More agribusinesses are exploring opportunities across sustainable practices and carbon markets to advance their environmental goals while improving farm assets and productivity. 

In a landmark transaction for Australia’s agriculture sector and the domestic carbon market, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has prepaid for a portion of the carbon credits that will be generated by a carbon credit project in Western Australia. 

This $1.7 million transaction supports Forever Wild, an ecological and social enterprise, and Corporate Carbon, a carbon project service provider, to acquire and manage pastoral leases for cattle stations at Narndee Station and Mount Magnet in Western Australia, along with an associated carbon credit project. 

Under the financing structure terms, the bank has prepaid for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) that will be delivered over a five-year period. 

Announced on National Ag Day, the transaction is one of the first known private ACCU pre-payment deals in Australia, and supports the development of carbon credit supply from the domestic agriculture sector.

“CBA is having in-depth conversations with agribusinesses about how they can prosper from achieving a more sustainable future,” said Mike Vacy Lyle, CBA Group Executive Business Banking. 

“We are here to support agribusinesses to advance their decarbonisation journeys and enhance the quality of their natural assets while improving productivity.

“To do this, CBA is building on our track record of supporting agribusinesses with innovative sustainable financing solutions, from Australia's first Agri Green Loan and first Sustainability Linked Loan for the farming sector, to the first sustainability-linked inventory facility.”

Alex Toone, CBA's Executive General Manager, Commodities, Trade and Carbon, said CBA was committed to being a leader in the development of Australia’s carbon market and helping more agribusinesses unlock opportunities to participate in decarbonising the economy.

“As more businesses make net-zero commitments, demand for Australian Carbon Credit Units continues to increase, making supply a critical priority,” Mr Toone said. 

“Farmers need the support of a trusted partner to understand and navigate the nascent carbon market, manage risks and access financing to propel new project development. CBA is committed to playing that role.”

Gary Wyatt, Managing Director of Corporate Carbon, said the transaction struck an important balance between advancing sustainability while supporting a profitable and viable agricultural economy.

“The properties will remain productive cattle stations, while also delivering better carbon, environmental and biodiversity outcomes,” Mr Wyatt said. “This is the very beginning and we believe there are many more opportunities to make this a normal way of doing business in the agri sector.”

Fiachra Kearney, Chief Executive Officer of Forever Wild, said the organisation is committed to achieving measurable sustainability improvements, while maintaining a productive business.

“We are committed to conserving biodiversity, ecological systems, the cultural heritage of First Nations peoples and the broader community,” Mr Kearney said.

“Agribusinesses need to work towards more regenerative and restorative ways of doing business. It’s all about valuing our natural and cultural assets and understanding that the business case is truly viable. Together we can make it happen.”  

For editors:

Each Australian Carbon Credit Unit represents 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent stored or avoided by a project registered with the Clean Energy Regulator.

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