GS4GG Project Cycle FAQ

Is there a Gold Standard Toolkit supplied for Gold Standard for the Global Goals?

No, the information contained in the Gold Standard v2.2 Toolkit is now included in ‘Principles and Requirements’ (SDG assessment, safeguards assessment, LSC requirements, crediting, additionality, project cycle etc) and with supplementary information in ‘Activity Requirements’


Does Gold Standard for the Global Goals allow retroactive crediting?

Yes, the rules are broadly the same as under GSv2.2 in which retroactivity is defined by the date of the Stakeholder Consultation.  If this is before the Project Start Date, it is deemed ‘regular cycle’ otherwise it is deemed ‘retroactive’.  Note that the report of the Stakeholder Consultation shall be submitted to Gold Standard within three months of the event (even if the date is after the Project Start Date).


Will it be possible for operational projects from other standards to be retro-actively validated under Gold Standard for the Global Goals?

Yes.  Projects from other standards are eligible provided they meet stringent Gold Standard requirements including stakeholder inclusivity at the design stage, safeguarding principles, holistic contributions to sustainable development, and a robust monitoring plan. There may also be additional criteria that will be specific per project type and methodology.


Can a Gold Standard project be located in an Annex I (developed) country?

Yes, a Gold Standard VER project can be located in any host country. However, project activities in countries with caps on GHG emissions must retire the equivalent number of AAUs to claim Gold Standard VERs.


When should a project apply for the renewal of the crediting period?

To maintain continuity between the crediting periods, the project developer should submit a request for renewal prior to the end of the first crediting period along with VVB opinion and updated PDD. Delay in submission of request for renewal beyond end date of first crediting period will lead to a gap between the first and second crediting periods.


How is the Project Start Date defined in Gold Standard for the Global Goals?

The Project start date is the earliest date on which the Project Developer has committed to expenditures related to the implementation of the Project.  Note that the Project start date definition and requirements may differ under certain Activity or Product Requirements (see A/R projects, AGR Projects) LINK TO RELEVANT SECTIONS


Can projects still demonstrate additionality using UNFCCC tools for automatic additionally?



Do all projects have to demonstrate Ongoing Financial Need?

Yes – unless otherwise stated in the Activity Requirements (for example Land Use and Forestry) – all Gold Standard Projects that need to demonstrate Financial Additionality for a particular mechanism (e.g. VERs) need to demonstrate Ongoing Financial Need for this mechanism at time of crediting period renewal.


Do projects that rely on UNFCCC automatic additionality tools have to demonstrate Ongoing Financial Need?

Yesunless otherwise stated in the Activity Requirements (for example Land Use and Forestry) – Ongoing Financial Need must be demonstrated for mechanisms reliant on a test of Financial Additionality.


What is the ODA declaration?

All project owners need to declare that the project has not received Official Development Assistance (ODA) under the condition that the credits generated by the Project will be transferred, either directly or indirectly, to the donor country providing ODA support.


Many countries host multiple projects of similar types (e.g. cookstoves in Kenya), meaning there is an overlap of project areas using similar technologies. Does this mean that new projects with overlapping project areas would be ineligible where this potential for double counting exists?

Provided an acceptable double counting procedure is in place, project areas may overlap.


What approaches are used by Gold Standard to quantify contributions to SDGs?

Project Developers have 3 options to demonstrate contributions to SDGs as shown below:

Option 1 – For any SDG Impact the Project Developer shall review the UN SDG Targets and Indicators from the relevant National SDG Indicators, or in their absence, the latest internationally adopted version or the latest version ‘under consideration’ where Indicators are not yet fully adopted. Select the three most relevant to the chosen SDG Impacts. Propose an Output Indicator, Quality Indicator and Justification Information that, combined, demonstrate how the Project positively impacts the chosen Sustainable Development Goal Indicator.

Option 2 – Follow a Gold Standard Approved SDG Tool for the demonstration of SDG Impact(s).

Option 3 – Follow a Gold Standard Approved Methodology, published or referenced via the Gold Standard website. These are typically used by Project Developers to achieve issuance of Gold Standard Certified SDG Impact Statements or Products.


Where can Gold Standard approved SDG Tools be found?

None are available as of yet, we plan to build on these over the coming months, they will be published here:

When proposing a way to demonstrate SDG outcomes, where can National SDG indicators be found?

No definitive list currently exists; however, you are encouraged to check the UN website and any relevant Host Country publications.  For further information, please see the below:


Does a project have to quantify all the SDG Impacts from the start or can it add some later?

New Certified SDG Impacts can be added during a project’s life cycle but require all monitoring information including baseline data per the methodology. A key principle of claims management is clear attribution and disclosure of funding sources. Therefore, projects will not be able to issue impacts retroactively if other assets (e.g., carbon credits) were sold during that period, as this would not have been clear to those funders from the earlier years.


Some of the Safeguarding Principles and Requirements do not have an assessment question. Does this mean they are not included in the assessment?

No, the Safeguarding Principles and Requirements shall apply to all Projects – certain Requirements are mandatory for all Projects and may not accompanied by an Assessment Question.


Can the LSC meeting be conducted after the project activity has started?

All projects undertaking a regular certification cycle shall conduct the stakeholder consultation before the start date of the project. The consultation report should be submitted within three months of the consultation. Projects that do not conduct the consultation prior to the start date shall be considered as retroactive projects.


Do I need to invite all the Gold Standard NGO Supporters to the Stakeholder Consultation?

No, for the stakeholder consultation, only the International Gold Standard NGO Supporters (WWF, REEEP, SouthSouthNorth, Mercy corps, Helio International, Greenpeace, Care International) and those Gold Standard NGO Supporters located in the same host country as the project need to be invited.


For retroactive projects, does a stakeholder consultation need to be conducted before a project can be listed with the Gold Standard?

No, the rules are broadly the same as under GSv2.2 in which a Pre-Feasibility Assessment must be submitted to Gold Standard as part of the Preliminary Review before a stakeholder consultation may be deemed to be necessary as a result of the PFA review.  Note that the submission must be within 1 year of the project start date for the project to be eligible for retroactive crediting.


How should a retroactive project conduct a Stakeholder Feedback Round?

Retroactive projects are recommended to conduct a face-to-face meeting as a part of the Stakeholder Feedback Round. Also, they should use the outcomes of the Preliminary Review to plan the SFR accordingly.


Is an Expert Stakeholder consultation ever a mandatory requirement?

Yes, in some cases and this is indicated by the term ‘shall’ in the documentation.  Examples include if project is hosted in a site of cultural and historical heritage or if endangered species are present in the project area.


Are all projects required to submit environment and social assessment reports?

All projects must fulfill host country requirements on environmental and social impact assessments at local, regional and national levels. A declaration must be submitted, as part of the Cover Letter, warranting that the project complies with local environmental and social regulations.


Is a VVB site visit mandatory for submitting a request for renewing the crediting period?

Yes, a site visit is mandatory.


Can the same VVB validate the crediting period renewal and carry out the verification?

Yes, this is allowed. However, the VVB that carries out the validation for renewing the crediting period cannot carry out the verification of the renewed crediting period.


 Is a site-visit by the VVB required for all verifications?

Yes, VVB site visits are mandatory for all verifications.


What is the difference between a Gold Standard VVB and an Objective Observer?

A Gold Standard approved VVB may be contracted directly by the project developer for design certification and performance certification, whereas an Objective Observer is contracted by Gold Standard directly, usually for microscale projects, or to investigate a specific issue.


If a 7-year renewable crediting period project or POA has less than 24 months remaining on its current 7-year cycle on 14th August 2017, can it complete the first 7-year cycle in full and then renew it for a further three times under Gold Standard for the Global Goals?

No, the maximum number of renewals defined in the Activity Requirements applies.  In this example (assuming a standard maximum of 3 renewals is permitted), the project can complete the remainder of the 7-year cycle, then it should transition to 5-year cycle for the remaining available renewals (in this case 2).


How is the date of PoA submission defined?

Date of PoA submission is the date on which the PoA Design Consultation Report is submitted to Gold Standard for review.


How is a PoA Design Consultation different from the stakeholder consultation conducted at the PoA/activity level?

The PoA Design Consultation is a mandatory step of stakeholder consultation that must take place in all PoAs. This consultation needs to be carried out in addition to a PoA/activity level consultation. The objective of this consultation is to collect feedback from relevant stakeholders on the overall design and expected impacts of the programme, in order to ensure it is in line with the national or regional sustainable development goals and priorities. This consultation can be conducted electronically.


Stakeholder consultation at a PoA/activity level involves a physical meeting with stakeholders including local people, communities impacted, local NGOs, government officials etc. This meeting should be complemented with other feedback gained via bilateral discussions, call for inputs via emails, letters of support, etc. The aim of this consultation process is to inform stakeholders in detail about the activities to be implemented within the programme and give them the opportunity to discuss the impact of the activities on them and on the environment.


Who is the target audience for PoA Design Consultation? E.g. who should be invited for this consultation?

    1. Host country DNA(s)
    2. Gold Standard Secretariat
    3. Gold Standard International and Gold Standard local NGO Supporters
    4. Local NGOs 5) Research organizations Institutes
    5. Agency(ies) which have the mandate to set the quality criteria for that technology in the host country
    6. Implementing agencies/CME(s) of the earlier PoAs in the region/country
    7. Technology suppliers
    8. Renewable energy development agencies, etc.


Is the PoA Design Consultation also mandatory for Gold Standard CDM PoAs?

Yes, the PoA Design Consultation is mandatory for all PoAs submitted for Gold Standard certification, including CDM PoAs and micro-PoAs.


In a PoA Design Consultation, what are the various issues that a CME needs to seek feedback on?

    1. Overall sustainable development aspects of a PoA
    2. Geographical spread or location of a PoA
    3. Technology employed under the PoA
    4. Other organizations/agencies who can provide feedback on the design of the PoA
    5. Implementation plan of the programme, i.e. commercial terms and conditions should be transparently shared by the CMEs on the basis of which interested activities will be allowed to join a PoA, etc.

Is Gold Standard responsible for the payment and training of Objective Observer (OO)?
Yes, Gold Standard trains the selected OO and is responsible for paying them.

How is an Objective Observer identified?

An “Objective Observer” (OO) is an independent expert (e.g. academics from local universities, staff from local NGOs or local consultancies, representatives of development organisations, etc.) that is contracted to appraise the project. For appointing an OO, the CVs of three potential candidates should be submitted by the CME. Gold Standard will assess the submitted CVs and the suitability of candidates from its Roster of Experts and sign an agreement with the selected candidate.

Will the micro scale scheme be available under Gold Standard for the Global Goals?

Yes, micro scale is still available but the scheme has been revised to address challenges in the previous version.


For the Gold Standard micro-PoA inclusion review - how many VPAs can be submitted at one time?

Four VPAs can be submitted at a time for a Gold Standard inclusion review, which commences only after the payment of Inclusion Review Fees (USD 2500/VPA).


Is an Objective Observer (OO) visit mandatory for micro-PoA validation?

Yes, in the case of micro-PoAs, OO visits are mandatory at the time of internal validation of the POA.

Is it mandatory to submit a real case activity for each country/technology/methodology combination at the time of Gold Standard micro-POA registration review?

Yes, however, case-by-case deviation may be granted after TAC approval. Please refer to the guidelines.


Which auditors are eligible to assess Gold Standard for Global Goals projects?

A list of approved VVBs by scope is published here.