The vital role of sustainable land use and as part of the balance of the Earth’s ecosystem has been part of the international political agenda for many years. Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, land use has been framed within the climate debate. Most recently the political process has been driven under the UNFCCC umbrella of REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and REDD+ (denoting wider outcomes) within the forestry sector. 

Gold Standard and its partners believe in a strong international focus on conserving forests for climate, biodiversity and livelihood reasons. Moreover, forest ecosystems require the strongest possible safeguards. 

However, by just crediting stored carbon – that is, simply paying people to stop cutting forests - many current approaches to REDD and REDD+ face technical and political challenges that may undermine their long-term sustainability. Therefore, the Gold Standard approach to achieving REDD+ is built around addressing the drivers of deforestation and unsustainable practices by using carbon finance to enable new land management techniques, restore forests and transform livelihoods through energy access and other clean technologies.

This genuine landscape approach, in which multiple and different sustainable activities can be included for certification, recognises that for genuine and long-lasting success, a holistic approach which considers all interactions within a landscape must be used allowing local communities a stake in a forest’s future and in turn driving long-term conservation of natural resources and the sustainable livelihoods they support.