In 2003, representatives of environmental and human rights organisations convened in Brussels to discuss their concerns that carbon markets could become a ‘race to the bottom’ in relation to environmental integrity and sustainable development. 

The group highlighted the need for a system that could identify and encourage well-designed activities as the sources for credible greenhouse gas reductions that maximise wider sustainable development outcomes. At this meeting the concept of the Gold Standard was born.

The Gold Standard certification process was developed through close collaboration between technical and policy experts from civil society, governments, multilateral organisations and the private sector. A non-profit Swiss Foundation was established to house a full-time secretariat for the standard and to further develop tools to achieve its mission. 

Now endorsed by 80+ international NGOs and with more than 1,400 projects in 80 countries undergoing certification. The Gold Standard has become the global benchmark for the highest integrity and greatest impact in climate and development initiatives.