A Reef Credit is a tradable unit of pollution reduction

Reef Credit Scheme

What is the Reef Credit Scheme?

The Reef Credit Scheme is an innovative, market-based solution offering a new way to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef.

The Reef Credit Scheme was conceived in response to the emerging consensus that a market-mechanism to incentivise water quality improvements across catchments of the Great Barrier Reef was urgently needed.

The Reef Credit Scheme will enable land managers to undertake projects that improve water quality through changes in land management to generate a tradeable unit of pollutant reduction or ‘Reef Credit’. A Reef Credit represents a quantifiable volume of nutrient, pesticide or sediment prevented from entering the Great Barrier Reef catchment.

The relative value of pollutant reduction from nutrient, sediment or pesticide is set using the reef wide pollution reduction targets described in the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (2018). These values will be periodically amended by the Reef Credit Secretariat to reflect changes to the pollution reduction targets. A Reef Credit can then be sold to those seeking to invest in water quality improvements, such as government, private industry and philanthropists.

Natural resource management organisations, Terrain NRM and NQ Dry Tropics, have teamed up with environmental markets investor, GreenCollar, to develop the Reef Credit Scheme. The Scheme has been developed in collaboration with industry groups, research organisations and regional communities.

With financial support from the Queensland Government, the partnership is focused on setting up a framework to support the Reef Credit Scheme. This framework includes independent governance arrangements that will ensure that the Reef Credit Scheme is founded on delivering the highest standards of environmental and financial integrity. Integrity is further strengthened through a number of safeguards, including the requirement that Reef Credit projects are audited against robust methodologies to verify reductions in sediment, nutrients or pesticides into the Reef.

Benefits of the Reef Credit Scheme

Clear and robust rules to ensure water quality improvements credited are real, additional and permanent.

Farmers and land managers earn diversified and regular income over 10- 25 year time frames.

Research and knowledge linked to on-ground practice through peer reviewed methods designed to suit local conditions.

Attracts investment from government, corporate and philanthropic sources.

Investors buy verified water quality outcomes when they are delivered and audited.

A single administrative platform with independent, transparent and accountable governance oversight to achieve water quality improvement.

Delivers consistent measurement and monitoring tools to track progress toward water quality targets across the entire Reef.

Funds Projects designed to suit local conditions, agribusiness requirements and land manager’s plans.

Complements other key services such as extension, agribusiness, catchment management and other ecosystem services.