feedback received during the Monitoring Period.
Monitoring, Reporting & VerificationSystem of collecting information, reporting and verifying that underpins Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principle 4 (Demonstration of Real Outcomes)MRV
Mega-Watt (Electrical)Unit of measurementMWel
Mega-Watt (Thermal)Unit of measurementMWth
Mega-Watt HourUnit of measurementMWh
National Development Strategyhttp://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policynotes.htmlNDS
Nationally Appropriate Mitigation ActionNAMAs refer to any action that reduces emissions in developing countries and is prepared under the umbrella of a national governmental initiative. They can be policies directed at transformational change within an economic sector, or actions across sectors for a broader national focus. NAMAs are supported and enabled by technology, financing, and capacity-building and are aimed at achieving a reduction in emissions relative to ‘business as usual’ emissions in 2020.  http://www4.unfccc.int/sites/nama/SitePages/Home.aspx  NAMA
Nationally Determined ContributionAccording to Article 4 paragraph 2 of the Paris Agreement, each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve. Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.NDC
Non-ConformityNon-conformity is a nonfulfillment, lapse in fulfilment or failure to meet a Requirement.NC
ObservationWith an OBS, the VVB or The Gold Standard Secretariat provides an observation on possible future non-compliance with a requirement. Unlike CARs and FARs, observations are suggestions or warnings and do not need necessarily to be formally corrected. They are given special attention during the next certification.OBS
Ongoing Financial NeedTool to demonstrate the ongoing need for financial support resulting from Gold Standard Certification and Issued Claims and Products. The approach is applied at 5 year Registration Renewal.OFN
Online PlatformGold Standard aspires to build an online user interface to support the use of GS4GG. The written version of the standard will underpin the online platform. During development and road-testing it is likely that an offline version will be used with the online platform commencing later.
Output IndicatorAn indicator selected by the Project Developer, representing the tangible result of the Project. The indicator, along with the Justification Information and Quality Indicator and any Expert Stakeholder opinion is used to demonstrate SDG Contribution.
Paris AgreementThe Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris), or Paris climate accord and Paris climate agreement, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
Performance ReviewA review conducted by Gold Standard, TAC and NGO Supporters on the Monitoring Report and Verification Opinion. The result of the Review may lead to Certification, CARs/FARs/OBs being raised or rejection.
Planned Emissions ReductionA Planned Emission Reduction represents the expected (i.e., future) sequestration of 1 tonne of CO2e but does not represent an actual sequestration and accordingly shall not be used for carbon neutral claims until its conversion to a Verified Emission Reduction takes place.PER
Preliminary ReviewReview conducted once at the outset (i.e. at an early stage of project design and before Listing on the GS Registry) of a Project. Part of the Activity Cycle where Gold Standard assesses the Project Information in order to check whether an activity and approach is likely to be eligible for Gold Standard Certification. This procedure, if successful leads to Listed status. The requirements for the Project Design Documentation to be submitted at this stage are detailed in the latest version of GS4GG Principles & Requirements
Preventative ActionAction to prevent the occurrence of non-conformity(ies) or improve the effectiveness of its function.
Product RequirementsThe rules and requirements applicable to a particular Gold Standard Product, for example VERs.
Programme of ActivitiesA programme is a linked series of Projects submitted to Gold Standard. A set of related activities with a common objective submitted to Gold Standard.PoA/ CDM-POA
ProjectThe activity or action being implemented for which Gold Standard Certification is sought.
Project AreaThe Project Area is the physical spatial area or areas submitted for certification. It contains the area required to successfully manage the explicit objectives of the Project.
Project BoundaryThe clearly defined physical boundary or edges of the project that delineate the Project Area from non-Project Areas.
Project Certification RenewalProject Certification Renewal is the process of Re-certifying with Gold Standard every 5 years. This process follows the Project Design Certification process but specifically focusses on any changes to the Project Design Documentation and an updated Baseline Scenario and a demonstration of Ongoing Financial Need. Certain project-types have adjusted renewal requirements, for example automatic renewal for a number of cycles or reduced/enhanced demonstration requirements. These are captured in the specific Activity Requirements.
Project DeveloperThe person or entity that holds or is applying for certification and therefore responsible for demonstrating compliance with the requirements upon which Gold Standard certification is based.  The Project Developer shall be one individual or entity only.
Project DocumentationUmbrella term for all project design and monitoring documentation that demonstrates in detail how the Requirements are met. This can include Gold Standard Templates such as Project Design Documents and Monitoring Reports as well as Supporting Documents such as charts, maps or spreadsheets.
Project Design DocumentDocument that includes all information concerning project design and how it conforms to the Gold Standard Requirements.PDD
Project ParticipantIs any party or individual who is working closely with the Client to carry out the activities or who has provided written approval for a project. Activity participants shall be collectively represented by the Client or his Representative.
Project DeveloperThe developer and/or manager of the projectPD
Project ParticipantA Project Participant is an individual or entity that is contributing to the generation of the certified impacts.PP
Project RepresentativeRefers to the person or entity that will serve as the focal point for the project. This representative will have sole or joint authority to communicate with the Gold Standard Secretariat regarding all matters related to a project’s certification, alteration or expansion. The project representative can be more than one individual or entity.
Project ScenarioThe Project Scenario is defined as the scenario that will exist once the Project is implemented and operational.
Quality IndicatorInformation that is submitted with the Output Indicator and Justification Information that together can be used to demonstrate an SDG Contribution. The Quality Indicator is specifically used in to build upon the Output Indicator which quantifies the results by adding information on the quality of the result.
Relevant StakeholdersThe collective term for local, affected, interested and expert stakeholders.
Renewable EnergyThe generation of energy from clean, sustainable, renewable processes.RE
Renewable Energy CertificateRenewable Energy Certificates are tradable, non-tangible energy commodities that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource (renewable electricity) and was fed into the shared system of power lines which transport energy. Renewable Energy Certificates provide a mechanism for the purchase of renewable energy that is added to and pulled from the electrical grid.REC
RequirementsElements (rules, procedures, guidelines) that the activity must conform to in order to proceed through Validation/Verification and ultimately Certification.
RiskThe chance of something happening that will have an impact on objective. It is measured in terms of a combination of the probability of an event and its consequence.
Risk mitigationActions taken to lessen the probability or negative consequences, or both, associated with a risk.
Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oilwww.rspo.orgRSPO
ScaleThe Scale of a project may refer to a variety of definitions for example areal extent, size of impact or units provided. Scale is not limited in Gold Standard for the Global Goals but is dealt with in the Activity Requirements, Methodologies and Product Requirements where specific definitions and requirements are included.
SDG ImpactA direct, positive contribution to a Sustainable Development Goal generated by a Project.
ShapefileA shapefile is a digital vector (non-topological) storage format for storing geometric location and associated attribute information. A shapefile can consist of points, lines or polygons.
Stakeholder ConsultationThe process and requirements associated with carrying out stakeholder consultation as part of Principle 3, Stakeholder Inclusivity.SC
Stakeholder Feedback RoundAn opportunity for Relevant Stakeholders to provide feedback about a project as part of the process towards fulfilling Principle 3 – Stakeholder InclusivitySFR

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