In an occasional series, we ask one of our team members to share a pivotal moment in their career and…
Biologic has offset its carbon emissions for the first quarter of 2023.
This is a significant step towards our goal of being certified as carbon neutral under the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard.
In early 2022, Biologic commissioned an external auditor to help calculate our carbon emissions. As a thriving company that undertakes environmental survey work in remote locations across the state, our most significant source of emissions are employee travel and commuting, and outbound freight. While we have endeavoured to reduce emissions where we can, our goal of becoming carbon neutral necessitates – for now – the purchase of externally verified carbon credits.
Finding projects that aligned with Biologic’s commitment to purchase carbon credits only from high-integrity projects was not straightforward. We wanted to ensure that the credits we purchased came from projects that focus on the conservation or restoration of biodiversity using a diverse mix of local species, are of benefit to surrounding communities, and ensure that no carbon ‘leakage’ occurs (when emissions or impacts are simply shifted somewhere else rather than truly reduced).
Many of the high-quality projects undertaken in Australia no longer have credits available. Most of the available Australian carbon credits units (ACCUs) are generated from plantings of one or few species, or from ‘human-induced regeneration’ (HIR) – a method whose administration by the Clean Energy Regulator has been criticised as leading to ‘significant over-crediting’ because, in some cases, it issues ACCUs for ‘growing trees that were already there’.1 Other high-quality projects likely do exist within Australia but, at this time, the Australian national registry of emissions units (ANREU) does not provide the kind of transparent documentation available on other registries.
For this quarter, we chose to buy and retire credits from projects certified by Verra, a global registry that provides open access to all documentation related to both the validity of a project’s proposed ability to sequester carbon, as well as ongoing verification of the quality of that project’s carbon units. Even with such transparency, Verra has recently faced criticism that there is little value in the carbon credits produced by many of the projects that it certifies.
Our in-house team at Biologic Carbon carefully considered the credentials of the carbon projects on offer, choosing to purchase credits from two projects: the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve project in Kalimantan, Indonesia and Delta Blue Carbon in Sindh Province, Pakistan. Both projects undertake regular on-ground monitoring of their progress (as opposed to remote monitoring using satellite imagery) and were some of the only options on the registry that are actively restoring degraded areas. We purchased credits through the Xpansiv CBL market platform. The platform is straightforward to use and avoids the need to pay fees or commissions to a third-party supplier of credits. The flexibility of the platform means that Biologic is able to purchase credits when we choose, giving us the option to address our emissions quarterly and reassess the market regularly.
The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve protects 64,000 hectares of tropical peat swamp adjacent to the Tanjung Putting National Park, and produces carbon credits under the methodology to avoid planned land use conversion in peat swamp forests. The provincial government planned to convert the area into palm oil estates. Rimba Raya but it is one of the largest REDD+ peat swamp forest projects in the world, and in 2020 became the first REDD+ project to achieve all 17 of the UN’s sustainable development goals under the Verra’s sustainable development verified impact standard (SD VISta).
Delta Blue Carbon delivers emissions reductions through the restoration and protection of 350,000 hectares of mangrove forest and intertidal wetlands on the Indus River Delta, under the methodology for tidal wetland and seagrass restoration. The project has created employment for over 10,000 people (including 1,030 women) and has increased access to education, health care and safe drinking water as well as promoting greater civic engagement. The protection of existing mangroves and the restoration of degraded mangrove forest has increased the sustainability of the local fishing industry and community food security, and has reduced the vulnerability of settlements to seawater intrusion.
Biologic is on the path to offsetting a portion of our carbon emissions with credits from our Gidgegannup Biodiverse Carbon Project. The first credit from our restoration plantings of cleared land on the estate will be issued in 2028. Our ongoing efforts to restore the plant diversity that originally existed across the block will eventually produce 700 Australian carbon credits units (ACCUs) per hectare over 25 years and help to reconnect large tracts of species-rich bushland that surround the property.