ISEAL and Gold Standard collaborate on carbon assurance

ISEAL, the international association for sustainability standards, has entered a collaboration with Gold Standard, the organisation dedicated to ensuring the wider environmental integrity of carbon impact reducing projects. The goal is to provide companies with a means of demonstrating that certified products, including timber, are not just sustainable, but also that their supply is geared to minimising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

The mission of Gold Standard, which was created in 2003 by the WWF and other NGOs, is to ‘catalyse more ambitious climate action to achieve global goals through robust standards  and verified impacts’. Its partnership with ISEAL , of which the FSC is a member and PEFC a subscriber, will see development of guidance and systems for companies to consistently quantify emission reductions achieved  through ‘supply chain interventions’, so they can be reported in their  GHG inventories.

“The growing urgency of the climate emergency has led to increased demand for credible guidance to support corporations’ transition towards net-zero carbon emissions,” states ISEAL. “For companies, the largest sources of emissions are often linked to supply chains and accounting for them can be challenging. Large emissions sources may lie far upstream in deep and complex supply chains, leading to obstacles to data availability, quality and traceability. This innovation [in partnership with Gold Standard] would allow companies sourcing certified products to better achieve emissions targets, while enhancing the value of commodity certification. Thus the benefits of a climate intervention can be transferred along certified supply chains from landscape to purchasers and investors.”

It added that founding the system at landscape level in supplier countries and regions was key. “Emissions of many of the world’s major commodities are calculated using a ‘supply shed’ approach [whereby suppliers in a given area are grouped in a ‘shed’], with values linked to specific regions. The [new] project will explore how supply-shed boundaries can be set at a landscape level, allowing for standardised landscape emission calculations,” states ISEAL. “[It will] support the value, allocation and transferability of emissions factors linked to certified commodities sourced from a given landscape, with attributes reportable in line with leading corporate reporting protocols.” It added that the approach could also ‘drive large-scale collective action for landscape-level funding’.

The guidance developed by the Gold Standard/ISEAL partnership will be tested by ISEAL members and corporate partners, with results shared via an online community platform.

“We intend to start the piloting phase in April 2021 and this should last until the end of the year when we will report our findings,” said Gold Standard Programme Manager Matthew Thomas. “During the programme we will be consulting with participants on the draft guidance and launching a public consultation at COP26.”

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