Carbon facts


What is a Carbon Credit?

A carbon credit represents a tonne of emissions avoided by using new methods or more efficient technologies to achieve the same outcomes. A carbon credit only counts as a true offset when it is formally retired and therefore cannot be resold.

What sorts of Carbon Credits are available?

The following units are accepted under Australia’s National Offset Standard for the purposes of voluntary carbon offsetting:

  1. Australian Emissions Units (AEUs);
  2. Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) except long term (lCERs) and temporary (tCERs);
  3. Emission Reduction Units (ERUs);
  4. Removal Units (RMUs);
  5. Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VERs) issued by the Gold Standard*;
  6. Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) issued by the Voluntary Carbon Standard*;

* Where  credits are issued for reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) and other agriculture forestry and land use (AFOLU)   projects,  they must apply methodologies approved under the Standard.

  1. Offsets generated from emissions sources in Australia not counted toward Australia’s Kyoto Protocol target, where they meet eligibility criteria and use a methodology that has been approved under the Standard. 

The Government reserves the right to amend eligible offset units as required to reflect carbon market developments both internationally and domestically.   The list of eligible offset units will be reviewed regularly and is expected to change over time.

Further information on processes for having methodologies approved will be provided under the supporting administrative framework for the Standard.

To download a copy of the Standard click here

What sorts of Carbon Credits does TFL Carbon use?

We choose to use Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) which have been verified through an accredited Carbon Standard.  VCUs are accepted under the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard. Trees For Life looks for VCUs generated through low impact small scale renewable energy projects such as run of river hydro or wind farms.

How are offsets retired?

Carbon credits are voluntarily surrendered and retired into a registry. We use Markit Environmental Registry.

How can I check that my offsets are retired?

When you fund the retirement of VCUs through the TFL Carbon program you will be issued with a certificate generated by us.  Each VCU has its unique serial number as an identification which can be found on your certificate.  We retire the VCUs under our name on your behalf. You can check that we have done that by going to the public areas of the Markit Registry where you will find your name listed under our retirement records.


How do trees reduce carbon?

Planting trees helps remove carbon already accumulated in the atmosphere. They are one of the few means available to reduce this ‘historic’ carbon. As plants grow they absorb and store carbon.

To produce their food, trees absorb and lock away carbon dioxide in their wood, roots and leaves. A forest is a carbon storage area or a ‘sink’ that can lock up as much carbon as it produces. This locking-up process ‘stores’ the carbon as wood.

A combination of carbon reduction and carbon storage is needed to solve the world’s carbon problem.

How much carbon does a tree store?

The carbon storage capacity of plants varies across species and climate zones. There is considerable research being undertaken to find the most accurate means of measuring the carbon stored by different species over their lifetimes. Factors to consider include rate of growth and longevity.

How does Trees For Life estimate the carbon storage capacity of its plantings?

Our starting point in estimating the carbon storage capacity of each site is the National Carbon Accounting Toolbox (NCAT) which is a set of tools for tracking greenhouse gas emissions and carbon stock changes from land use and management and the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) that is derived from Australia's National Carbon Accounting System. These tools rely in part on data already entered. Much of this is based on monoculture plantings on the eastern seaboard.

We supplement the NCAT data with research results specific to native vegetation plantings in South Australia in order to arrive at a figure.

Our carbon planting calculations are based on the assumption that 5 Kyoto compliant trees will sequester around 1 tonne of CO2 over thirty years. We believe this is a conservative estimate.