Certifying of carbon credits can advance hemp among Australian farmers

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Hemp can play a vital role in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) in Australia, conserve precious water resources, improve soil quality, and provide farmers with valuable carbon credits, according to a recent paper by James Vosper, GoodEarth Resources PTY Ltd, President of the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance.

Widespread cultivation of hemp can also boost economic development and employment in the country’s poorer rural areas, Vosper suggests.

“Industrial hemp is unmatched as a means of sequestering carbon dioxide and binding it permanently in the materials it is manufactured into,” according to the paper, released earlier this year.

Income for farmers

For farmers, hemp offers the potential to cash in on certified carbon credits which can be sold to the government under Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), a voluntary scheme that incentivizes the development of new practices and technologies aimed at reducing Australia’s overall CO2 footprint.

James Vosper will talk about “Industrial Hemp & Carbon Sequestration” at this year’s Hemp Health & Innovation conference and expo, June 4-5, Sydney, Australia

In addition to the ERF, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator (CER) is in the process of developing an exchange that will simplify the trading of carbon credits, demand for which is growing in the corporate sector, according to CER. The credits can also be sold in secondary markets.

“The accreditation of industrial hemp as a generator of carbon credits will make its cultivation more attractive,” Vosper suggests.

The carbon exchange will support businesses and governments in delivering against their voluntary CO2 emission reduction commitments at the lowest possible cost, according to CER. The agency estimates that by 2030, the exchange will save businesses up to $100 million in transaction costs associated with trading carbon credits.

Climate goals

The government in Australia, where farming contributes roughly 13% of CO2 emissions, has set a goal to reduce overall emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

With potential in such applications as paper, textile, green building materials and biofuel, food and animal feed, hemp can stimulate sustainable new industries and reduce Australia’s reliance on imports, Vosper said in the paper.

“Hemp can be grown on existing agricultural land (unlike most forestry projects), and can be included as part of a farm’s crop rotation with positive effects on overall yields of follow on crops,” Vosper writes. “It can therefore comply with the Australian Government’s plans to increase employment and improve the economic position of remote areas. This is especially relevant to the holders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land.”

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