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Project Development Standards & Labels

All our climate action projects adhere to internationally recognised standards for emissions reduction projects and where applicable are audited regularly by independent third party organisations.

As a signatory of the UN Global Compact, South Pole adheres to a strict code of ethics on anti-bribery and anti-corruption, as well as ICROA's Code of Best Practice.

All of our projects – emission reduction, plastic reduction, biodiversity protection and enhancement and renewable energy – adhere to internationally recognised standards and where applicable are audited regularly by independent third-party organisations to ensure the additionality and environmental integrity of projects.

For companies embarking on their climate journey, we offer climate action projects developed according to a range of standards, including:

Global Carbon Standards

Gold Standard

Established in 2003 by WWF and other international NGOs to ensure projects that reduced carbon emissions under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) also contributed to sustainable development. It launched its Gold Standard for the Global Goals standard in 2017, enabling climate and development initiatives to quantify, certify, and maximise climate and sustainable development impacts.

Gold Standard has more than 80 NGO supporters and 1400+ certified projects in over 80 countries, creating billions of dollars of shared value from climate and development action worldwide.

Learn more on the Gold Standard website

VCS (Verified Carbon Standard)

The VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) Program is the world's most widely used voluntary emissions reduction standard. More than 1300 certified VCS projects have reduced or removed more than 200 million tonnes of carbon and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Along with the Climate, Community & Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development Verified Impact standards, it was developed and is managed by Verra, a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2005 by environmental and business leaders and based in Washington, DC.

Learn more on the Verra website

Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards

The Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards identify carefully designed land management projects that simultaneously address climate change, support local communities and smallholders, and conserve biodiversity.

Learn more on the Verra website

Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta)

The Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta) is a new standard from Verra that sets out rules and criteria for the design, implementation and assessment of projects that aim to deliver high-impact sustainable development benefits. Under SD VISta, projects must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a third-party assessor that they meet the SD VISta Program's rigorous rules and requirements and advance the SDGs. Once projects have been certified in the SD VISta Program, their contributions to the SDGs are listed on the program's database

Learn more on the Verra website


SOCIALCARBON is typically used in conjunction with a carbon accounting standard, such as the VCS, CCB or CDM. Developed by the Ecologica Institute, a Brazilian non-profit organization, it certifies carbon reduction projects for their contributions to sustainable development.

Learn more on the Social Carbon website

CDM (Clean Development Mechanism)

The CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) was the first global, environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standardized emissions offset instrument, the Certified Emissions Reduction or CER.

Developed by the UNFCCC under the Kyoto Protocol so that certified emission-reduction projects in developing countries could access climate finance. Since 2020, the scheme no longer accepts new projects as the Paris Agreement takes effect.

Learn more on the CDM website

Regional carbon standards

Climate Action Reserve

The Climate Action Reserve (CAR) establishes high-quality standards for North American carbon offset projects, oversees independent third-party verification bodies, issues carbon credits generated from such projects and tracks the transaction of credits over time in their publicly accessible registry system.

Learn more on the Climate Action Reserve website

American Carbon Registry

The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, has 18 years of experience in the development of rigorous, science-based carbon offset standards and methodologies as well as operational experience in carbon offset project registration, verification, oversight and offset issuance.

Learn more on the American Carbon Registry website

Australian Carbon Credit Units

Australian Carbon Credit Unit (known as an ACCU) are tradeable, Australian government-regulated financial products. Each ACCU represents one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. ACCUs are generated from projects which are registered with the Clean Energy Regulator and follow approved methodologies, some of which are currently unique to the national context, for example, strategic early-burning of the savannah using traditional techniques.

Learn more on the Australian Carbon Credit Units website

Woodland Carbon Code

Backed by the UK Government The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is internationally recognised for high standards of sustainable forest management and carbon management and is endorsed by ICROA, the global umbrella body for carbon reduction and offset providers in the voluntary market.

Learn more on the Woodland Carbon Code website

Renewable Energy Solutions

This is used for Scope 2 / CDP/ RE100.

The International REC Standard

The International REC Standard (I-REC Standard) under the I-REC non-profit foundation offers a reliable and internationally recognized certificate tracking standard for the renewable energy sector. The standard specifically caters towards regions without national renewable energy certificate schemes. The I-REC Standard is acknowledged by major reporting frameworks such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP), CDP, and RE100 as a reliable backbone for credible and auditable tracking.

Learn more on the I-REC Standard website

Gold Power

GoldPower was created in 2009 under the Gold Standard, in cooperation with WWF, to certify renewable energy projects with the highest levels of environmental integrity and social impact. GoldPower projects deliver clean power and emission reductions, at least three UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as robust verification and transparent third-party audits.

GoldPower is awarded to renewable energy plants that are registered by internationally recognised issuers, such as the I-REC standard and the TIGR registry. It is additionally recognised by key reporting initiatives such as CDP and RE100.

Learn more on the Gold Standard website


EKOenergy is an international not-for-profit label for renewable energy which fulfills sustainability criteria and finances projects that combat energy poverty. The EKOenergy label can be combined with any sourcing method, such as Green electricity tariffs, Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) and unbundled energy certificates (such as GOs, RECs, I-RECs). It can additionally be combined with energy consumed from on-site installations.

EKOenergy aims to bring positive social impact to consumers' renewable energy choice, regardless of the method of purchase or consumption.

Learn more on the EKOenergy website

Biodiversity projects


EcoAustralia™ is an award-winning stapled carbon credit product, pioneered by South Pole in partnership with Australian biodiversity protection organisation, Cassinia Environmental. The product blends state government-accredited biodiversity protection with international carbon credits. Thanks to EcoAustralia™, Australian organisations now have a unique opportunity to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions while contributing to the regeneration and preservation of Australia's ecosystems.

Learn more about EcoAustralia here

Plastic solutions

Verra's Plastic Waste Reduction Standard

The Plastic Waste Reduction Standard developed under Verra, channels investment into projects that increase the collection of plastic waste from the environment and/or contribute to the recycling of this waste. Projects under the standard issue credits that are based on how much plastic has been collected or recycled in comparison to baseline scenarios.

Learn more on the Verra website

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Discover our projects

Explore a selection of our certified climate action projects. They deliver measurable benefits to create healthy ecosystems, thriving communities and prosperous economies.


Develop your climate action project

Since 2006, South Pole has worked with hundreds of landholders, farm owners, and conservation organisations to identify and support emission reductions from nature-based projects worldwide.


Purchase carbon credits and finance climate action

Choose from one of the world’s largest portfolio of high-integrity climate action projects to drive credible climate action and sustainable development around the world.

Carlos Garcia-Borreguero, Climate Actions Credits Practice lead
Talk to us about developing your project today.
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