The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) aim to provide minimum criteria for certification schemes and voluntary standards on sustainable tourism. Developed by the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism, after extensive consultation with partners, there are 37 criteria covering 4 aspects:
Certification and private voluntary standards
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a certification system for ‘green buildings’. It provides a framework for identifying and implementing green building design, construction and management.
LEED is a 3rd party certification scheme that certifies buildings against a number of criteria.
The 5 base criteria (worth 20 points each) are:
The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal can appear on agriculturalists’ produce if they have complied with standards set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). These standards are predominantly environmental; however they also include social and economic aspects.
The SAN standards are guided by 10 principles, outlined below:
The International Standards Organisation has developed a series of standards that specify principles and requirements for organisations involved in greenhouse gas emission reporting. The ISO standards can be seen as guiding protocols providing general guidelines for the development of other programmes or standards.
The ISO standards relevant to GHG emissions are:
The Voluntary Emissions Reduction VER Standard is for carbon offset projects and has been developed by TÜV SÜD (a German based verification company).
A number of project types are elgigible for certification, however like the Kyoto mechanisms (Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation) it excludes nuclear power projects and large hydropower projects over 80MW. Hydropower projects over 20MW must conform to requirements of the World Commission on Dams.
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) (Version 3, 2011) is a ‘comprehensive quality assurance system used to account for greenhouse gas emission reductions and credits’. It applies to offset projects in the voluntary carbon trading sector and was established by the Verified Carbon Standard Association (VCSA).
All Voluntary Carbon Units (VCU’s) produced under the standard must represent GHG emissions that are:
Plan Vivo focuses on small scale forest management and afforestation projects that deliver carbon credits as well as livelihood and ecosystem benefits. A project produces Plan Vivo Certificates (=1t CO2) which are registered and traded on the Markit Environmental Registry.
General principles that guide Plan Vivo are:
SOCIALCARBON (Version 5, 2013) is an add-on certification standard to demonstrate the social and broader environmental co-benefits of some carbon offset projects.
It does not include criteria for the emission reduction itself and as such is always partnered with other existing methodologies (predominantly Gold standard and Verified Carbon Standard). Instead SOCIALCARBON ‘certifies voluntary emission reduction projects for their contributions to sustainable development’.
The American Carbon Registry (ACR) has developed a number of standards to validate and verify carbon emissions reduction projects in diverse sectors including landfill gas, fuel switching, methane capture, forest carbon, truck idling, anaerobic digestion, carbon capture and storage, and rural solar power.
The American Carbon Registry publishes standards, methodologies, protocols and tools for greenhouse gas accounting. The 3 standards published to date are:
Alliance for Responsible Mining
The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) works in partnership with mining and producer support organisations. It has three areas of work, all dedicated towards improving the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector: