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Certification and private voluntary standards

Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria

The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) provides the minimum requirements that are designed to simplify and harmonise existing standards for sustainable tourism.

The criteria is based on decasdes of work and experience around the world and involved extensive consultation with stakeholders.

There are 37 criteria covering 4 topics - these are:

Sector: 

LEED Green Building Certification System

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a 3rd party certification system for ‘green buildings’ and can be applied to any building type.

It provides a framework for identifying and implementing green building design, construction and management by focusing on seven key areas:

Sector: 

Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Certification

The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal appears on products if the producers have complied with the 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:

ISO 14064-9 Standards

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 VER+ Standard

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)

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) (Version 3, 2011) is a Greenhouse Gas Programme, describing itself as 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).

Plan Vivo

Plan Vivo  is a framework that helps communities use their natural resources in a sustainable way, focusing on small-scale forest management and afforestation projects that produce carbon credits as well as benefits to lovelihoods and ecosystems. 

The scheme is implemented through projects which are all community-led and produce Plan Vivo Certificates - one certificate being equal to the reduction or avoidance of 1 tonne of CO2  and which are registered and traded on the Markit Environmental Registry. 

SOCIALCARBON

SOCIALCARBON (Version 5, 2013) is a complementary standard that certifies carbon reduction projects for their contributions to sustainable development. It is applied to lots of different projects that have already achieved certification for their carbon reduction/avoidance activities - from small ones such as income generation intiatives for local communities, to large one including hydroelectric plants. 

The aims of the standard are to: 

American Carbon Registry Standards

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 & Fairmined Standard

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