framework on methodologies or verification, a number of standards have been created over the past year. Not only voluntary offsets but also CDMs, which are already a quality label in themselves, have been subject to further quality specification, for example under the widely recognized Gold Standard. Over a dozen voluntary offset standards have been developed in the last few years. Yet no single standard has so far managed to establish itself as the industry standard. Certain standards are limited to particular project types (e.g.forestry), while others exclude some project types in order to focus on the social benefits of carbon projects.
Among the biggest are the Gold Standard for CDM and JI, the Gold Standard for Voluntary Emission Reductions and the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).
The Gold Standard
In 2003 the Gold Standard for CDM and JI (GS CDM) projects was developed under the leadership of the WWF and was followed by the Gold Standard for Voluntary Emission Reductions (GS VER) in 2006. The Gold Standard is generally accepted as the standard with the most stringent quality criteria.