TAC Rule Updates

29 August 2017: Rule update – Requirements and Guidelines for carrying out usage surveys for projects implementing improved cooking devices

The Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee has recommended developing new requirements to improve the robustness and transparency of usage rate monitoring for improved cookstoves. The new monitoring requirements are built on current monitoring practices and based on findings from published peer reviewed literature and inputs from monitoring experts. The aim of these requirements is to improve monitoring of usage rates and to help project developers ensure the adoption and sustained use of project technologies to achieve the intended benefits. The requirements are also supplemented with guidelines to assist project developers for successful application.

Please contact us at help@goldstandard.org for any questions or clarifications.

Impact Methodology


[401.13 TPDDTEC] Gold Standard Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption

SDG 13

[401.3 ADALYS] Methodology to Estimate and Verify ADALYs from Cleaner Household Air


[401.13 CR SLCP] Gold Standard Quantification of Climate Related Emission Reductions of Black Carbon and Co-emitted Species due to the Replacement of Less Efficient Cookstoves with Improved Efficiency Cookstoves

SDG 13

20 December 2016: Rule update – Clarification on DOE site visits requirement for GS CDM project, GS VER project and any PoA during validation and verification

In its 90th meeting, the CDM EB introduced provisions to streamline validation and verification processes with respect to the site visits requirement for projects and PoAs. The CDM EB approved conditions for exemptions from on-site inspection at validation and verification as described in paragraph 41 of EB 90 meeting report.

The Gold Standard would like to clarify that Gold Standard requirements for validation and verification site visits shall supersede the CDM requirements for GS CDM projects, GS VER projects and any PoA. In other words, a CDM project or CDM PoA may be exempted from undertaking an audit site visit for CDM validation or CDM verification process but it shall comply with the Gold Standard requirements in order to pursue Gold standard registration or issuance/labelling of credits. 

14 October 2016: Rule update – TAC approves fNRB values for Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Honduras and Guatemala

The fraction of Non-Renewable Biomass (NRB) assessment requires extensive collection of consistent and reliable data, which is not always available in developing countries. Determining the project-specific fNRB value is therefore a source of systemic uncertainty for the project proponent which can involve high costs and may represent a barrier to project development.

To reduce the work load for project developers implementing cleaner cooking technologies and provide a consistent, standardised value of the fNRB, the Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee has approved the fNRB values for five Latin American countries – Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Honduras and Guatemala.

Please note: The fNRB values will be valid until October 14, 2021 for a period of five years.

Applicable to:

CountryfNRB value (%)

Additional documentation:

For more information, see our Consultations page>>

14 October 2016: Rule update – Requirements for the quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects submitted prior to 31st January 2014

In January 2014, a rule update was released to clarify the requirements for treated water quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects in relation to Annex 3: Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption Version 1.0. The rule update provided requirements for the treated water quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects with the time of first submission after 31st January 2014.

During the aforementioned update, it was intimated that Gold Standard would provide an update on whether these guidelines would also be applicable for projects submitted before 31st January 2014. In this regard, Gold Standard would like to announce the water quality standards for treated water that shall be applicable to projects submitted prior to 31st January 2014 through this rule update. For more information>>

29 September 2016: Rule update – prior consideration requirements for projects applying the Gold Standard methodology “Reducing vessel emissions through the use of advanced hull coatings”

Considering the unique nature of the shipping sector activities, and the intricate methodology requirements for data collection, the prior consideration requirements have been revised for the “reducing vessel emissions through the use of advance hull coatings” methodology. A retroactive project applying this shipping methodology, can submit the required documents to Gold Standard (time of first submission) within two years of its start date. This rule change is applicable with effect from 29 September 2016. For more information>>

29 September 2016: Rule clarification – prior consideration rule for projects undergoing a design change

The prior consideration rule is also applicable to a registered project that undergoes a design change. A Gold Standard registered project requesting to include a new technology/measures, shall submit the request for approval of design change to the Gold Standard within one year of the start date of the proposed technology/measures. If the developer fails to submit the request for approval within this one year, the design change component will not be eligible for Gold Standard certification. The design change request shall be assessed in line with the Gold Standard Design Change rules. For more information>>

20 September 2016: Notice of Rule Change to Energy Requirements – Rule X.b.6: Substitution of Credits

Several years ago Gold Standard made the decision to support project developers by providing an option of paying a portion of their fees in the form of credits issued directly to Gold Standard in “share of proceeds”.

As a result, Gold Standard has earned less in certification fees but now owns rights to a portfolio of CERs and VERs. As we move to monetise these credits to equalise our operating income, we want to provide information on a rule change and to share our approach with our stakeholders.

Notice of Rule Change

Please find for your information a Notice of Rule Change, which concerns a recent change to the Energy Requirements around the use of substitution credits for Share of Proceeds Gold Standard CER and VER projects. We believe this change balances the business operational needs of both the Gold Standard and our project developer community. We greatly appreciate your kind attention to this rule change>>

Our approach to our share of proceed credits

As a principle, our aim is not to compete with our partners in the market, nor are we properly equipped to sell directly to buyers. Therefore, we are looking for a small number of long-term partnerships with organisations that are interested in investing in the future of Gold Standard. We would like to pursue collaboration with retailers of Gold Standard credits who are committed to our joint success.

For more information>>

04 February 2016: CDM standardized baselines extended to Gold Standard methodologies

The CDM EB published the standardised methodology for cookstove projects located in Uganda and Burundi in its 86th and 87th meeting respectively. This note is to inform you that the CDM standardized baseline values are also extended to Gold Standard cookstove methodologies. The project developer can use the baseline woody biomass consumption values along with the values for other input parameters with relevant emissions reduction calculation approach under the following Gold Standard methodologies:

  • Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption (TPDDTEC) Methodology, Version 2.0
  • Simplified Methodology for Efficient Cookstoves, Version 1.0

For more information>>

18 December 2015: Revision to the TPDDTEC methodology

Based on feedback received from stakeholders and guidance from our Technical Advisory Committee, we have made some revisions to our methodology “Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption” Version 2.0 for clean cookstove activities.

The revisions include an alternative method to biennial project KPTs to update project fuel consumption. The Aging Test Approach enables Project Developers to monitor the degradation in the performance of cookstove efficiency following the Water Boiling Test. For more information>> 

15 December 2015: Update in our rules on double counting

We have updated our rules concerning double counting of emissions reductions. Double Counting is a risk that occurs where a Gold Standard carbon credit is issued from a project in a host country that engages in emissions trading (domestically or internationally). In these conditions it is possible that in addition to the claim on the Gold Standard credit a second unit is also inadvertently claimed by the host country or second buyer. This risk undermines the credibility of both the Gold Standard credit and the host country (or international) accounting.

In the current climate of post-Kyoto change it is particularly important that these risks are monitored and addressed on an on going basis. The guideline therefore applies to all projects where a risk of double counting is perceived (for example for Gold Standard projects in Kyoto Annex B countries). In this case: 

a) The Project Developer may seek evidence to demonstrate to Gold Standard that in fact their issuance is not at any risk.

b)  The Project Developer may cancel a valid/eligible unit as applicable within the host country/international accounting mechanism.

The guideline mitigates the potential for double counting by ‘backing up’ against the possibility of a second claim by cancelling a second unit.  In the context of international emissions trading it may not be feasible to cancel units from the host country (as these may simply not be available). The backing up therefore ensures that the overall international accounting is in balance. For more information>>

24 September 2015: Guidance on transitioning CDM to GS VER projects

The objective of this guidance document is to clarify how project developers can transition registered projects from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to Gold Standard, in order to issue Gold Standard Verified Emission Reductions (GS VERs). Please note that these guidelines are different from Gold Standard guidelines that allow the conversion of GS CERs into GS VERs. Further, these guidelines are only applicable to projects that are eligible under existing Gold Standard categories i.e. renewable energy, end-use energy efficiency or waste handling and disposal. For more information>>

23 July 2015: Clarification in Annex 3 of the TPDDTEC methodology

The latest version 2 (29th April 2015) of TPDDTEC methodology, Annex 3: Application of the methodology to safe water supply project provides the default values for water consumption (used for drinking, food preparation and cleaning). These values represent the amount of safe water that would provide the household and institutional premises with a satisfactory level of service. For the project scenario, projects are allowed to use the default values for water consumption provided in the methodology. However, the project technologies/source may have insufficient capacity to meet the satisfactory service level in the project scenario. Therefore, the treatment capacity limits of project technology/source are required to be monitored to ensure that the water consumption level applied for emission reductions must not be greater than the treatment capacity of the project technology/sources. In cases where the default value is more than the treatment capacity of the project technology, the emission reductions shall be calculated based on the actual monitoring.

The monitoring parameter shall be:

Data parameterCapacity
Data unitLitres per day
DescriptionTreatment Capacity of the project technology/improved Sources
Source of dataManufacturer specification/design specification
Monitoring frequencyOnce at the time of registration or at inclusion of new technology
QA/QC procedures
Any commentsThe water volume values used in the calculations of emission reductions must be justified in terms of capacity of the projects technology/improved Sources.

29 April 2015: Revision to the TPDDTEC methodology

The Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption (TPDDTEC) methodology has been revised to expand the scope for clean water supply projects.

Please note that this methodology has recently been revised. There is a grace period of three months for use of the original methodology (dated 11/04/2011). This grace period ends on 29 July 2015. You can view a summary of the changes made here and view the methodology in track change mode here. Note also, the guidelines for carrying out a usage survey for projects implementing household water filtration technologies. 

29 Mar 2015: Revision to Annex X – rules for conflict zones and refugee camps

There are two key changes in the document:

  1. The rules can now be applied to both regular and retroactive projects.
  2. The rules are also extended to situations requiring travel by DOEs to high risk destinations which can pose a threat to life and/or health.

​For more information>>

22 Jan 2015: Ex-post validation of monitoring plan

The Gold Standard Rules are being aligned with the CDM rule, which allows for the ex-post validation of the greenhouse gas monitoring plans. For more information>>

22 Jan 2015: Annex Z – Gold Standard procedures for renewal of crediting period

We have made a temporary deviation in the rules regarding the renewal of crediting periods. Projects will be allowed to start the second crediting period immediately after the end date of the first crediting period as long as they submit a formal request for renewal by 31st December 2015. For more information>>

22 Jan 2015: Prior consideration of carbon revenues for GS-VER projects

We have made revisions to the requirements for demonstrating prior consideration of carbon revenues for standalone projects submitted to Gold Standard on or after 1st June 2015. For more information>>

22 Jan 2015: Double counting in the context of Green Certificate schemes

The Gold Standard TAC has made some revisions to the rules on double counting in the context of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). For more information>>

09 Oct 2014: Clarification on Gold Standard rules for DOE site visit requirements during verifications

As per the GS v2.0 and v2.1 rules on verification site – visit (VIII.g.9 ) – “As part of the verification process, verifiers shall conduct a site-visit in one of the first two years after the start of project operation, and once every three years after that first two-year period, unless the Verifier provides a convincing case for less frequent visits as part of the Verification Report”.

We have received a few requests for clarification by project developers & DOEs on the above requirements. We would wish to clarify that the site visit by the contracted DOE is required each time verification is carried out. The above rule is meant to specify the maximum duration for which a project can continue without conducting a verification and the associated site visit. This does not mean that a verification can be carried out in between the mandatory period, without conducting a DOE site visit.

However, in line with the flexibility provided under the v2.2 rules, small-scale projects registered under any previous versions of GS rules can benefit from the flexibility of not conducting a site visit during each verification apart from the minimum required verifications (once in every three years). In order to avail this exemption from carrying out the site visit, appropriate justification for not carrying out site visit should be provided by the project developer, and a positive opinion on that justification is required from the DOE. In these justifications, the DOE and PP should clarify that how various monitoring parameters would be verified in absence of the DOE site visit. The final decision on allowing the exemption from site visit would rest with Gold Standard.

25 Jul 2014: Updating Annex-C to clarify requirements for credit ownership

Currently Annex-C specifies requirements for projects involving the distribution of cookstoves, bio-digesters and renewable energy devices. However, we would like to clarify that the credit ownership rules also apply to efficient lighting (e.g. CFL/LED), water purification devices and other household appliance distribution projects. Thus the specific section in Annex-C stands revised and should be read as follows:

Project type: Improved distributed heating, lighting, water purification, cooking devices and other household appliances (e.g. bio-digesters, cookstoves, compact fluorescent lamps, water filters etc.), and distributed micro-scale electricity generation units (e.g. micro-hydro and PV for households)

Activities involving a large amount of small, distributed heating, cooking, purification, electricity generation or efficiency improvement devices shall provide The Gold Standard Foundation with a clear description of the transfer of credits ownership all along the investment chain, and with proof that end-users are aware of and willing to give up their rights on emission reductions. The transfer of credit ownership must be discussed during the local stakeholder consultations for regular cycle projects. For retroactive projects, the project participants must collect stakeholder feedback through live consultations, telephonic discussions, electronic mode etc. as deemed necessary to reach out to the relevant stakeholders. Section E.2 of the Passport should document the feedback received from stakeholders on transfer of credit ownership.

30 Apr 2014: Revision to rule on the applicability of deemed additionality

Regular cycle Gold Standard stand-alone projects and VPAs (part of a Gold Standard PoA) are already allowed to make use of the deemed additionality criteria, as defined within the Gold Standard rules and the CDM rules.

GS-TAC has now allowed for this rule to be extended to retroactive projects. Projects with start date anterior to the time of first submission to Gold Standard can now also benefit from the same deemed additionality criteria, provided prior consideration of carbon revenues is being demonstrated as per applicable rules. This rule change applies to all projects not registered as of May 1st, 2014.

30 Apr 2014: Clarification on Annex 3 of the “Technologies and Practices to displace decentralized thermal energy consumption” methodology

Households with piped water supply can be excluded from the Cj factor (as defined in TPDDTEC methodology) when it can be clearly demonstrated that piped water supply is not a safe water source. The water quality of the piped water supply should be established as unsafe through testing over a representative period of time or relevant third party studies for project area for the purpose of validation and registration of the project. Households that boil water or would have boiled water (suppressed demand situation) in the baseline situation and use zero emission water treatment technologies in the project situation are in such case eligible and can be included in the calculation of baseline emissions from boiling of water. Baseline surveys should be conducted to show that households do actually boil water or would indeed have boiled water to make it safe for use.

5 Feb 2014: Guidelines for carrying out usage survey for projects implementing household water filtration technologies

The guidelines in this document shall be used to conduct surveys to determine the usage rate of Household water treatment (HWT) technologies. For more information>>

31 Jan 2014: Procedures for registering a multi-country Programme of Activities (PoA)

The procedures for registering a multi-country GS voluntary PoAs have been further clarified. These procedures also include clarifications for post-registration design change to expand PoA boundary to new countries. These clarifications are applicable to all Gold Standard voluntary PoAs registered after 31 January 2014. For more information>>

31 Jan 2014: Requirements for the quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects

This rule update provides requirements for the treated water quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects. These guidelines are mandatory for all safe water supply projects with the time of first submission after 31 January 2014. For more information>>

Nov 2013: Revision to The Gold Standard Registration Review Period

The Gold Standard registration review period has been revised from 8-weeks to 6-weeks.

This revision has been made based on the feedback received during an extensive consultation period held in July and August 2013. During this period, The Gold Standard Secretariat requested input and feedback on the proposed timelines for its review processes at the various steps of the certification cycle. One of the most frequently received comments was in terms of the length of time it took to conduct the registration review period. Project Proponents deemed that the current 8-weeks was too long and should be revised to make the review process more time efficient.

The revised registration review period of 6-weeks will be applicable for all Gold Standard version projects, including micro-scale projects submitted for registration from 1 November 2013. For more information>>

May 2013: Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme

The Gold Standard has just launched its new Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme. The requirements and application forms are attached below:

  1. Requirements for the Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme
  2. Sustainable Development Auditor Application Form
  3. Validation Appraisal and Verification Appraisal Guidelines for SD Accreditation Scheme
  4. Sustainable Development Validation Appraisal Workplan
  5. Sustainable Development Verification Appraisal Workplan

January 2013: The Application of Global Warming Potentials for Gold Standard Project Activities

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the measure of heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere, expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide. The document below outlines the process for applying GWPs to Gold Standard project activities and Programme of Activities (PoA) within the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. For more information>>

June 2012: Default non-renewable biomass fraction (NRB)

It was decided to allow the use in the context of Gold Standard projects of the default NRB fractions approved by CDM EB as published in Annex 22 of the EB 67 meeting report, provided the DNA of the project host country has formally approved the corresponding NRB fraction. Approval of the use of a default NRB fraction can be sought on a case-by-case basis where these have not been approved by DNAs, after feedback has been collected by project developers on the appropriateness of this NRB fraction through stakeholder consultation. These default NRB fractions can be used irrespective of the scale of the Gold Standard project. In case of formal rejection or revision of these default NRB fractions at a later stage, following decisions by DNAs, Gold Standard project developers shall revise these accordingly.

22 November 2011: Please review the latest Gold Standard rule updates.

Revised Standalone Micro-scale Scheme

The first generation micro-scale scheme and the community focused micro-scale scheme have been consolidated to form a revised standalone micro-scale scheme. The eligibility threshold has been raised to 10,000 tCO2e per annum. Deemed additionality is applied to non-retroactive activities targeting poor communities. The use of Objective Observers for the appraisal of potential risks and negative impacts in place of a full assessment by project developers themselves is extended to all activities, but based on a statistical, target-random selection instead of a systematic use. Project activities can still apply under the first generation OR community focused micro-scale scheme rules as long as they are formally submitted by the 31 December 2011. Project activities already submitted under the first generation OR community focused micro-scale scheme, can be upgraded to the revised standalone micro-scale scheme upon request by project proponents as long as they comply with all requirements of the revised scheme and project documentation is modified accordingly.

Micro-programme Scheme

This new scheme allows for the extension of the programmatic approach to The Gold Standard’s micro-scale scheme activities. It combines benefits associated with the respective approaches, such as the concept of a validation and verification fund and the simplified procedures for the replication of similar activities under a programme. Each activity under the programme is capped at 10,000 tCO2e per annum, but no overall cap is applied to the programme as a whole. Project activities already submitted under any of the standalone micro-scale schemes can be included in a future micro-programme, upon request by project proponents and as long as they have not yet been submitted for internal or external validation.

Grievance Mechanism

The Gold Standard has a two-step stakeholder feedback mechanism already in place whereby local stakeholders have an opportunity to give feedback on the project during the local consultation process and the stakeholder feedback round.  Stakeholders can also provide inputs over the crediting period on issues identified in the monitoring plan. No formal mechanism however was available to solicit feedback from stakeholders during the crediting period on issues identified outside of the monitoring plan.

In response to the request for strengthened means for post-registration local stakeholder inputs and in line with feedback received from the field, this new grievance mechanism is now introduced whereby all projects applying for Gold Standard registration must have a formal continuous input mechanism in place which will help foster mutual trust between project owners and local stakeholders.

The rationale will be to remediate issues identified during the crediting period as early as possible and prior to verification. Unforeseen issues that may arise during the course of the project and are not identified in the monitoring plan can also be addressed this way and local stakeholders can suggest improvements or modifications based on their understanding of the local situation.

This new mechanism applies to all project activities formally submitted to Gold Standard after 22 November 2011. It is encouraged but optional for activities already submitted. Please click on the link below to access the rules of the grievance mechanism.

Projects that are formally submitted by 31 December 2011 are not mandated to have a Grievance Mechanism in place. For more information>>

Special Procedures for Conflict Zones and Refugee Camps

Projects proponents face considerable problems in contracting a DOE for validation and/or verification of projects located in conflict zones or refugee camps. These new rules allow for deviation from the usual procedures in such circumstances and to combine desk review by DOEs with on-site visits conducted by Objective Observers. All project activities, irrespective of their status in The Gold Standard project cycle, can adopt these procedures.

Methodology and Tool – Version Validity

The period within which the project documentation must be submitted for Gold Standard validation in order to use the version of the methodology or tool applicable at the time of first submission has been extended to 6 months (instead of 3 months in the current rules). If the project activity is not submitted for Gold Standard validation within the 6-month deadline, then the latest available version of the methodology and tool(s), at the time of submission for validation, must be applied. The time of submission for DOE validation is the date when the DOE is contracted for the validation of the project activity. This revision is applicable to project activities already formally submitted to Gold Standard but not yet submitted for validation.

Annex F Revised – Gold Standard Programme of Activities (PoA) Rules and Guidance

The revised Annex F provides clarifications on the stakeholder consultation process and programme timeframe. It also provides additional information on sustainability assessment, multiple types of activities in a programme, DOE site visits, inclusion and verification procedures, multi-country programmes, criteria for compliance check and post-registration design change. These updated rules apply to PoAs submitted to the Gold Standard after 22 November 2011. PoAs already submitted may apply the additional guidance provided in the revised Annex F, as deemed useful.

PoA Programmes can still apply using the earlier version of the Annex F (Dated – 23 December, 2010) as long as the project is formally submitted by 31 December 2011.

Methodology Eligibility Tool

The tool provides information on the eligibility of the CDM methodologies under The Gold Standard. The tool will be updated on a regular basis so as to account for both new or revised CDM methodologies and Gold Standard rule changes. For more information>>

Annex C Revised – Specific Eligibility Criteria

The revised Annex C provides the latest revisions of The Gold Standard specific eligibility criteria. These revisions apply to all new project activities but can also apply to project activities already submitted, upon request by project proponents. For more information>>

Biogas project activities: the requirement of the demonstration of 65% minimum utilisation ratio has been removed. Project activities shall be eligible for emission reductions from both methane avoidance (including the flared biogas fraction) and non-renewable fuel substitution as long as at the time of validation, evidence is provided to demonstrate that the system is 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).

Biomass project activities: the 5% cap on the share of non-renewable fuel in the electricity or heat annual delivery is now replaced by the requirement of a renewable fuel share of 50% after the first 3 years of operation for retrofit projects, and of 80% from the outset for greenfield projects.

Registration Date

For all project activities registered after 4 November 2010, the formal registration date will be the end of the registration review period, whatever the date at which all issues raised are closed.

23 December 2010: Latest version of the Programme of Activities Rules and Guidance:

23 July 2010: Sectoral Scopes for Gold Standard VER methodologies: For more information>>

Community focused micro-scale scheme: 

Please click below to download the document containing the new Gold Standard rules regarding fast-track retroactive projects:

Gold Standard’s response letter to the PDF forum: Response Letter>>