Reef Credits: A win for farmers and for the Great Barrier Reef

Working in partnership with landholders to improve water quality and farming business goals

Reef Credits is a voluntary environmental market that addresses the issue of poor water quality at the Great Barrier Reef by paying land managers for improved water quality resulting from their on-farm actions, without compromising the productivity of their land.

GreenCollar works in partnership with farmers, graziers and other land managers to develop projects that align with their own business goals. Projects focus on reducing the flow of nutrients (namely Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen) to the Great Barrier Reef through improved cropping practices, or by establishing wetlands. Repairing gullies also generates Reef Credits by preventing fine sediment erosion.  Each Reef Credit is a tradeable unit representing a quantifiable amount of nutrient or sediment prevented from entering the Great Barrier Reef

Reef Credits are sold to businesses, investors, philanthropists and governments seeking to reach water quality targets or achieve corporate ESG or compliance outcomes. The revenue generated from Reef Credits provides land managers with an additional and diversified income stream, that supports ongoing improved practices.

Eco-Markets Australia is the independent administrator of the Reef Credit Scheme. It ensures the integrity of the scheme and every Reef Credit generated by applying clear and robust rules that independently audit and verify water quality improvements that are real, additional and permanent.

An introduction to Reef Credits

Reef Credits: a win for the farm and a win for the reef

  • Each Reef Credit represents 1kg Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen or 536kgs of sediment from entering the Great Barrier Reef.
Impact of Reef Credit Diagram
  • Land managers receive a regular and diversified income stream for 10-25 years.
  • Enables and support ongoing adoption of land management best practice and innovation
  • Allows reinvestment into primary production
  • Improved soil health and increased productivity
  • Improved business sustainability
  • Supporting regional communities

“It’s good for the community, it’s good for your soil health, and also it’s good for the reef, so it’s a win for everyone. In my mind this is a farming system, moving forward, that is going to increase my productivity”

Adrian DarvenizaSouth Johnstone Farming Company

This Method describes how to quantify reductions in the amount of Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN)  flowing to waterways and the reef through improved nutrient management practices.

Reducing DIN helps prevent algal bloom, which in turn prevents outbreaks of Crown of Thorn Starfish, a breed of invasive Starfish that eats new coral faster than it can grow.

Some of these reef muchers have a bright warning color.

This Method describes how to quantify reductions in the amount of fine sediment flowing to the Great Barrier Reef from gully erosion.  Remediation of gullies can include reshaping, revegetating, engineering control structures, and managing grazing.

Fine sediments flowing to the reef from the land has an impact on the health of the reef as it interferes with filter feeding organisms, reduces coral recruitment, alters the quantity and quality of light available, and smothers corals. It can also affect reproductive cycles and early development of coral and some species of fish.

gully land management


Who can undertake a project?

Anyone who is a landowner or land manager can undertake a Reef Credit project.  To find if your project or your property is eligible please contact GreenCollar.

Who administers the Reef Credits scheme?

The Reef Credits Scheme is administered by Eco-Markets Australia, an independent not-for-profit organisation.  This is similar to other successful voluntary environment markets  around the world and ensures the integrity of the market.

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 Methodologies written?

Reef Credit Methodologies can be written by anyone wishing to see particular types of projects developed.  Methods must comply with the requirements of the Reef Credit Scheme. The initial methods have been developed through collaboration between GreenCollar, NRM organisations, researchers, government and an expert advisory panel of scientific and other stakeholders.

Do the methods use modelling or water quality monitoring to quantify Reef Credits?

Some methods use modelling and others use water quality monitoring depending on the type of activity and availability of peer reviewed models.

Is the Reef Credit market be voluntary or regulated?

The Reef Credit Scheme is voluntary.

How can various sectors support Reef Credit supply and demand?

Agricultural sectors can support the increase in Reef Credit supply by encouraging participation in the Scheme. Land managers can earn additional, diversified income streams by undertaking activities that result in water quality improvements.

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

Work with us


Contact GreenCollar by phone or email to have an initial discussion or arrange a free Reef Credit assessment.  We’re happy to arrange a site visit to determine whether a project is possible and which type of project best will generate Reef Credits.

General enquiries

Bart Dryden – 0400 705 830

Tristan Robertson – 0422 273 577

Purchasing Reef Credits

02 9252 9828

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