A new agreement between the private and public sector is bringing additional investment into coastal ecosystem repair and sustainable farming to help restore the health of the GBR, remove CO2 from the atmosphere and reduce the impact of climate change.

In a first for Australia, GreenCollar is bringing a market based approach to reducing land based pollution to the reef through environmental repair, building on its core business of removing carbon pollution from the atmosphere by storing it in vegetation and soils.

GreenCollar co-founder, James Schultz, expects the arrangement of collaborative alliances will increasingly maximise a diverse range of investment in environmental projects.

“We plan to bring together a range of partnerships in the coming months that will see the income from our carbon projects used to underpin a larger scale of investment into biodiversity, water quality, ecosystem protection and restoration,” said Mr Schultz.

Land based pollution has been responsible for the declining health of the GBR which has lost 50% of its coral cover since it was World Heritage Listed in 1981. Now the growing impact of climate change has caused bleaching and further loss of coral cover across vast areas of the reef, the long term impact of which is still being assessed.

An agreement between the Queensland Government and the private sector GreenCollar Group, the Catchment Conservation Alliance (CCA), was recently expanded to include the Queensland Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups.

The focus of the Alliance is to ensure carbon stored by growing trees along waterways, on degraded lands, in wetlands and on floodplains will filter nutrient and sediment pollution that has been the primary cause reef decline prior to climate change impacts.

Under the newly negotiated CCA, more than AU$250 million is now to be invested into the Queensland coastal landscapes over the next ten years. This investment is specifically available for the purpose of undertaking carbon storage projects with a focus on ‘whole of catchment’ restoration and conservation.

The GreenCollar agreement also intends to leverage this investment of AU$250 million 10-fold through establishing further advantageous collaborations.

Mr Schultz said “This investment differs from existing environmental grants in that it pays farmers and graziers to store carbon providing an additional commodity and source of income to the agricultural sector. It therefore supports the economy and rural communities and is the start of making the environment an asset for the agricultural sector, rather than a liability as it has been perceived till now.”

“Alliances between the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, NRM regional bodies, local government and agencies across the State will work together to maximise the co-benefits to the environment,” explains Mr Schultz.

Carole Sweatman, CEO of Terrain, the Wet Tropics NRM region, speaking on behalf of the six Reef NRM regions, believes the regions and their partners in agriculture and conservation are bonded by a shared recognition of the many benefits of storing carbon in the landscape.

“We are delighted to work with GreenCollar as they have a clear commitment to ensuring that their projects realise landscape wide environmental benefits,” she said. “Importantly, the GreenCollar Group’s vision goes beyond carbon storage as the only environmental protection strategy, to include biodiversity, water quality and soil health.”

According to Co-Director and Co-founder, Lewis Tyndall, “GreenCollar will continue to set the standard for innovative solutions to meet the challenges of climate change.”

“As a global leader, in providing an environmental markets-based approach to climate change, we are committed to expanding our operations into environmental impact investment, sustainable agriculture, collaborative research and the renewable energy markets” he said.