We were thrilled to be onsite, north of Adelaide, for the launch of a new blue carbon project we’re supporting through The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC), one of the environmental partners of our Carbon Offset Program. We’re so excited to see what the TNC team will do to complete its first blue carbon coastal wetland restoration!
Smartgroup and TNC team up for their first blue carbon project
TNC launched more than 70 years ago as a small, community-based foundation. Since then, it has become one of the biggest environmental organisations in the world, focusing on areas including oceans, land and freshwater, wildlife, and climate change.
Here at Smartgroup, we’ve been facilitating the Carbon Offset Program since 2008, where novated leasing customers can opt-in to offset their vehicle emissions.
Smartgroup’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Haas, says:
“We’re committed to reducing the impact of climate change through carbon sequestration and to help create a sustainable environmental future.”
After great success with our first carbon offset partner, Greenfleet Australia, we expanded the program in 2020 to partner with TNC, investing in the first blue carbon project in Australia.
Blue carbon refers to the capture of carbon from the atmosphere by ocean and coastal ecosystems. Research indicates that marine ecosystems and wetlands could be better at storing carbon than forests or grassland – holding more of it for longer.
With our support, TNC worked with the South Australian Government to create a project to restore wetlands north of Adelaide, and in turn, help fight climate change.
As Alison Rowe, Managing Director of TNC Australia, says:
“Smartgroup is one of the first Australian companies to invest in a blue carbon project. Its support will allow the restoration of this site to become an effective carbon sink.”
TNC to restore wetlands at Webb Beach
The restoration will take place at Webb Beach, which sits near the northern edge of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary. The team believes it’s the right place to capture and store the most carbon, while having the greatest impact on the surrounding environment.
The bird sanctuary is a vital habitat for many Australian and migratory birds. For about half of the year, you can find roughly 15,000 shorebirds here, and this project will help expand their habitat.
TNC plans to improve and restore the natural flow of water in the area, allowing for more saltmarsh to grow. The project will also help protect threatened species, create more homes for birds to feed and roost, and establish new habitat for fish species.
Restoring the wetland is expected to capture plenty of carbon, too. For example, the restoration and long-term protection of a typical 250 ha coastal wetland means that, by 2100, approximately 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions will be removed from the atmosphere.
Smartgroup helps launch the new site
Sarah Haas and Sophie MacIntosh (our Chief Legal and Sustainability Officer) were delighted to attend the official site launch on 28 October 2022. Also present were the Deputy Premier of South Australia, Susan Close, and key TNC Australia representatives Alison Rowe and Stella Kondylas (Blue Carbon Coordinator), as well as the Chair of TNC’s Advisory Board, Rob McLean.
Minister Close and Alison Rowe gave speeches about the importance of corporate commitment and partnerships to tackle climate change. It was an honour to be acknowledged for our support, and to hear that it can act as a foundation for similar future investment in South Australia.
Attendees then viewed some resident shorebirds via telescope, before wrapping up with a tour of the project site.
Smartgroup’s Carbon Offset Program