GCS Framework

The Global Conservation Standard is based on a holistic approach on land use in the context of rural 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. This will also reduce the problem of conservation leakage, meaning that resource pressure moves to a different location.

Project proponents maintain full sovereignty over the Conservation Area for the entire duration of the Conservation Agreement. GCS projects are consistent with national poverty alleviation goals and the needs of the local population. The Stakeholder Foundation should represent any indigenous populations and other local inhabitants. 

Distribution of benefits

CCUs which accrue to the 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 legal landowner (private entity or governmental institution) receives 20% of the gross CCU revenues. This serves to cover the administration costs as well as a 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 in other conservation methodologies, the long-term socio-economic security of indigenous people and rural communities is a core goal for the GCS. 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, third-party project validation and verification, field inspection and project support activities from the GCS Secretariat. This is achieved in conjunction with the government or the legal landowner through the Conservation Agreement.


What is special about the GCS?

  • The GCS brings value to areas that are not under commercial extractive use.
  • 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 does not depend on “additionality” or a “baseline scenario”. It just honors what is and remains protected.
  • The GCS is widely applicable (on private areas, government concessions, and national parks), as long as legal ownership is established.
  • 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, as long as the core conservation area is effectively protected.
  • Project-related documentation is provided online and held in the registry for clear, accurate, transparent and accountable project information.

GCS News

GCS News

GCS has a new website

Offenburg, October 2023 – The Global Conservation Standard has a new web presence. Besides a cleaner appearance, now you can view projects on the map, find pictures and more information on them.

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