Carbon4Good was SBN’s carbon offsetting programme until December 2014. Read on to find out why we are now directing businesses and individuals who want to offset emissions to our flagship stream-bank planting programme, Million Metres Streams.

For a number of years Sustainable Business Network has used the Carbon4Good programme as a voluntary and unaccredited carbon offset tool for businesses, where carbon is offset into local tree planting projects across New Zealand.  From 1 January 2015 we will be directing businesses and individuals who want to offset their emissions to the Million Metres Streams (MMS) project, instead of Carbon4Good.

The benefits of the MMS project are that it is a tax deductible donation, inspires community planting,enhances biodiversity and improves water quality, in addition to carbon offsetting, and the novel crowdfunding reaches out to a wider audience across New Zealand.   

SBN previously ran Greenfleet, an offsetting programme for transport emissions. We now run a work stream on Accelerating Smart Transport in NZ to help identify smart transport solutions, and we are directing all offsetting to the MMS project. 

What is the Million Metres Streams project?

MMS is New Zealand’s first conservation crowd-funding website, developed by SBN in collaboration with Enspiral, which aims to help restore the health of New Zealand’s waterways by speeding up and scaling up riparian (stream bank) planting. Donors purchase riparian planting by the metre, and the money is allocated to stream restoration projects that are listed on the website. As the name suggests, the goal is to reach a million metres of planted stream banks and beyond. Check out:

Why are we running the Million Metres Streams project?

In 2014 we launched MMS as our response to pressing issues of improving water quality, enhancing biodiversity, reducing runoff from paddocks into streams and developing a community response and call to action to protect and enhance waterways across New Zealand. We consider that every New Zealander has a role to play in restoring the health of our streams and catchments and that MMS is a simple and direct method to enable businesses and individuals alike to do their bit.

What’s the difference between Carbon4Good and Million Metres Streams?

Carbon4Good planted native trees on at risk land (such as hill country gullies prone to erosion).  Million Metres Streams plants native grasses, flaxes and trees along stream banks to support our waterway health.  The carbon sequestration calculation used in Carbon4Good was updated and amended to take into consideration stream bank planting. The outcome of the review was that carbon sequestration for riparian planting erred on the side of caution and was consequently costly.  As sequestration was not the primary focus of MMS we have not attributed a carbon figure per metre2 of planting, though of course it still occurs.

What’s happening with carbon offsetting in NZ?

The New Zealand context of carbon offsetting is undergoing some changes, that are not that clear nor easy to navigate for businesses. The calculation that we’ve been using for Carbon4Good would therefore have needed to alter in 2015 to reflect these changes.  Meanwhile, we feel there are many benefits to offsetting carbon via MMS, which considers carbon along with biodiversity, habitat restoration, water quality improvements and community action to catalyse change along our stream banks. 

Is the offsetting accredited?

The offsetting is voluntary and not accredited but it is traceable down to the land owner, tree and stream, and we can even share the GPS coordinates!  We work directly with field partners (regional councils, QEII Trust etc) so we know the projects are verifiable and accountable. Simultaneously we are working with businesses to understand the best way to offset and trade carbon, given the lack of national guidance and certainty on the issue.  We are happy to discuss this in more detail with you, please just ask.

Call for action to support our streams!

It would be great to have your business help make the rapid improvements that are needed for the health of our streams across New Zealand.  If you are interested in supporting MMS as a key sponsor or want to know more about our reasons for switching the programmes, please contact us directly as we’re happy to discuss this with you.