Carbon finance and pro-poor co-benefits: The Gold Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards
This paper assesses the practical contribution of the Gold Standard (GS) and Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards to local development through the identification of high quality carbon offset projects and ensuring high standards of consultation with local communities during project development and implementation. It is based on desk research, involving analysis of the GS and CCB Standards’ project databases, project design documents, and secondary literature. In addition, over 20 representatives of the two standards systems, project developers, NGO representatives, and researchers were interviewed. The paper concludes that both standard systems successfully reward high quality projects which have a demonstrated commitment to local consultations and sustainable development benefits. Moreover, they serve to give well-meaning project developers frameworks with which to ensure that a wide range of criteria are considered in planning and implementing projects. As voluntary standards, it is unrealistic to expect either the GS or CCB Standards to improve poor-quality or unsustainable projects. Within the GS, most emissions reductions (and therefore revenues) are generated by projects that provide relatively limited co-benefits, although they are certainly valuable in providing clean, renewable energy. This is unsurprising given that carbon markets are primarily tools for greenhouse gas mitigation rather than for development or extending energy access.