Norton Rose Fulbright Australia today released the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Legal and Contracts Guide, which is now available here.

The Guide has been developed with the support of funding from the Australian Government, and draws upon our experience advising on the CFI legislation and working with clients to develop and implement CFI methodologies and projects. It builds on other resources released on the CFI, including our previous legal updates and Implementing the CFI from a market perspective: a guide for business released by the Carbon Market Institute and co-authored by Norton Rose Fulbright and RAMP Carbon (see here).

For those not familiar with the CFI, it is a voluntary carbon offset scheme which has now been in place for just over two years. It provides opportunities for the land sector and landfill operators to generate revenue by creating and selling carbon credits (known as Australian Carbon Credit Units or ACCUs) from projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon stored in vegetation or soils. As at December 2013, 101 CFI projects had been declared and the Clean Energy Regulator had issued over four million ACCUs from these projects.

With the release of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) Green Paper in December 2013, the Australian Government has signalled its intention for the proposed ERF, which forms a key component of its Direct Action Plan, to be implemented through the existing CFI and Clean Energy Regulator administrative arrangements. If these plans progress as planned during 2014, the CFI is likely to take centre stage in delivering carbon abatement to contribute to Australia's emission reduction targets.

In this context, and as the CFI continues to evolve and the market for ACCUs matures, the Guide will provide an integrated single resource for all existing and potential CFI participants. It aims to demystify the complexity of the CFI legislation, its supporting regulations and methodologies, and the contractual arrangements required for CFI transactions.

The Guide is divided into two parts:

  • Part A provides an explanation of the CFI legislation and the legal steps for undertaking a project and receiving ACCUs.
  • Part B provides an overview of the types of contracts which CFI participants or purchasers of ACCUs may need to enter into, and explains some of the standard contract terms which may be included in a contract to buy and sell ACCUs.

The Guide will play a key role in helping you to understand the CFI and to maximise your commercial opportunities and environmental outcomes as the carbon policy landscape and the CFI develops over the coming 12 months and beyond.

We will be holding a series of workshops on the Guide in capital cities around Australia, as follows:

Sydney Wednesday 26 February 2014

Melbourne Thursday 27 February 2014

Brisbane Thursday 6 March 2014

Perth Thursday 13 March 2014

Adelaide TBA

Darwin TBA

Please email Leanne Currie if you would like to pre-register to attend one of these seminars.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.