This process is similar to the one described in Lesson 4 for the Third-party Validation during the Preliminary Design Review. A Project Developer may engage the same VVB from that stage.
You may access the list of GS-approved and accredited VVBs with the following link:
SUMMARY: To undergo this assessment, projects must meet the following criteria:
- Hold the status of “Gold Standard Project Design Certified”
- Identify, contract, and compensate the VVB for carrying out the verification process
- Submit a comprehensive Monitoring Report (MR) along with all relevant supporting documentation for the VVB’s verification process.
VVBs, who are well-versed in the program and technical aspects of the sector they audit, assess whether a project complies with all the regulations and standards set forth by Gold Standard during the validation process. After completing the validation process, the project owner can then apply for registration with the relevant program.
Independent assessment conducted by an accredited validation and verification body (VVB) is an important element of the GS4GG assurance model. This third-party assessment takes place during the Preliminary Review and Performance Review processes. The objective of the former is achieving Design Certification (Validation) while the latter aims at achieving Performance Certification (Verification).
At both stages, the GS-VVB would need to perform a desk review and field visit. The expected output is the independent confirmation that the project is in line with the Gold Standard Requirements.
To provide consistent project assessment, Gold Standard provides a Validation and Verification Standard (version 1.0; published on 06.03.2023) for accredited VVBs to follow.
As part of the Preliminary Review process, the Gold Standard performs a desk review of the completed Project Design Document (PDD). The purpose of this review is to assess the project’s potential to meet the Gold Standard Requirements and advance to the Project Review and achieve Design Certified status.
Conducting field visits or onsite physical assessments for a project is not included in the design certification process. This step is undertaken independently by a GS-approved Verification and Validation Body (VVB) and is optional during the Preliminary Design Review stage.
The objective of a field visit is to ensure that project activities are executed in accordance with the planned descriptions. Typically, this entails engaging with project personnel, interacting with participants, and observing the ongoing activities.
A physical site visit by VVB is obligatory for the initial verification of a project. In addition, if the project developer and VVB choose to combine Preliminary Review with the first verification of the Performance Review, the first physical site visit may encompass both validation and verification audits.
REMOTE FIELD VISIT
Remote audit techniques involve incorporating appropriate technology, such as smartphones, wearable technologies, and other devices, to gather and transmit information for assessments, both locally and remotely.
Therefore, Gold Standard has mainstreamed remote assessments and audit techniques as credible alternatives to supplement physical site visits.
It is important to note that remote audit approaches do not imply a reduction in audit requirements or quality, nor an increase in audit costs. Remote audit techniques can complement existing site visit obligations, providing flexibility to projects within the rules and requirements of the Gold Standard for the Global Goals (GS4GG).
Note: The remote assessment requirements outlined in this section are not applicable to the following, due to their separate design and development:
- Land Use & Forest Projects
- Programs of Activities (PoAs), including microscale PoAs
VVB FINAL VERIFICATION REPORT
- Project achieved Gold Standard Certified Design
- Contact VVB for verification
- Provide PDD, Monitoring Report and Reporting Plan, and other relevant documents to VVB
- PD notifies GS regarding the start of the verification process
- Site visit or Remote audit of VVB to assess the monitoring report and other supporting documents
- Verification at least once during the five-year certification cycle.
- First verification completed within two years of the project implementation date or design certification (whichever is later)
- VVB submits a positive final Verification Report to GS
Corrective Action Requests (CARs), Clarification Requests (CLs), and Forward Action Requests (FARs) by the VVB
A rule clarification refers to the process of providing additional explanation or guidance on specific rules or requirements within a particular framework or system. It aims to clarify any ambiguity or confusion regarding the interpretation or application of the rules.
“If the VVB identifies issues that require further elaboration, research or
expansion in order to determine whether the project, PoA, VPA meets the
GS4GG requirements and procedures and can achieve credible emission
reductions and SDG impacts, the VVB shall ensure that these issues are
accurately identified, formulated, discussed, and concluded in the validation
Thus, the Project Developer could receive several requests from the VVB. These requests must be addressed before the projects can move forward for certification. A brief summary of what are the issues that could trigger any of these requests:
1. Corrective Action Request (CAR).
- The project includes mistakes that will influence the ability of the proposed project to achieve real, measurable, verifiable, and additional emission reductions/GHG removals and SDG impacts.
- The applicable GS4GG requirements and procedures have not been met.
- There is a risk that GHG emission reductions and SDG impacts cannot be monitored or calculated.
2. Clarification Request (CL).
- Information is insufficient or not clear enough to determine whether the applicable GS4GG requirements and procedures have been met.
3. Forward Action Request (FAR).
- Issues related to project implementation that require review during the first verification(s) of the proposed project.
- These requests and their responses will be included in the Validation Report.
PUBLIC DISCLOSURE AND CONFIDENTIALITY
The GS4GG Principles and Requirements document in paragraph 6.1.2(b) states that all Project Documentation, except confidential information, shall be made publicly available through the Impact Registry. This includes project documents for each certification stage that shall be made publicly and transparently available through the GS Registry.
Through this Rule Clarification, Gold Standard provides further guidance to SustainCERT, Validation/Verification Bodies (VVBs), project developers, and coordinating/managing entities (CMEs) on specific project information and documents (for each certification stage) that shall be made publicly and transparently available and prescribes the approach for treating confidential information in project documents required to be made public.
PD should exercise caution regarding the inclusion of sensitive information in the documentation.