Reef Credits

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.

Landholders can undertake Reef Credit projects to enhance productive enterprise while caring for the environment. Our team of project development and technical specialists can help you earn an income from Reef Credits

What is the Reef Credit Scheme?

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.

Find out more at the Reef Credit Scheme website:

How It Works

The Reef Credit Scheme is designed to operate similarly to other successful voluntary and compliance ecosystem services markets around the world. This involves the development of a Reef Credit Standard, Reef Credit Methodologies and Reef Credit Projects. The administration of Reef Credits (Reef Credit Secretariat) will be overseen by an independent not-for-profit organisation with a skills-based board (Reef Credit Governance Body).

Reef Credits are issued to projects according to expertly designed methodologies that calculate or model the reduction of pollutants flowing out to the Great Barrier Reef through changes in land management.

Foundation Reef Credit Methodologies for use under the Reef Credit Standard are being developed in parallel with the Reef Credit Standard and Program Guide.

Four foundation Reef Credit Methodologies have been drafted so far, to account for nutrient (dissolved inorganic nitrogen/DIN) reduction and sediment reduction, falling under two categories: reducing pollutant run-off through practice change or ecosystem repair.

The foundation Methodologies:

Dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) reduction

-‘Reduction in nutrient run-off through managed fertiliser application’ practice change
-‘Reduction in nutrient run-off through wetland systems’ ecosystem repair

Sediment reduction

-‘Reduction in sediment run-off through gully remediation’ ecosystem repair
-‘Reduction in sediment run-off through improved grazing practice’ practice change

More Information

Get Involved

If you are interested in the possibility of undertaking a Reef Credit project or simply want to find out more about what is involved, please contact:

Project Enquiries

Tristan Robertson – 0422 273 577

Purchasing Reef Credits

Carole Sweatman – 0439 743 163

Reef Fund, Investment, Grant Funding

Carole Sweatman – 0439 743 163


Who can undertake a project?

Anyone who is a land owner or land manager may have the potential to undertake a Reef Credit project.  To find out about your eligibility please contact GreenCollar.

Who administers the Reef Credits scheme?

The Reef Credit market will function like other voluntary environmental markets around the world with an independent crediting body that will issue Reef Credits to landholders that have implemented projects that comply with approved methods for reducing nitrogen, sediment or pesticide losses.

How much are Reef Credits worth?

The value of Reef Credits like other environmental commodities such as carbon credits depends on the supply and demand dynamics of the open market.

How are Reef Credit methods written?

Methods can be written by project proponents and others wishing to see particular types of projects developed.  They must comply with the requirements of the scheme which ensures the prevention of perverse outcomes, double counting and measurement and verification issues. The initial pilot methods will be developed through collaboration between GreenCollar, Terrain, the MIP panel and an expert advisory panel of scientific and other stakeholders.

Will the methods be by measurement or modelling or combination?

Some methods may be modelled, others measured and in many cases there will be a combination or transition between the two as data is collected and verified.

Will the market be voluntary or regulated?

The market for Reef Credits is currently voluntary.

 Will the beneficiary, polluter or taxpayer purchase the credits?

The intention of the Reef Credit is to incentivise good land management by having the beneficiary of the outcomes, whomever they may be, pay for that outcome. It is open to any purchaser who sees a value in supporting water quality improvements in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

 How can various sectors support Reef Credits supply and demand?

The agricultural sectors can support supply by encouraging participation in the scheme to earn alternative income streams for the landholder for undertaking water quality and system repair outcomes.

The tourism, transport and resource sectors can support demand by directing funds aimed at water quality on the reef towards purchase of Reef Credits.

GreenCollar will work with farmers and graziers to explore land sector project options across all available Emissions Reductions Fund Methods.


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