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20 April 2020

First Reef Credit Methodology Released

We are excited to announce the release of the first Reef Credit Methodology for use under the Reef Credit Scheme.

Following a rigorous public consultation and peer review process, the Methodology for Accounting Reduction in Nutrient Run-off through Managed Fertiliser Application – Version 1.1 has been approved for use under the Reef Credit Scheme.  This methodology quantifies the reduction in Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) lost from agricultural land through improved soil and nutrient management practices within the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The scope of this methodology includes reducing DIN loss through more efficient soil and nutrient management practices from agricultural enterprises including (but not limited to) sugarcane, bananas, grains and fodder. The methodology allows for a range of practice changes, that lead to a reduction in DIN loss across the project area. The methodology was developed by GreenCollar Group Limited.

The methodology was submitted by the methodology developer to the Reef Credit Secretariat in June 2019. The methodology was subject to public consultation and peer review and as a result several revisions were made to the proposed methodology. The Reef Credit Technical Advisory Committee (the TAC) considered the integrity of the process followed and, on 14 February 2020, confirmed that the methodology approval process had been properly followed and that the methodology had been assessed in accordance with the Reef Credit Standard and Guide. The revised methodology was then recommended by the TAC to the Reef Credit Interim Steering Committee for approval. The Reef Credit Interim Steering Committee approved the methodology on 11 March 2020.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed a written submission on the methodology and to thank you for your patience. Full details of the results of the public consultation and peer review process can be found on the website: https://www.reefcredit.org/approved-methodologies/

We are in the process of finalising the Reef Credit Project Crediting Procedures (including template forms) and the Registry system, and once finalised the first Reef Credit Projects may be submitted for approval and the first Reef Credits issued. We anticipate releasing the procedures and establishing the Registry system in the coming weeks and will notify stakeholders when this occurs and will also post the procedures and forms on the website together with a public view version of the Registry.

Extension of Beta Phase and Review of the Reef Credit Standard

All components of the Reef Credit Scheme, including the Reef Credit Standard and Guide, will be reviewed at the conclusion of the beta phase. The beta phase was due to end in December 2019. However, it has been extended to allow for the administrative processes developed, including the all-important methodology review processes, to be tested before entering into a fully operational phase.

The beta phase review will be carried out by the independent skills-based Board of the not-for-profit company soon to be established to govern the Reef Credit Scheme. The review will be carried out within six months of the establishment of the independent Board. A minor amendment has been made to the Reef Credit Standard Version 1.0 (s 1.3) to reflect this extension of the beta phase review period and the amended Reef Credit Standard has been reissued as the Reef Credit Standard Version 1.1.

We would like to thank all our stakeholders for your support and collaboration throughout the development of this exciting new initiative and look forward to your continuing input.

Reef Credit Scheme Update – December 2019

The Reef Credit Scheme reached several important milestones in 2019. We would like to thank all our stakeholders for your support and collaboration throughout the development of this exciting new initiative over the past year. Here are a few of the highlights:

Release of the Reef Credit Standard and Guide

Following extensive stakeholder engagement and public consultation in late 2018, we were pleased to announce the release of the Reef Credit Standard and Guide (Version 1.0) in March 2019 for use during the initial Beta phase (12 months) of the Reef Credit Scheme. Thank you to everyone who contributed a written submission or attended a workshop. Your input has ensured that these documents are soundly based and comprehensive.

Appointment of the Technical Advisory Committee

Since the release of the Standard and Guide, a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has been established to ensure a high level of integrity in Reef Credit Scheme processes and detailed Methodology Approval Procedures (MAPs) have been developed.

The TAC’s role includes advising the Reef Credit Secretariat on the MAPs, the selection of peer reviewers to assure their subject matter expertise and independence, and the implementation of the methodology approval process to ensure adherence to the MAPs including the approach to peer review and public consultation.

The TAC members are: Bob Speirs (Chair), Jane Waterhouse, and Robert O’Sullivan. We are delighted to welcome them.

Peer Review of Foundation Methodologies

We were excited to release two foundation methodologies for public consultation and peer review this year. The proposed Methodology for Accounting Reduction in Nutrient Run-off through Managed Fertilizer Application was released for comment in June and the proposed Methodology for Accounting Reduction in Sediment Run-off through Gully Rehabilitation was released for comment in October 2019.

Peer reviewers have been appointed by the Secretariat as subject matter experts to ensure the methodologies are conceptually rigorous, scientifically robust and practically workable. The peer review process has included broader public consultation on the proposed methodologies.

We received a large volume of detailed feedback during the public consultation and peer review process.  We are currently processing all the feedback received and expect to publish the results in the new year.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed a written submission on the proposed methodologies and to thank you for your patience.

Next Phase:

We look forward to the next stage in the development of the Reef Credit Scheme including the establishment of the Governing Body and the submission of the first Reef Credit Projects for approval.

Establishment of Governing Body

The role of the Reef Credit Interim Steering Committee will cease once the Reef Credit Scheme has transitioned from Beta phase to fully operational. Governance of the Reef Credit Scheme will then transfer to an independent not-for-profit company established in Queensland. The company will be governed by a skills-based Board of Directors, with the day-to-day administration of the Reef Credit Standard delegated to the Reef Credit Secretariat.

The Members of the not-for-profit company will be organisations and agencies that endorse the principles and objectives of the Reef Credit Scheme, Guide and Standard. The Board and Reef Credit Secretariat will continue to be supported on technical aspects of the Reef Credit Standard and Methodologies by the TAC.

We are currently finalising a constitution and governance charter for the new Governing Body. We look forward to establishing the Governing Body in the new year at which time the first Reef Credit Projects may be submitted for approval and the first Reef Credits issued.

Extension of Beta Phase and Review of the Reef Credit Standard and Guide

All components of the Reef Credit Scheme, including the governance arrangements, will be reviewed at the end of the Beta phase. The revised arrangements will then be formally ratified by the Board. The Reef Credit Standard and Guide will be reviewed at the conclusion of the Beta phase.

The Beta phase was due to end in December 2019. However, it has been extended until next year so that the development of the foundational methodologies can be settled before entering our fully operational phase. The additional time made available will allow for reflection and we will also be seeking your feedback as part of the review process.

We look forward to your continuing support and input into the development of this innovative Scheme.