What are co-benefits?
Co-benefits are direct positive outcomes associated with carbon farming projects. These can be social, economic, First Nations or other environmental benefits, that are in addition to the carbon emissions avoided or stored.
These co-benefits derive from specified changes to land management or business practices that deliver real improvements in the condition of the environment, or measurable social outcomes such as new jobs. The valuing and payment for co-benefits in Queensland is one of the unique aspects of the Land Restoration Fund.
Examples of co-benefits include:
- Better water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef, further supporting the Reef’s resilience and health. These co-benefits might be delivered by improving the health or ecological condition of wetlands and coastal ecosystems, particularly in Great Barrier Reef catchments.
- Enhancing habitat re-growth for threatened species, both flora and fauna, such as glossy black cockatoos, the spotted-tailed quoll, mahogany glider, and the eastern bristle-bird. These co-benefits might be delivered by increasing diverse native forest cover.
- New income streams, more jobs for Queenslanders, allowing them to stay in rural communities. These co-benefits may foster social and economic resilience in rural, regional and remote communities such as supporting connection to Country for First Nations peoples.
The governance of crediting schemes for carbon and other environmental or social outcomes (co-benefits) typically pivots around a core document known as a standard. A standard is a set of project design, monitoring, and reporting criteria against which the carbon offsetting activities and/or projects’ environmental and social co-benefits can be verified and certified.
The Land Restoration Fund (the Fund) has established its own strong standard for co-benefits . The standard includes the framework used to verify co-benefits under three categories:
- Environmental – improving biodiversity, habitat for threatened species, soils, wetlands, and water systems.
- Social and Economic – improving the resilience and strength of regional communities by providing direct and indirect jobs, and more investment into Queensland regions.
- First Nations – providing on-country business opportunities as well as new service delivery businesses and supporting cultural connections.
Projects supported by the Fund may deliver co-benefits from one, two, or all of the above categories.
For more information about the co-benefits the Fund will invest in, see the Priority Investment Guidelines for the 2020 Investment Round.