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With the collapse of the Kyoto Protocol at the turn of the century in November 2000, carbon markets lost extrinsic pressure to align their operations with the inherent needs of climate change mitigation. The Gold Standard was co-founded by BASE alongside other international NGOs in 2003 to tailor a trusted carbon offset certification standard for the growing voluntary market. Certain sectors, such as aviation, shipping, and road freight, are predicted to take longer in making strides towards a low-carbon future. In these hard-to-abate industries, carbon offsetting serves as a critical tool for businesses to take responsibility for their current carbon footprint now while concurrently formulating their decarbonisation strategies.
The Gold Standard follows a results-based finance approach to ensure projects maintain the highest level of environmental integrity by delivering genuine emission reductions and energy efficiency. Over the past decade, it has contributed to long-term sustainable development by progressively expanding the scope of the projects to include waste management, land use, forests, and water. Currently the Gold Standards seeks to accelerate progress toward the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals through robust standards and verified impacts.
The efforts of the Gold Standard certification to bring the voluntary carbon markets in complete sync with the goals of the Paris Agreement have been endorsed by more than 80 international NGOs thus far and remains open to any NGO that seeks to promote sustainable development, climate action, and energy solutions. The certification has been employed by over 1400 projects across 80 countries for carbon offset verification, thereby mobilising nearly 500 million towards low-carbon development projects from eco-conscious individuals, corporations and governments interested in purchasing credits against confirmed emission reductions and fulfilment of other climate commitments. Ever since its launch, the Gold Standard has garnered immense credibility, making it the global benchmark for capturing meaningful impact in climate and development initiatives.
BASE hosted its Secretariat until 2005, after which the Gold Standard was converted into a separate entity that is presently headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.