New Australian research to help shape low carbon economy

New research from Net Balance could revive investment in carbon offset projects and programs in Australia.

The report Benefiting from co benefits in Australia will be released at the Carbon Expo in Melbourne tonight.

Net Balance, Australia’s largest sustainability firm, wanted to examine new approaches to revalue carbon offset projects to drive the required investment in the sector.

"There has been a significant reduction in investment in carbon off set projects, both in Australia and internationally due to the economic climate, changing government policy and the reduction in demand and unchanged supply of carbon credits," said report author and Net Balance director, Neil Salisbury.

"This research is important because it demonstrates that co-benefits delivered alongside offset projects, can provide much needed financial certainty and longer term viability of carbon projects.

"Co-benefits are the direct positive outcomes (social, environment and economic) associated with an offset project that are additional to the emissions avoided or the carbon stored. They are benefits which are not automatically priced into the value of an offset.

"However, when co benefits are priced into the offset value, the business case can improve significantly," said Mr Salisbury.

Net Balance is advocating for Australia to adopt or integrate with an international standard to enable widespread acceptance of a co-benefits approach. It is likely this would initially address a limited number of co-benefits (such as biodiversity) and subsequently be expanded over time.

The report was researched and written by Neil Salisbury, Astrid Edwards and Fiona Silke from Net Balance. An international steering group provided insight and advice throughout the development of the research and conducted a peer review of the draft before publication.

The members of the international steering group included:

  • Dr Adam Bumpus, Assistant Professor, University of Melbourne (Australia)
  • Carolyn Ching, Program Development Manager, Verified Carbon Standard (United States)
  • Christian Dannecker, Director of Forestry, South Pole Carbon (Colombia)
  • Tanya Petersen, Director of Marketing and Communications, The Gold Standard (Switzerland)
  • Will McGoldrick, Policy Manager Climate Change, WWF Australia (Australia)

-/-/-

For more information, please contact:

Neil Salisbury, 0433 302 543

Kathryn Franklin, 0419 883 928