Upcoming ‘blue carbon’ project will restore coastal wetlands, filter carbon dioxide to offset car emissions

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Image Credit: The Nature Conservancy Australia

A new carbon capture project, one that offsets the carbon emissions of leased vehicles by restoring coastal wetlands, will soon make its way to South Australia. 

Global environmental non-profit The Nature Conservancy announced today its partnership with Smartgroup, a leading national provider of novated car leasing, to push forth this “blue carbon project”.

Unlike most carbon project that involves reforestation, a blue carbon project involves sequestering and storing carbon dioxide in coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, salt marshes, and seagrasses through various restoration efforts.

These wetlands act as carbon filters that trap carbon into a reservoir and prevent them from washing out to the sea.

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The Smartgroup partnership will give car lessees the opportunity to contribute to the Adelaide Coastal Wetlands Restoration Project.

“Smartgroup is one of the first Australian companies to invest in a blue carbon project and their support will allow us to restore a coastal wetland to become an effective carbon sink,” said Dr Chris Gillies, the Nature Conservancy’s Program Director Oceans

Gillies noted that the potential of the blue carbon partnership was “extraordinary”.

“The restoration of a typical 360 ha coastal wetland could result in the capture of 9000 tonnes of carbon. That’s equivalent to taking 7000 cars off our roads for a year, making it an incredible opportunity to tackle climate change,” Gillies said.

According to Smartgroup CEO Tim Looi, the collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and Carbon Positive Australia complements Smartgroup’s existing carbon offset partnership with Greenfleet Australia.

“Customers offsetting vehicle emissions can be proud of what has been achieved with their support since we launched our carbon offset program in 2008,” Looi said.

“We hope to encourage even more of our customers to offset their car emissions and contribute to the important work of Greenfleet, Carbon Positive Australia and The Nature Conservancy.”

Currently, The Nature Conservancy is in talks with coastal ecologists for site planning. While a specific site has yet to be announced, the organisation said that the site will adjoin the northern boundary of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary and migratory shorebirds.