In collaboration with Climate-KIC, South Pole Group and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Gold Standard is launching a framework designed to unlock billions of dollars needed to scale-up clean technology and sustainable development in cities around the globe. Under the holistic certification standard “Gold Standard for the Global Goals," the module for Sustainable Urban Development is designed to ensure appropriate safeguards, governance systems and stakeholder engagement to allow urban development projects to deliver impact at the city-level scale and enable project sponsors to fully assess the social and environmental impact of their climate initiatives. As true innovation, cities will be able to certify multi-sector programs on sustainable urban development.
Transforming cities will play a critical role in combatting climate change as cities consume around 75% of global energy and emit around 75% of global carbon dioxide emissions, yet less than 15% of global climate finance has reached cities. According to the World Bank, only 4% of the largest 500 cities in the developing world are credit worthy in international markets, making it almost impossible to secure the finance needed for transformational change. These shortfalls have been attributed to lack of bankable projects and a lack of urban-specific project packaging frameworks to make them investment-ready.
The Sustainable Urban Development module of Gold Standard for the Global Goals aims to change this. Critically, it is expected to unlock funding for interventions that go beyond strictly reducing GHG emissions, allowing funding agencies and developers to include activities with significant social benefits. For example, improving wastewater treatment processes and clean local transport can significantly lower GHG emissions but also helps to better manage water resources, improve local air quality and transform the quality of life for the city's residents. All of these impacts can now be quantified and verified under the new standard.