Reef Credits

Reef Credit Scheme

The Reef Credit Scheme is a new environmental market that pays landholders for on-farm actions that improve water quality by reducing pollutants entering the Great Barrier Reef, without compromising the productivity of their land.

Reef Credits are tradeable units that quantify and value the work undertaken by landholders to improve water quality flowing into the Reef.  Reef Credits provide a credible, unique and robust market that opens the door to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment, helping organisations meet their environmental targets while protecting the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Reef Credit Scheme was developed in partnership with landholders, the Queensland Government and natural resource management organisations, Terrain NRM and NQ Dry Tropics.


Similar to the carbon offset market, the Reef Credit Scheme pays landholders for improved water quality resulting from their on-farm actions, without compromising the productivity of their land.

Each Reef Credit is a tradeable unit representing a quantifiable volume of nutrient, pesticide or sediment prevented from entering the Great Barrier Reef catchment. The monetary value of these Credits provides landholders with an additional, diversified income stream, enabling them to integrate sustainable practices into their existing operations.

Reef Credits can then be sold to those seeking to invest in water quality improvements, such as government, private sector and philanthropists.

On the buyer side, each Reef Credit provides a measurable, audited water quality outcome, tracked against internationally recognised targets and based on actual reduction in pollutants entering the Reef. Buyers surrender the Reef Credits to enable them to track the outcomes towards their environmental foot-print.

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. Creation, sale and retirement of Reef Credits will be recorded on a Reef Credit Registry.

Find out more at the Reef Credit Scheme website:


Reef Credits are issued to projects according to specific methodologies that calculate or model the reduction of pollutants flowing to the Great Barrier Reef through changes in land management. Three Reef Credit Methodologies have been developed so far, with more being developed under the Reef Credit Standard in parallel with the Program Guide.  One methodology has been formally approved, for dissolved inorganic nitrogen reduction through Nitrogen Use Efficiency.  Methods for sediment reduction through gully repair and nitrogen reduction through wetland are being finalised.

Read more about the Foundation Methodologies here.


The Reef Credit Scheme represents a tangible way for businesses to put the environment on the balance sheet, with investors buying measurable, audited water quality outcomes. At the same time, farmers and land managers can earn a diversified and regular income over 10 to 25-year timeframes, with projects designed to complement existing conditions and agribusiness requirements.

A single administrative platform has been established, (Eco-markets Australia) with independent, transparent and accountable governance that ensures the application of clear and robust rules that verifies that water quality improvements are real, additional and permanent.

GreenCollar estimates that the market could be worth over 6 Million Reef Credits by 2030, making significant improvements to water quality in key catchments of the Great Barrier Reef protecting the future of this Australian and international icon and channelling significant resources to the farmers, graziers and rural Queensland.

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:

Bart Dryden – 0400 705 830
[email protected]

Project Enquiries

Tristan Robertson – 0422 273 577
[email protected]

Purchasing Reef Credits

Carole Sweatman – 0439 743 163
[email protected]

Reef Fund, Investment, Grant Funding

Carole Sweatman – 0439 743 163
[email protected]


Who can undertake a project?

Anyone who is a landowner 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 Scheme is designed to operate similarly to other successful voluntary and compliance ecosystem services markets around the world. The administration of Reef Credits Scheme is overseen by an independent not-for-profit organisation with a skills-based board, Eco-Markets Australia.

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 anyone wishing to see particular types of projects developed.  Methods must comply with the requirements of the Reef Credit Scheme which ensures the prevention of perverse outcomes, double counting and measurement and verification issues. The initial pilot methods have been developed through collaboration between GreenCollar, NRM organisations, researchers, government 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.

How can various sectors support Reef Credits supply and demand?

Agricultural sectors can support supply by encouraging participation in the scheme. Landholders can earn additional, diversified income streams for undertaking water quality and system repair outcomes.

Corporates, government and philanthropists can support demand by purchasing Reef Credits to surrender to meet their environmental targets.

Other sectors such as 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.