Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Project Basic Design & Eligibility


Key project information refers to the essential details and data that are necessary for understanding and managing a project effectively. It typically includes the following elements:

1. Project Scope

2. Project Timeline

3. Project Budget

4. Stakeholders

5. Project Team

6. Project Risks

7. Project Dependencies

8. Communication Plan

9. Project Documentation

10. Quality Standards

GS4GG Preliminary Review Request


The first step in planning a project for GS4GG is to follow the General Eligibility Criteria defined under “GS Principles & Requirements” (version 1.2)

“In order to achieve Certification with Gold Standard, all Projects shall contribute to the Vision and Mission of Gold Standard, applied specifically through the following Eligibility Principles and Requirements.” – Principles & Requirements, version 1.2 (October 2019)

Gold Standard Foundation Vision and Mission

  • VISION: Climate security and sustainable development for all.
  • MISSION: To catalyze more ambitious climate action to achieve Global Goals through robust standards and verified impacts.


These principles were covered in greater detail in Lesson 1 of this course. Below we list them for ease of reference:

  • Principle 1: Contributing to Climate Security & Sustainable Development
  • Principle 2: Safeguarding Principles
  • Principle 3: Stakeholder Inclusivity
  • Principle 4: Demonstration of Real Outcomes
  • Principle 5: Financial Additionality & Ongoing Financial Need

Special Case: Renewable Energy Rule (24 January 2020)

New GS VER or GS CER Renewable Energy projects connected to the national, or regional electricity grid must be in a:

  • Least Developed Country (LDC), or
  • Small Island Developing State (SIDS), or
  • Land Locked Developing Country (LLDC), or
  • Low Income or Low Middle-income country,

where the penetration level of the proposed Renewable Energy Technology type is less than 5% of the total grid installed capacity, at the time of the first submission to Preliminary Review.


Gold Standard defines the eligible impact quantification methodologies for GS4GG that must be applied to quantify SDG impacts from a specific project type (e.g. emission reductions, aDALYs, etc.). Note multiple methodologies may be applied in one project.

The supporting documentation can be accessed under SDG IMPACT QUANTIFICATION METHODOLOGIES

How do you Select your Project’s Methodology?

  • The Project Developer finds a methodology that fits their project idea. Then you can start with the Gold Standard certification process. Carbon credits follow a binary process, requiring project developers to either adopt a pre-approved Gold Standard methodology or develop a new one. You can explore all the approved methodologies available for project developers here:

Gold Standard eligible Impact Quantification methodologies – Gold Standard for the Global Goals

  • The Project Developer finds a methodology that fits partially their project idea, but not completely. Then the PD will have to submit a Methodology Deviation request on that methodology. The first step is to submit a Methodology Concept Note. If the PD does not find any eligible methodology suitable for their project idea, then they will need to Develop a New Methodology. The first step of this process is to submit a Methodology Concept Note, which is an eligibility check. This means that the Gold Standard Secretariat will assess the eligibility of the new methodology.

Gold Standard Methodology Concept Note – Gold Standard for the Global Goals

The SC Academy provides a course with the GS4GG 101 package for GS New Methodology Development. This is an introductory course that will help you engage with SustainCERT’s Advisory services to streamline your GS Methodology Concept Note development and approval.

Methodology Eligibility Check

The eligibility criteria include but are not limited to:

  • The proposed methodology must conform to the general eligibility principles and criteria outlined in Section 2.0 of the Gold Standard for the Global Goals Principles and Requirements as well as activity requirements.
  • Evidence must be provided demonstrating that the proposed methodology offers quantification approaches that evaluate the contribution to at least one Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
  • The proposed methodology cannot already be covered by an approved or under-development Gold Standard methodology. If the proposed approach has already been partially or completely covered by another Gold Standard methodology, the developer should ideally propose modifications to the existing methodology. However, a new methodology covering the same scope as an existing methodology may be considered for review if it introduces innovative approaches that are justified.

Selection of Approved Methodology

Regular Project

Retroactive Project

The complete methodology development process consists of the following steps:

  • Step 1:  Eligibility Check
  • Step 2:  Methodology draft preparation and submission
  • Step 3:  Secretariat review and selection of reviewers
  • Step 4:  External and internal review
  • Step 5:  Stakeholder consultation
  • Step 6:  TAC review


The Voluntary Carbon Market seeks to solve a market failure as without the financial funding from carbon credits or other relevant Certified Impact Statements and/or Products, projects that “contribute to climate security and sustainable development” (Principle 1) will not be able to take place.

Thus, a project requires to demonstrate “Principle 5: Financial Additionality and Ongoing Financial Need”.

To qualify as a genuine carbon offset, the reductions achieved by a project need to be “additional” to what would have happened if the project had not been carried out (e.g., continued as business-as-usual). 

Principle 5: Financial Additionality & Ongoing Financial Need

  • “All Projects must demonstrate impacts that are additional as compared to their baseline scenario (i.e., the benefits of the Project are beyond a business-as-usual scenario) as covered in Principle 1…”
  • “… Projects following certain certification pathways (i.e., those seeking to use certification to attract finance or issue market products through the issuance of Gold Standard Certified Products or Impact Statements) shall demonstrate Financial Additionality and Ongoing Financial Need.”


  • Regular VER projects if submitted within one year of its start date do not have to demonstrate additionality.
  • Registered CDM projects also do not have to demonstrate additionality.