January 19, 2021

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Reef Credits / Spearhead investment in new Great Barrier Reef water quality market

4 min read
HSBC Australia and the Queensland Government have been announced as the first-ever private and public sector buyers of Reef Credits, a tradable unit that quantifies and values the work of landholders to improve water quality flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef. The first water quality market of its kind in the world, Reef Credits will play a pivotal role in protecting the future of the Great Barrier Reef as both an Australian and international icon.

GREENCOLLAR


HSBC Australia and the Queensland Government have been announced as the first-ever private and public sector buyers of Reef Credits, a tradable unit that quantifies and values the work of landholders to improve water quality flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef. The first water quality market of its kind in the world, Reef Credits will play a pivotal role in protecting the future of the Great Barrier Reef as both an Australian and international icon.  

As Australia’s leading environmental market developer and investor, GreenCollar developed the Reef Credit Scheme in partnership with landholders, the Queensland Government and natural resource management organisations, Terrain NRM and NQ Dry Tropics. Similar to the carbon offset market which incentivises the reduction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the scheme pays landholders for improved water quality resulting from their on-farm actions, without compromising the productivity of their land.

For buyers, Reef Credits provide a measurable, audited water quality outcome tracked against internationally recognised targets and based on actual reduction in pollutants entering the reef. GreenCollar estimates that the market could be worth over six million Reef Credits by 2030, opening the door for more businesses to invest in the future of the reef as part of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.

For farmers and graziers, Reef Credits provide an opportunity to recognise, value and monetise the critical actions they undertake to provide cleaner water to the Great Barrier Reef.  GreenCollar builds long term partnerships with landholders to improve the productivity of their land and generate an additional, diversified income stream. Through this, landholders are able to integrate sustainable practices into their existing operations.

The establishment of the Reef Credits Scheme, this first purchase, and a new partnership between GreenCollar and HSBC signals the start of an exciting new way to value natural capital and actions taken to deliver good environmental outcomes.

The announcement forms part of HSBC’s newly announced climate ambition statement  that aims to accelerate the transition to net zero carbon through finance, and will scale nature-based solutions between now and 2025.

“Partnerships like this between governments, the private sector and firms like GreenCollar are vital to achieving net zero carbon, and appropriately valuing and investing in natural capital. Our participation in this global first reinforces our credentials as a sustainable finance pioneer in the Australian market, as well as our commitment to safeguarding natural assets like the Great Barrier Reef.”

Kaber Mclean, CEO, HSBC Australia

James Schultz, GreenCollar Co-Founder and CEO, said, “We are thrilled to work with farmers and like-minded partners in HSBC and the Queensland Government to issue the first Reef Credits, endorsing the scheme as a viable market-based solution to put the environment on the balance sheet of responsible corporations. The investment required to meet water quality targets for the Great Barrier Reef is estimated at $4 billion, and this announcement provides an exciting opportunity for corporations, landholders and government alike to make their own contributions to this target.”

“The Great Barrier Reef contributes $6.4 billon to the national economy and supports more than 64,000 jobs up and down the Queensland Coast. Poor water quality is the second-biggest threat to the reef, and helping to protect this iconic asset will continue to support these jobs and businesses.”

James Schultz, GreenCollar Co-Founder and CEO

The first Reef Credits have been developed in the Tully River Catchment, south of Cairns. Local cane farmer Jamie Dore, said: “Farmers and graziers are important stewards of the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. Reef Credits recognise the value of the work undertaken by Queensland farmers and provide a valuable additional source of co-investment that isn’t impacted by commodity prices and doesn’t compromise existing agricultural practices.”

“It is exciting to see both leaders in the private and public sectors investing in the work we’re doing, and supporting the future of this iconic asset.”

About Reef Credits

The Reef Credit Scheme is a new environmental market that pays landholders for on-farm actions that improve water quality entering the Reef, without compromising the productivity of their land. GreenCollar pioneered the scheme in partnership with the agricultural industry, landholders, the Queensland Government and natural resource management organisations in the Great Barrier Reef catchments, Terrain NRM and NQ Dry Tropics.

About GreenCollar

GreenCollar is a profit-for-purpose organisation, and the leading environmental markets project developer and investor across the carbon, water quality, biodiversity and plastics markets in Australia. Founded in 2011, GreenCollar works with landholders and managers throughout Australia to develop projects that create commercial opportunities by generating environmental credits, while caring for the environment. GreenCollar’s management team was fundamental in helping to establish Australia’s carbon market framework and has leveraged this widely recognised thought leadership in the water quality market.

About HSBC Bank Australia

In Australia, the HSBC Group offers an extensive range of financial services through a network of 45 branches and offices. These services include retail and commercial banking, trade finance, treasury and financial markets, payments and cash management and securities custody. Principal HSBC Group members operating in Australia include HSBC Bank Australia Limited (ABN 48 006 434 162 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 232595) and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (ABN 65 117 925 970 and AFSL 301737).

About the Landholder

James Dore is a fourth generation Farmer and land developer. His family are North Queensland pioneers, instrumental in commercializing precision farming technologies and controlled traffic GPS systems for tropical agriculture. Along with brothers Brian and Greg the trio have been working towards world leading environmental standards since the early 2000’s and in 2016 attained full Smartcane BMP accreditation. James Dore is Chairman of Tully Cane Growers Ltd representing farming businesses in the Wet Tropics Tully catchment.


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