Frequently Asked Questions

General

We raise money to plant native trees and vegetation on degraded land across Australia. The trees we plant are protected and can capture carbon for many years, allowing us to generate reforestation carbon offsets. We educate everyone on how to measure and reduce their carbon footprint. We encourage making a new set of choices that will deliver a cooler climate and biodiverse habitats for flora and fauna.

Yes. Carbon Positive Australia is a trading name of the Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund. We are a not-for-profit environmental charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. You can find out more here.

Your funds will go towards supporting our charitable objectives which are planting native trees and providing educational resources. We also have fundraising and administration costs which a portion of your donation supports. To see a breakdown of expenses, check out our latest Year in Review report.

Yes. Donating to tree planting projects or revegetation offsets through Carbon Positive Australia is tax deductible for all contributions over $2. To claim a deduction with the ATO you must keep proof of your contribution in the form of a receipt or bank statement. Please note that the purchase of any Carbon Positive Australia merchandise is not tax deductible.

Absolutely. For all donations made via our website or over the phone you will receive a tax receipt directly to your email. If you have any questions regarding your receipt, contact us at admin@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au or on 1300 857 970.

In order to ensure high quality governance, some administration costs are required. Our funding model is such that all of our donors contribute to our administration costs. We try to keep these costs to a minimum where possible.

We do not have a dedicated volunteer program. However, opportunities to volunteer for our organisation or our partner organisations will be advertised on our website.

Yes! Research is a large component of the work we undertake at Carbon Positive Australia. We are currently undertaking a 5-year research project called CarbonCareTM, which is supported by Lotterywest. We also undertake on-site research at many of our planting sites. Recent projects have included salinity research (supported by a National Landcare Program grant) and Sandalwood demonstration sites.

CALCULATOR

Our calculator is a free tool that allows you to calculate and understand your personal carbon footprint. The calculator is broken down into six main categories (Travel, Energy, Water, Transport, Food & Drinks, and Waste). You can choose to include any or all of these categories. By inputting data about your lifestyle and resource consumption, the calculator will determine the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide) you have produced. The calculator is a retrospective tool in that it looks at a past period – you can choose to answer for a 1 month, 3 months or 12 month period. It provides facts, tips, and practical steps to help you reduce and offset your footprint.

5 to 10 minutes and a desktop or mobile device with an internet connection. For the most accurate calculation, we recommend using your personal source data (e.g. electricity bills, water bills, kilometres travelled). If you don’t have this data or are looking for a fast calculation, we have included relevant state and Australian averages wherever possible – look out for the “Use Average” buttons.

Your carbon footprint is calculated retrospectively based on your lifestyle and resource consumption for a specific period. You can choose to calculate your carbon footprint for a past month, 3 months or year.

Wherever possible, the calculator uses emissions factors published by the Australian Federal Government and data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Data is updated annually in line with the latest data releases. To find out more about specific calculations, check out the “How Did We Calculate This?” section in the calculator footer.

The average Australian household (2.6 people)has an annual carbon footprint of approximately 15-20 tonnes of CO2e. According to the UN, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 we must limit our per-person emissions to 2 tonnes CO2e per year. That means if you have a family of 4, for example, you should be aiming for 8 tonnes CO2e per year.

You can calculate your footprint for specific travel events like a road trip, flight, or cruise using our Carbon Footprint Calculator. Select any time period and enter your data as usual.

If you would like to calculate the footprint of an event like a wedding, party or music festival, please contact us at community@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au and we will be able to assist you.

Yes, to an extent. The factors that contribute to the carbon footprint of a small business can be similar to that of a household. If your business is predominantly office-based, has less than 10 employees and does not manufacture and/or import or export goods, our calculator should fit your needs.

If your business is more complicated than this, we encourage you to contact us at community@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au so we can assist you with your calculation.

If your residence has solar panels installed please enter your Total Imported kWh for the period in the electricity section of the calculator. This figure represents the electricity you have consumed from the grid and does not include the clean energy consumed from your home solar system. You can learn more about our approach to accounting for solar panels in the “How Did We Calculate This?” section in the calculator footer.

Electric vehicles are not powered by liquid fuels and as such do not directly produce carbon emissions. To account for the emissions from charging your electric vehicle, make sure you complete the electricity section of the calculator.

If you charged your vehicle at home, the electricity consumption will be included in your total kWh consumption (found on your electricity bill). If you have solar panels, see the previous FAQ to find out how to account for this.

If you charged your vehicle outside the home, you will need to consider whether this was from a renewable source (e.g. a solar charging station) or non-renewable (e.g. at a friend’s house who uses grid electricity). If you charged your car from a non-renewable energy source, you should include the kWh consumption in the electricity section of the calculator.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. The simplest way is to divide the consumption value for each utility by the number of people occupying your house to determine your “share”. For example, if your total electricity consumption for the period was 10,000 kWh and there are 4 people in your household (including you), your “share” is 2,500 kWh.

To complete the water section of the calculator you will need to know your water consumption for the period in kL. Your property manager may be able to provide this information, otherwise, we suggest using the relevant state average, adjusting as appropriate. 

To calculate emissions from Food & Drinks, our calculator requires you to enter your weekly spend on groceries, dining out and take away. If you grow your own fruit and/or vegetables you should naturally see a reduction in your weekly food spend (as you no longer have to buy this from the shops). Assuming your consumption of other Food & Drink categories remains the same, growing your own food will reduce your weekly spend, and in turn your carbon footprint.

The emissions from walking, running, skating, and cycling are essentially zero, therefore using these as modes of transport is a great way to lower your carbon footprint. You only need to enter data for transport methods like cars, taxis, planes, buses and trains in your carbon footprint calculation.

The process of creating and transporting clothes, cosmetics, appliances, and other household items creates carbon emissions. These are known as “embodied emissions”.

Embodied emissions are difficult to quantify as there are many variables at play (e.g. what material was used? what was the intensity of the production process? how far did it travel to reach you?).

At the moment, there are very few reputable sources for embodied emissions factors. This is likely to improve over time as businesses and consumers are more aware of their carbon footprint, however for now our calculator does not include these emissions.

The best thing you can do to reduce your footprint from these items is to reduce, re-use and recycle. Before you make a new purchase, consider whether you could borrow from a family member, friend or neighbour. If not, could you find it second-hand? Buy local to reduce transportation emissions and support companies that implement sustainable and ethical practices.

The calculator is full of tips and practical steps to help lower your footprint. For more, sign up to our newsletter here.

Yes! Create an account here to save your calculations to track your progress over time.

Once you have completed your calculation, you have the option to offset your footprint for the period. It costs $18 to offset 1 tonne of CO2e which means the average Australian household could offset their entire yearly emissions for less than $300.

Your offsets help to fund our range of high quality, native restoration projects. Our planting projects not only sequester carbon but also restore Australia’s habitat and natural biodiversity. Where possible, our projects follow methodologies developed by the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Several of our projects are also registered with the ERF.

Remember, you can always choose to offset over time by splitting your payment into instalments – some action is better than none.

In most cases, yes! Carbon Positive Australia is a registered charity with deductible gift recipient status. Your offsets support our native revegetation projects and contributions over $2 are tax deductible.

If you are donating on behalf of a business, it may be a little more complicated and we recommend contacting us at community@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au or on 1300 857 970.

We have a range of quick offsets available here. These offsets have been calculated using averages for a range of activities like electricity use, flights and vehicle use.

Tree planting

The value of trees cannot be understated. They filter air, sequester carbon, provide oxygen, conserve oil and water, prevent desertification, and protect and stabilise ground cover. In Australia, native trees assist in making our agricultural areas more sustainable – preventing salinity and soil erosion, and providing shade, shelter, food, and habitat to native animals. Trees also have a vital role in addressing climate change. As they grow, they uptake carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, using the energy to grow their trunks, stems, leaves, and roots. 

It really depends. Generally, carbon uptake is measured on a per-hectare basis, rather than a per-tree basis. The amount of carbon sequestered per hectare depends on tree growth, which depends on the species and the planting density. In high rainfall zones with good quality soil, it may take 3-5 trees over 25 years to remove 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. In lower rainfall zones with poorer soil, it could take as many as 15 trees.

No. We plant shrubs too! Our aim is to restore the environment using a biodiverse mix of native trees and shrubs, representative of a pre-European settlement landscape.

We plant a biodiverse mix of native trees and shrubs tailored to each planting site. All species planted are indigenous to the site, and where possible seed is collected from or around the planting area. Species commonly found on our planting sites include Eucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia, and Allocasuarina.

The process of native restoration requires planting seedlings, direct seeding, and natural regeneration. Most of our planting sites are on private land, but in some cases, they are in reserves. If you would like to find out more about where your funds have been allocated, please visit our projects page. If you would like to visit one of our planting sites, please get in touch.

There may be opportunities to plant trees with our project partners. Please contact us at admin@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au for more information.

Our projects are regularly monitored to measure survival and growth rates. If survival rates are low, the area is generally restocked during the appropriate season.

Our projects

We plant on cleared and degraded land across Australia, with a particular focus on the Western Australian wheatbelt. We mostly work on rural land where large areas have been cleared for agriculture. You can find out more about our current and past projects here.

To source land for planting projects, we work with private landholders and other environmental organisations. A site has to meet our project requirements, which include registration of a Carbon Covenant on the land to legally protect the trees.

We plant a biodiverse mix of native trees and shrubs tailored to each planting site. All species planted are indigenous to the site, and where possible seed is collected from or around the planting area. Species commonly found on our planting sites include Eucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia, and Allocasuarina.

We try and work with the natural cycles of the species we are planting. The process begins in spring, when we collect seeds from endemic species close to, or on, the planting site. Over the following months, these seeds are grown on in local nurseries to become seedlings. In autumn/winter, seedlings are hand planted at the site by our planting teams. Some species are also direct seeded (i.e., planted as seeds). In most cases, we only plant once a year in line with natural cycles.

Generally, we do not water the seedlings (or seed) once they are in the ground, relying on natural rainfall and planting methods that support the growth and resilience of the species planted. Through our consultants, we have developed methodologies that support growth in conditions such as high salinity and low rainfall.

Our projects are regularly monitored to measure survival and growth rates. If survival rates are low, the area is usually restocked. Landholders are responsible for maintaining fences and firebreaks. Once the trees are established (generally around 3 years after planting), landholders may lightly graze sheep on the site so long as there is no damage to the trees and shrubs.

For each planting project we enter into a legal agreement with the landholder(s) to ensure that the trees are protected for at least 25 years, and up to 100 years, and that the rights to count carbon are secured by Carbon Positive Australia. Projects must be maintained and legally protected for this period and landholders might be liable for damages if they breach this agreement. This protection is valid regardless of change in ownership of the land.

To measure the carbon uptake from our planting sites we use the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) and/or on-ground measurements. FullCAM is a calculation engine developed by the CSIRO and approved by the Australian Department of Environment to measure carbon uptake for the generation of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). On-ground measurement of carbon is based on detailed growth models using allometric equations to reflect the amount of carbon stored in the forest. Carbon Positive Australia has contributed field measurement data from our plantings as part of an on-going CSIRO project to update FullCAM.

We take all actions within our control to protect our projects and many of the native species we plant are able to withstand and recover from fire and other natural events. We have access to offsets from both existing and future plantings. Depending on the time of purchase, reforestation offsets may be allocated from trees already planted, or trees due to be planted next winter.

Carbon offsetting

A carbon offset (or ‘carbon credit’) represents the prevention, reduction, or removal of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) from the atmosphere. Offsetting carbon allows us to compensate for the unavoidable carbon emissions generated in everyday life.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global warming potential. This is done by converting amounts of other gases to the amount of carbon dioxide with the equivalent global warming potential. For example, the global warming potential for methane is 28. This means that the emission of 1 metric tonne of methane is equivalent to 28 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Carbon offsets are generated from projects that either prevent, reduce, or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. There are many types of carbon project activities including reforestation, renewable energy, fuel switch and energy efficiency. Reforestation is one of the only carbon project activities which REMOVES carbon from the atmosphere.

We generate offsets by planting native vegetation on degraded farmland. Trees and shrubs remove or ‘sequester’ carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into organic carbon as they grow. Reforestation is one of many nature-based solutions to combat climate change and comes with a host of ‘co-benefits’ such as creating habitat for native fauna, increasing biodiversity, and improving soil quality.

Everyone! Individuals, families, organisations, and governments alike can offset their carbon emissions.

To offset your emissions, you first need to measure your total emissions for a given time period – this is known as your ‘carbon footprint’. Our free online Carbon Calculator will help you with this.

The next step is to make changes where possible to reduce your emissions. This is often easier than you think and can be as simple as catching public transport more or making sure all the lights are off when you leave the house.

Unfortunately, some emissions are unavoidable. For those emissions you cannot reduce, you can offset.

When you offset with us you are funding the planting of native trees which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

As an individual, family, or household the easiest way to calculate your carbon footprint is to use our free online Carbon Calculator. Your carbon footprint includes emissions from different aspects of your life including travel, energy use, diet, and water consumption for a given historic period. Organisations often have additional emissions sources. For assistance calculating your organisation’s carbon footprint get in contact with us.

Less than you think! One offset costs $18, therefore the average Australian household could offset their entire yearly emissions for less than $300. Remember, you can always offset a portion of your footprint, or offset over a period of time – some action is better than none.

Carbon neutrality is a state that occurs when net greenhouse gas emissions are equal to zero. In other words, you offset as much as you emit.

Becoming carbon positive means making a new set of choices that will deliver a cooler climate and deliver environmental co-benefits. It means going beyond carbon neutrality by making additional ‘positive’ contributions to the environment. This may be in the form of offsetting more than you emit, switching to 100% renewable energy, and/or protecting our old-growth forests and rivers. You can learn more about becoming carbon positive here.

Where possible, our planting sites adhere to methodologies developed by the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Several of our projects are also registered with the ERF (some projects are registered under Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund and some under Carbon Positive Australia).

To measure the carbon uptake from our planting sites we use the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) and/or on-ground measurements. FullCAM is a calculation engine developed by the CSIRO and approved by the Australian Department of Environment to measure carbon uptake for the generation of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). On-ground measurement of carbon is based on detailed growth models using allometric equations to reflect the amount of carbon stored in the forest. Carbon Positive Australia has contributed field measurement data from our plantings as part of an on-going CSIRO project to update FullCAM.

Verified offsets are those for which the underlying carbon project has been validated and verified by an accredited third party. Unverified offsets are issued by the carbon project developer using relevant methodologies but are not independently verified.

The majority of our offsets are unverified. However, where possible we register our projects with the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) and undertake external monitoring in line with methodologies under the ERF scheme. If you specifically require verified offsets, contact us at admin@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au or on 1300 857 970, as these are not available on our website.

In most cases, individuals and organisations purchasing offsets for voluntary purposes can purchase unverified offsets. Organisations purchasing offsets for compliance purposes must purchase verified offsets (the specific type of offset will be determined by the relevant legislation or agreement). If you are unsure or have further questions, contact our team.

Voluntary offsetting occurs when individuals, households, organisations and/or governments offset their emissions voluntarily (i.e., there is no legal requirement to do so). The alternative to this is offsetting for compliance purposes. Some organisations and governments must account for and offset their emissions by law. This is regulated by mandatory national, regional, or international carbon reduction regimes.

To become carbon neutral, you must measure your emissions for a specific time period and offset this amount by purchasing carbon offsets. You are then, technically, carbon neutral. 

 In Australia, you can also opt to be certified as Carbon Neutral under the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. To be certified by Climate Active organisations must:

  • Calculate their emissions;
  • Develop and implement an emissions reduction strategy;
  • Purchase offsets;
  • Arrange independent validation; and
  • Publish a public summary of their carbon neutral claim.

For more information on becoming carbon neutral (or even better, carbon positive!) contact us at admin@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au or on 1300 857 970.

landholders

Generally, we prefer our planting sites to be at least 20 hectares. However, this can be the total area over adjoining properties if neighbouring landholders would like to participate. If you’re interested in having a planting planting project on your land, get in touch! 

We work on different land types across Australia and tailor our planting mix to suit the native environment. In general, we prefer to work on land that has been cleared prior to 1990 with rainfall of 200mm+ per year.

The value of trees on rural land cannot be understated. Major benefits include:

  • Reducing and mitigating salinity and water logging
  • Reducing and mitigating erosion
  • Providing a natural wind break to protect crops and livestock
  • Restoring habitat for native flora and fauna
  • Providing shade and shelter for livestock
  • Increasing the ecological and financial value of the land

No. Carbon Positive Australia pays for all planting costs including site preparation, seedlings, planting, monitoring, and infill planting where necessary.

To plant trees, we use funds donated by individuals and groups. This funding meets the planting and monitoring costs for your site. In some instances, we are able to offer incentives to landholders to plant with us. This depends on a range of factors. For more information, contact us here.

As a landholder you are responsible for the following:

  • Maintaining fences and firebreaks;
  • Taking all reasonable steps to manage pests which may damage trees;
  • Not harming the trees, or allowing other to harm the trees;
  • Contacting Carbon Positive Australia if there is a threat to the trees;
  • Allowing our site managers reasonable access; and
  • Taking adequate fire risk precautions in compliance with local fire management bylaws and guidelines.

Once all obligations are fulfilled by both parties, nature can take its course.  We will need to access the site to monitor growth over the first 3 years. If the survival rate is low at first monitoring, we will assess whether to restock the area.  Site management after the planting will be documented in the contract.

A Landowner Agreement will need to be signed to allow us to register a Carbon Right and a Carbon Covenant over the planted area(s). The Carbon Right and Carbon Covenant affect only the land which has been planted and is defined in a surveyed Deposited Plan with GPS coordinates.

The Carbon Right assigns all carbon sequestered to Carbon Positive Australia, which means that the landowner cannot sell carbon credits from the site. The Carbon Right is an encumbrance registered on the land title which does not remove the landholder’s ownership of the land or the trees or affect any other benefits and products from the trees. 

The Carbon Covenant protects the planted area, ensuring “permanence” of the project. The length of the Covenant is nominated upon commencement of the project and is either 25 of 100 years.

If there is a mortgage on the land, then the financial institution will need to consent to the registration of the Carbon Right and Carbon Covenant. The Carbon Right and the Carbon Covenant remain over the site regardless of change in ownership of the land.

A landowner might be liable for damages to Carbon Positive Australia if they breach their obligations. Carbon Positive Australia’s main concern is to ensure that trees are not intentionally damaged or removed.

Absolutely. However, the Carbon Right is an encumbrance registered on the land title which, along with the Carbon Covenant, remain over the planting site regardless of change in ownership.

Only sheep are allowed for light grazing after three years, if there is no damage to the trees and shrubs.

It is the responsibility of the landholder to take adequate precautions regarding fire risk in compliance with local fire management bylaws and guidelines. The landholder is not liable for loss or damage to trees caused by accidental fire. Where loss due to fire is caused by, or contributed to, by any act or omission by the landholder, then the loss should be covered by the landholder’s public liability insurance.

Carbon Positive Australia would seek to transfer its assets and all Carbon Rights and Carbon Covenants to another not-for-profit institution in Australia which has similar environmental objectives.

Bushfires

Unfortunately, all bushland is susceptible to fire, however we take all actions within our control to protect our projects.

We prepare fire management plans for each of our planting sites. This includes outlining any potential fire risks or hazards, the location of fire breaks, and the accessibility of water supplies and fire fighting equipment. Landholders are responsible for maintaining firebreaks. We ensure that we plant only native trees and shrubs. Many of these species are adapted to survive occasional bushfires.

We take all actions within our control to protect our projects and many of the native species we plant are able to withstand and recover from fire and other natural events. We have access to offsets from both existing and future plantings. Depending on the time of purchase, reforestation offsets may be allocated from trees already planted, or trees due to be planted next winter.

Thankfully, none of our projects were affected during the horrific 2019/20 fire season. In 2014, a bushfire swept through one of our sites in South Australia. You can read more about the fire and how the site recovered here.