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Does the Gold Standard label hold its promise in delivering higher Sustainable Development benefits? A multi-criteria comparison of CDM projects


  • Drupp, Moritz A.


The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has a twin objective: to help developed countries reduce GHG emissions, and to support developing countries in achieving Sustainable Development (SD). As a response to the widespread criticism of the CDM's unsatisfactory SD record, initiatives have developed premium labels like the Gold Standard, which applies two additional 'screens' to filter CDM projects for higher SD benefits. In order to determine whether Gold Standard projects can be associated with higher local SD benefits, this paper evaluates the potential benefits of 48 CDM projects using a multi-criteria method and building on existing work. The 18 evaluated Gold Standard projects are compared to a 'representative portfolio' of 30 unlabeled CDM projects in order to capture the 'full' effect of the additional Gold Standard requirements, which is further decomposed into the two 'screen' effects. The results suggest that Gold Standard Certified Emission Reductions can be associated with higher potential local SD benefits when compared to the 'representative portfolio' of unlabeled CDM projects, while the comparison of projects of the same type remains inconclusive. The results support previous findings showing that renewable energy projects may deliver comparatively high SD benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Drupp, Moritz A., 2011. "Does the Gold Standard label hold its promise in delivering higher Sustainable Development benefits? A multi-criteria comparison of CDM projects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1213-1227, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:3:p:1213-1227

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giampietro, Mario & Mayumi, Kozo & Munda, Giuseppe, 2006. "Integrated assessment and energy analysis: Quality assurance in multi-criteria analysis of sustainability," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 59-86.
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    4. Lambert Schneider, 2009. "A Clean Development Mechanism with global atmospheric benefits for a post-2012 climate regime," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 95-111, May.
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    6. Olsen, Karen Holm & Fenhann, Jørgen, 2008. "Sustainable development benefits of clean development mechanism projects: A new methodology for sustainability assessment based on text analysis of the project design documents submitted for validatio," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 2773-2784, August.
    7. Muller, Adrian, 2006. "Risk Management in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – The Potential of Sustainability Labels," Working Papers in Economics 228, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    8. Nussbaumer, Patrick, 2009. "On the contribution of labelled Certified Emission Reductions to sustainable development: A multi-criteria evaluation of CDM projects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 91-101, January.
    9. Johannes Alexeew & Linda Bergset & Kristin Meyer & Juliane Petersen & Lambert Schneider & Charlotte Unger, 2010. "An analysis of the relationship between the additionality of CDM projects and their contribution to sustainable development," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 233-248, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nives Dolšak & Emily Crandall, 2013. "Do we know each other? Bilateral ties and the location of clean development mechanism projects," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 521-536, June.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:5:p:461:d:69720 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jo Dirix & Wouter Peeters & Sigrid Sterckx, 2016. "Is the Clean Development Mechanism delivering benefits to the poorest communities in the developing world? A critical evaluation and proposals for reform," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 839-855, June.
    4. Stelios Grafakos & Alberto Gianoli & Alexandra Tsatsou, 2016. "Towards the Development of an Integrated Sustainability and Resilience Benefits Assessment Framework of Urban Green Growth Interventions," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(5), pages 1-33, May.
    5. repec:eee:rensus:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:519-530 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Wang, Can & Zhang, Weishi & Cai, Wenjia & Xie, Xi, 2013. "Employment impacts of CDM projects in China's power sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 481-491.
    7. Igor Shishlov & Valentin Bellassen, 2012. "10 lessons from 10 years of the CDM," Working Papers hal-01151437, HAL.
    8. World Bank, 2012. "Carbon Livelihoods : Social Opportunities and Risks of Carbon Finance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 18369, The World Bank.


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