GCS Framework

The Global Conservation Standard is based on a holistic approach on land use in the context of local development. Conservation Credit Units are currently quantified on the basis of carbon stocks in vegetation. They are the starting point for bringing in capacity and technology from a wide array of choices, such as agroforestry, intensified food production, land reclamation and erosion control, the production of agro-fuels, composting, watershed protection and wastewater treatment, or eco-tourism. The aim is to empower the rural sector and to substantially reduce the existing pressure on the land and water resources.

Project proponents maintain full sovereignty over the Conservation Area for the entire duration of the Conservation Agreement. GCS projects are consistent with national powerty alleviation goals and the needs of the local population, including representatives of indigenous populations and local inhabitants.

Project Cycle Breakdown

CCUs which accrue to the government or legal landowner / licensee stakeholder are available in the market for sale at the price of the market for that day. The resulting revenues create a considerable capital pool critical to ensure the program meets its aims and goals.

1. The government or legal landowner receives 20% of the gross CCU revenues. This serves to cover the cost of governmental or stakeholder administration as well as partial compensation for opportunity costs of the land

2. The in-country Stakeholder Foundation receives 40% of the gross CCU revenues. This is a critical point as unlike other conservation projects, the long-term commercial security of the indigenous people and the rural communities is a core goal for the GCS, the government or stakeholder. These monies are reinvested directly into the Commercial Buffer Zone activities

3. The residual 40% directly finances the Conservation Area project implementation framework which consists of PIN verification, conservation management plan development and project registration and monitoring activities, registry and sale of the CCUs, third-party annual project validation and verification including helicopter fly-over, GIS monitoring, field inspection and project support activities from the GCS TP administration. This is achieved in conjunction with the government or the legal landowner through the conservation agreement and there are no costs to any stakeholder at any time during the process

As a rule of thumb, one-hectare of protected forest generates CCU revenues in the order of Euro € 40.


Benefits of the GCS

  • CCUs strictly use the carbon stock approach and not the stock flow approach used in the carbon offset market. They are not designed to compensate any excess greenhouse gas emissions in other places, and CCUs do not compete with the regulated or voluntary climate offset markets
  • The GCS brings value to areas that are not under commercial extractive use
  • The GCS does not depend on “additionality” or a “baseline scenario”. It honors what is there
  • The GCS is widely applicable (on private areas, Government concessions, and national parks)
  • Areas currently under conservation are eligible to ensure their continued protection and increased financing (i.e. conservation areas, national parks, world heritage sites, forest reserves, virgin jungle reserves, marine parks)
  • GCS implementation is not linked to any transfer of ownership
  • There is no eligibility restriction on landscape type or geographical area
  • The GCS uses independent accredited bodies to carry out annual assessments of carbon stocks, maintaining objectivity, accuracy and transparency in accounting
  • The GCS offers real-time GIS imagery for up-to-date information
  • Project-related documentation is provided online and held in the registry for clear, accurate, transparent and accountable project information