It pays to think outside the box
Biodiversity offsets are now integral to project approvals in most states in Australia and are a significant expense to developers, so at Niche we work with our clients to turn offset liabilities into positive commercial outcomes.
“Green tax” or commercial opportunity?
In many cases, offsets are viewed by project owners as a project overhead – a “green tax” offering no benefit in return. However, when offsets are strategically and collaboratively planned, particularly at an organisational level, there are opportunities for commercial benefits, including additional income streams.
“While offsets were once seen as an impediment to development, forward-thinking businesses are now strategically planning their offsets to leverage the opportunities that are available – and reaping the financial rewards,” says Dr Rhidian Harrington, Niche director and offsetting specialist.
Landholders in NSW can generate income by selling excess credits
“At a minimum, an offsetting strategy should aim to pay back the costs of a project’s offset requirements, but by thinking longer term and outside the box, developers in NSW can generate income by selling excess credits via the market-based scheme,” he continues.
Biodiversity offsetting strategies may aim to achieve one or more objectives:
- Cost neutrality – cover the management costs of the project’s offset
- Cost benefit – cover the offset costs of multiple projects in your organisation
- Cost share – share the set up costs of an offset between your project and your neighbour’s project
- Profit generation – create an additional income from the sale of excess credits
Buying and selling offset credits
Biodiversity offset credit trading is complicated but with the right advice from an accredited specialist project owners can source the credits they require to offset their project, or develop broader strategies to achieve better financial outcomes from offsetting. This may include setting aside land that is unsuitable for development as an offset site, or working with neighbouring projects to divide the costs of setting up offsets.Developers in NSW can generate income by selling excess credits via the market-based scheme.
Landholders with credits to spare can sell them to developers seeking to meet their project’s requirements, while retaining ownership of their land. Offsets are now required for almost all developments impacting more than 2 hectares of vegetation, so the opportunities to sell credits will be huge. As a broker of biodiversity credits Niche may be able to assist in matching buyers and sellers and achieve a positive outcome for both parties.
“Matching the offsetting needs of our development clients with the offsetting resources of our landowner clients provides exceptional commercial and environmental outcomes,” explains Rhidian.
Do you need a smart strategy for biodiversity offsetting?
At Niche, understanding biodiversity is our speciality and the application of that knowledge to biodiversity offsetting is a core area of our business. Our team includes accredited BAM assessors and senior staff experienced in delivering offsets in NSW, QLD and at the Commonwealth level.
We provide strategic advice to our clients to ensure that their offset requirements are met as efficiently as possible. We help our clients to find, secure and manage offsets, and we have experience in brokering the sale and purchase of offsets, helping our clients achieve project approval.
Pictured: Biodiversity offsetting site in Gunnedah, NSW