SustainCERT recognizes Impartiality and Objectivity as fundamental to its work as a Certification Body (acting on behalf of Gold Standard Foundation), or as a Validation and Verification body (VVB), and any other work we develop in our Mission to bring credibility to climate action.
As an institution with many roles, we have worked extensively to create numerous safeguards, and set various mechanisms in place to manage conflicts of interest and ensure objectivity. These are documented in our Conflicts of Interest and Impartiality Management Procedure, which is subjected to continuous review and improvement.
SustainCERT is a young and dynamic organization that offers and aims to offer different services. We therefore conduct an annual review of impartiality risks to inform strategic decisions. The inputs to this annual review come from the following activities that are conducted throughout the year:
- Internal audits
- Management reviews
- Complaints Received
We have established controls that operate at the project level to identify the specific impartiality risk of undertaking each assignment, this ensures that we do not provide consulting services for the same offset project that we audit. Where impartiality risks are identified from offering an additional service to an existing client, they are either managed appropriately or the service is refused.
We have also established controls that operate at the individual level, based on the principle that all staff must abide by this public commitment to be impartial and objective. All new staff and contractors are assessed for impartiality risks (for example previous employers) and are contractually bound to engage in a professional, objective and ethical manner consistent with this commitment. Whenever teams are chosen for an assignment, the individuals are screened for conflicts of interest and their names are transparently declared to clients, allowing them to identify any potential conflict of interest.