Carbon Credits
March 13, 2023

Carbon Credits

Carbon credits are tradable units representing a reduction in carbon emissions, used to offset or balance out carbon footprint.

What are carbon credits?

Carbon credits are a form of currency representing one metric ton of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. They are traded in the open market and can be bought and sold by companies and individuals to offset their carbon emissions. By purchasing carbon credits, these entities can reduce their overall carbon footprint and help to reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.

Toitu sums it up "Carbon credits allow individuals, organisations and communities to balance the scales for those unavoidable emissions on the path to reduction."

How do carbon credits work in NZ?

Carbon credits in New Zealand are part of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which is the country’s leading policy for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Companies are required to purchase carbon credits under the ETS to offset their emissions. The market sets the value of the credits as they are traded openly. Businesses can buy credits from the government or other recognised offsetting projects. The corporation can then use these credits to reduce emissions and comply with the ETS. Companies must disclose their emissions under the ETS and risk fines if they exceed their allotted limits.

How does a project ‘offset’ carbon credits?

Projects can store, avoid or reduce carbon emissions: 

Store: They are typically forestry initiatives, with land designated particularly for reforestation. 

Avoid: They are often renewable energy initiatives, like wind farms, that replace fossil fuels.

Reducing: Often, this refers to technology that lessens the average level of emissions produced. 

Carbon credit price

How much is 1 tonne of carbon credits?

The price of carbon credits fluctuates depending on the market; check out the updated carbon price on our page. 

What factors influence carbon credit prices?

Supply and Demand: The price of carbon credits is determined by the forces of supply and demand. When the demand is greater than the supply, prices tend to rise; when the supply is greater than the demand, prices tend to fall. 

Regulatory Environment: Carbon credit prices are also affected by government regulations. For example, a government that imposes a cap on carbon emissions will raise the demand for carbon credits. 

Market Sentiment: Investor sentiment about carbon credits can also affect the price. If investors believe the price of carbon credits will rise, they may purchase more credits, increasing the cost. 

Market Structure: The market structure for carbon credits also plays a role in pricing. If most carbon credits are traded on an open market, market forces will determine the price. If the market is restricted, then the cost may be set by a government or other entity. 

Speculation: Speculation can also affect the price of carbon credits. If speculators anticipate that carbon credits will rise, they may purchase more credits, driving up the price.

Are carbon credits worth anything?

Yes, carbon credits act as a type of investment. They can be bought on the open market as a currency type and sold for a profit. 

Carbon credits for farmers

Farmers in New Zealand can sell carbon credits produced on their land by participating in the NZ ETS. The NZ ETS is a government-run programme that enables farmers to obtain carbon credits for lowering their emissions or storing carbon on their land through forests. Companies that have exceeded their emission limitations might purchase these credits from farmers, or farmers may choose to sell their credits on another platform. Carbon credits give farmers a financial incentive to plant forests to generate carbon credits as the NZ ETS allows them to profit from their efforts.

Who issues carbon credits?

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) is the primary source of carbon credits in New Zealand. The NZ ETS is a government-run programme allowing companies and individuals to trade carbon credits to reduce emissions. Credits are issued to participants who have reduced their emissions or who have invested in carbon-reducing technologies. Companies and individuals wishing to purchase carbon credits can do so through the NZ ETS or private carbon credit brokers.

What types of activities can be offset with carbon credits? 

Companies and individuals often purchase carbon credits to offset activities that generate high GHG emissions, such as the burning of fossil fuels, air travel, deforestation, manufacturing and product production.  

How can I purchase and trade carbon credits in New Zealand? 

Many authorised brokers and exchanges in New Zealand offer the ability to buy and sell carbon credits. The NZ ETS has a list of accepted brokers and platforms that can help with trading. Additionally, businesses like Carbon Match, MyNativeForest, and Carbon Trade Exchange provide services for trading carbon credits. Visit our carbon trading page to learn how to buy carbon credits with MyNativeForest today. 

What impact do carbon credits have on reducing emissions in New Zealand? 

The Ministry of Environment claims that the ETS is a key tool for meeting our domestic and international climate change targets, including the 2050 target set by the Climate Change Response Act 2002. 

Carbon credits have actively helped reduce carbon emissions in NZ. The ability to trade carbon credits is a financial incentive for corporations to cut emissions which can increase motivation significantly. The ability to purchase carbon credits from verified projects has dramatically helped reduce emissions. Many organisations cannot offset and reduce their emissions independently; carbon credits are an easy fix to this issue as they allow organisations to offset their emissions with credits from verified programs. 

What are the benefits of investing in carbon credits?

Financial gains: By lowering emissions and selling their credits on the carbon market, businesses, investors, and individuals can benefit financially.

Climate change mitigation: By lowering emissions and counteracting the consequences of climate change, investing in carbon credits is a means to fight climate change.

Enhanced reputation: Buying carbon credits can help companies and individuals establish a favourable reputation as environmentally responsible.

Support local communities: Carbon credits can financially support local communities, such as those in developing countries, working to reduce their emissions.

What are the risks associated with investing in carbon credits?

Market unpredictability: Carbon credits are exchanged on potentially very unpredictable markets. As with any investment, carbon credit prices are subject to substantial fluctuations, resulting in severe losses for investors.

Difficulty in valuation: Because the market for carbon credits is still relatively new, it is challenging to calculate the exact worth of carbon credits. Because of this, it can be challenging for investors to decide whether or not they are making an intelligent investment.

Regulatory risk: As different governments oversee the trade in carbon credits, the laws and regulations governing it may change. Such changes may significantly impact the market price of carbon credits and the possible return on investment.

Scam risk: As carbon credit investments are still in their infancy, there is a chance that unscrupulous people and businesses trying to take advantage of the industry may target investors.

How can I ensure that my carbon credits are credible and legitimate?

It is crucial to ensure the carbon credits you are purchasing are high-quality and legitimate. According to the NZ ETS, companies should: 

1. Examine the carbon credit initiative. Before investing in a project, be sure you understand it. Dig into the project's background, the individuals behind it, and the agencies and governments involved. Look for traceability and transparency. 

2. Verify that a reputable third-party accreditation agency, such as the Climate, Communities and Biodiversity Alliance, the Gold Standard, or the Voluntary Carbon Standard, or a national emissions trading scheme (like the ETS) accredits the carbon project. 

3. Verify that the project is listed with a reliable carbon registry, like the New Zealand Emissions Trading Register.

4. Request documentation demonstrating that the credits have undergone independent certification, such as registration in the ETS.

5. Verify that the project complies with all relevant laws and regulations.

For more information, check out the NZ ETS Ministry of Environment page. 


In conclusion, carbon credits play a significant role in New Zealand's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance our efforts to combat climate change. They give organisations and people a market-based incentive to lower their emissions while rewarding those who do so financially. While the current carbon credits system in New Zealand is still in its early stages, the government is working hard to ensure it is effective and successful. With the right policies in place, carbon credits could be a great way to reduce emissions and help New Zealand reach its climate change goals.