ETS Register
May 9, 2023

ETS Register

Unlock the key steps to participate in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). From registration and compliance obligations to monitoring your emissions trading account.

What is the New Zealand Emissions Trading Register (ETR), and Why is it Important?

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Register (ETR) is a digital tool used in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) managed by the Environmental Protection Authority. It tracks and records transactions and serves as a verification tool for allocations, surrenders, transactions and transfers of emissions units for participants of the ETS.

The register is important in ensuring transparency and accountability of carbon credits in the ETS to ensure effective efforts in mitigating climate change. The tool monitors compliance with reduction targets and tracks the emission unit allowances to prevent the risk of double counting. It allows market participants to trade credits through a secure platform. 

For businesses participating in the ETS, the register is important in managing compliance obligations, tracking emissions and ensuring accuracy in their reporting. It is important for various stakeholders involved in climate action efforts as it helps ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, support informed decision-making, and encourage transparency and responsible emission trading activities. 

How Do I Register and Participate in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)?

Registering and participating in the ETS can be an extended process. Here is a simplified overview:

  1. Make an emission trading register account: Register an account with the NZ government. This involves the following steps
  1. To create an account, you’ll need a RealMe account
  2. You’ll need a digital map of your land 
  3. Proof of eligibility (size, age, species of trees), here’s a copy of the application form
  4. Send off to

For forestry participants, the Emissions Trading Register (ETR) holding account must match the registered participant's name, usually the landholder or forestry right holder (Individual, joint, trust, or company). Personal identification (driver's license or passport) is required for all named individuals.

  1. Know your obligations: once you have an account, you must know your obligations in the ETS. This includes the reporting requirements and compliance obligations.
  2. Monitor and report: accurately measure and report your emissions. This can involve conducting assessments, recording data and appropriately reporting this information to the NZ government.
  3. Acquire and manage emission units: Earn, buy, sell or transfer units under the ETS Register. Ensure you have enough units and fulfil your obligations by the deadline. 
  4. Stay updated with ETS changes: the ETS regulation can be changed, if so, monitor any announcements and make adjustments accordingly. Subscribe Here

Registration and participation can be complex, so seeking advice from professionals is recommended. Consultation is usually necessary to ensure efficient and accurate compliance with requirements. By registering your land with MyNativeForest, we can help manage this process for you!

Who can be an account holder in the emissions trading register?

The ETS Register allows and encourages numerous entities to register as account holders. 

Emission-intensive businesses: organisations that generate GHG emissions from production, transportation or other business-related activities.

Forestry participants: Forest managers and owners who participate in the ETS are obligated to report emissions and removals of their forests. Forestry participants are allocated units for the forests they grow. 

Emissions unit trackers: entities that trade, sell, or buy emission units. These include brokers, traders, and intermediaries.

Individuals: some individuals may be eligible to register depending on their involvement in trading activities. 

What Are the Reporting Requirements for Participants in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme?

Participants must comply with NZ ETS schemes which require meeting reporting obligations.

  1. Emissions reporting: participants must accurately measure, report and verify their emissions and removals. This involves submitting regular reports to the Ministry for the Environment detailing their emissions and removals for each required period. 
  2. Forestry accounting: Forest owners must also report an accurate record of their forest activities through the MPIs Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) portal Tupu-ake. This includes relevant information such as forest area, species, age, growth rate, and harvesting. This information is needed to determine carbon sequestration rates, which determine the allocation of emission units. 
  3. Unit surrender and retirement: participants sometimes need to retire emission units to comply with their obligations. 
  4. Record keeping: Participants must maintain detailed records and reports of their emission activity data, forestry information and emission transactions. These records are needed for audits and inspections by the Ministry for the Environment.

Failure to comply with participant requirements can result in penalties and fines. Therefore, seeking professional advice and consultation is important to uphold obligations and ensure accurate reporting and compliance with the scheme. 

How Can I Monitor My Emissions Trading Account on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Register?

Staying informed on the ETS register is essential. Your account helps keep you informed on your emission units, transaction and compliance status. Here are some key steps to help monitor your account. 

  1. Login: access the NZ ETS Register online with your account details. Account overview: Once logged in, you will see your emission unit balance, transactions and compliance status. 
  1. Account overview: Once logged in, you can view an overview of your emissions trading account, including your current emissions unit balance, transactions, and compliance status. This is a general snapshot of your current performance and helps you keep track of your progress in meeting obligations.
  2. Transaction history: You can find detailed transaction history to keep track of all your unit transactions, purchases, sales, transfers and surrenders. This helps ensure accuracy.
  3. Compliance status: The register shows the information on your status, indicating whether you have met your obligation or if any tasks remain. This helps you stay informed on your requirements and necessary actions. 
  4. Notification and alerts: The register offers notifications to help you stay updated on important events, deadlines and regulation changes. 

What Are the Compliance Obligations for Participants in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme?

We’ve discussed obligation and compliance, but what are they? Here are some key requirements for an ETS participant:

  1. Surrender obligation: Some participants must surrender a certain number of emission units to the government annually. This number depends on the participant's emissions reported under the ETS register and the year’s specific regulations.
  2. Reporting obligations: participants must report their emission data accurately. Data includes total emissions, emission reductions, and units acquired, held, transferred or surrendered during the relevant period. 
  3. Record-keeping obligation: Participants need to hold accurate records of all emission purchases, sales, transfers, and surrenders for a number of years. These records should be available for audit or inspection by authorities for verification purposes. 
  4. Compliance deadlines: deadlines are set by the ETS and must be adhered to. Failure to meet these deadlines may result in penalties. 
  5. Compliance audits: Audits may occur by the government for the purpose of verifying the accuracy and completeness of emission reporting. Passing these audits requires comprehensive and accurate records.
  6. Compliance penalties: Non-compliance with regulations can result in fines or other enforcement deemed appropriate by the government. 

What Are the Penalties for Non-Compliance with the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme?

Penalties can vary depending on the severity and nature of the non-compliance. Here are some potential outcomes:

Financial penalties: these may be based on the number of emission units not surrendered or the severity of the violation.

Disqualification from the ETS: Preventing participants from participating in the ETS or accessing the benefits.

Compliance orders: require participants to correct non-compliance.

Public naming: Information on non-compliance can gain media attention, resulting in reputational harm to the business.

Legal action: severe non-compliance can result in legal action, leading to criminal penalties and other legal consequences. 

What Are the Market Features of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, and How Do They Impact Participants?

Several market features impact participants. These are designed to ensure a functioning market and incentivise emission reduction efforts. Here are some key market features:

  • Auctions: for emission units where participants can bid for units that meet their obligation. The process helps determine the market price and provides a platform for participants to obtain additional units. Participants can buy, sell and manage their units. 
  • Secondary market trading: Participants can buy and sell units outside the auction process. This is based on supply and demand, which impacts the price the units are traded for. This can help generate revenue through trading activities.
  • Price control settings: The NZ ETS includes price control in the form of price caps, price floors, and a cost containment reserve. This stabilises the market and prevents extreme pricing changes. 
  • Allocation methods: free allocation and other methods are used to distribute emissions to participants. This levels the competition in the market
  • Compliance obligation: Compliance for participants includes surrendering emissions to cover liabilities. This impacts demand and the overall market dynamics to ensure participants have enough units to meet obligations. 

Understanding and navigating these features ensure effective participation in the market and impacts compliance costs, strategies and overall operational considerations. 

What Are the Key Dates and Deadlines for Participants in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme?

You need to be aware of multiple dates in the ETS to ensure compliance with requirements. 

  • Surrender Deadlines: Surrendering of emission units is usually set in April/May.
  • Auction dates: auctions dates are announced in advance, and participants should plan arrangements and organise strategies accordingly.
  • Reporting deadlines: reporting deadlines are set on an annual or biennial basis depending on the type and size of the industry. 
  • Compliance Plan Submission Deadline: deadlines are usually set for several months to ensure organisations have time to meet requirements.
  • Registry Account Management Deadlines: There are sometimes specific deadlines for the account management activities such as updates, transfers, and cancellations. 


To properly manage their emissions trading activities and adhere to their commitments to reduce emissions, participants must thoroughly understand the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the accompanying Emissions Trading Registry (ETR). Participants must stay informed and adhere to the guidelines set forth by the NZ ETS, which include enrolling and taking part in the programme, reporting emissions data, maintaining compliance obligations, and keeping track of important dates and deadlines. Participants can significantly reduce glasshouse gas emissions and support New Zealand's environmental sustainability goals by participating in the NZ ETS and using the ETR, which will help mitigate climate change. The NZ ETS also allows people to participate in emissions trading activities, purchase emissions units through auctions, and administer their emissions trading accounts to meet compliance obligations. Participants must stay informed and aware of managing the requirements and making wise judgements as the world of emissions trading and environmental regulations changes. Participants can support group initiatives to mitigate climate change and create a more sustainable future for New Zealand and beyond by adhering to the fundamentals provided in this beginner's guide. The information in this blog post should have helped you better understand the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and the function of the Emissions Trading Registry. Please feel free to browse the NZ ETS website if you have any additional queries, need more information, or seek advice from trained specialists.