The Gold Standard’s Water Benefit Standard is the world’s first results-based financing mechanism specifically designed for investments in water projects.
The Water Benefit Standard (WBS) is an initiative that aims to raise millions of dollars to finance water projects.
It will be launched on 3 September 2014 at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.
Similar to carbon credits, the WBS is a result-based financing mechanism that define best practice for, and certify the positive impacts of, investments in water projects.
Each certificate will represent a specific volume of water that has been sustainably supplied, purified or conserved by the project.
Certificates can be bought to provide an annual revenue stream to help fund the project. Each WBS project must show a clear financial need for additional finance to help it scale up.
Two initial projects
There are already some established water initiatives, such as the CEO Water Mandate and the Alliance for Water Stewardship, but WBS will be the first to finance new projects rather than verify the impacts of existing projects.
The first certificates under the initiative are expected to be awarded to two projects in coming weeks:
- The Water Access Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) project provides clean drinking water in Uganda.
- The Sustainable Sugar Initiative is a water saving initiative for sugarcane farmers in India.
Water Benefit Partners, initiated by First Climate Markets AG and the Gold Standard Foundation and funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation, has developed the WBS. Since its conception in 2011, numerous public and private sector partners have been involved in its development, including Bayer, Nestle, Carlsberg, Munich Re, Coop, and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
The initiative has taken many learnings from the voluntary carbon markets. For example, it will have regular independent monitoring, reporting and verification of project outcomes.
But one key difference is that the pricing of the certificates will be decided on a project-by-project basis, based on the amount of finance needed to stimulate investment in similar projects in the country.
In addition to this, carbon and water are inherently different – water always has a local impact, whereas carbon emissions are a global problem. As a result, this lack of comparability between water projects in different parts of the world means that buyers will not able to use terms such as “offsetting” or “water neutral”.
WHOLE World Water Campaign One Year Anniversary
2,660 People Receive Safe Water After Typhoon Haiyan
Safe Water in Myanmar
5 Glasses of Water a Day
High-Impact & Low-Cost Clean Water Projects