Biodiversity credits: an incentive to support conservation efforts

The Government is exploring whether a biodiversity credit system could help to incentivise the protection and restoration of native wildlife. 

What we are aiming to achieve

We have thousands of native species under threat or at risk of extinction in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Many of our most threatened species and habitats are found outside of conservation land. Current investment is falling short of what is needed to protect biodiversity and ecosystems.

Find out about the state of our native wildlife in Environment Aotearoa 2022

How biodiversity credit systems work

Biodiversity credit systems enable individuals and companies to invest in projects that contribute to protecting, restoring and enhancing biodiversity with confidence.

Landowners or project developers can obtain biodiversity credits for conservation projects following a certification process. 

Projects could potentially relate to biodiversity on land such as:

  • whenua Māori, farms and other private land
  • waterways
  • catchment areas
  • the marine environment.

Activities the system could support include:  

  • protecting or re-establishing forests 
  • restoring wetlands 
  • planting native trees and shrubs 
  • creating buffer zones near protected habitats  
  • connecting wildlife corridors  

Private companies, charities, investors and philanthropists could buy biodiversity credits from the landowners or an intermediary acting for landowners. Buying biodiversity credits would give them the opportunity to verifiably claim to be helping native wildlife. 

Reasons private companies fund conservation efforts

Many private companies provide funding to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s native wildlife to meet the expectations of customers and shareholders.

Many charities and wealthy individuals want to save our unique wildlife and feel a sense of responsibility.

Internationally and in Aotearoa New Zealand, there is an increasing awareness amongst the business community and wider public that we need healthy environments.

This is encouraging increased investment in our natural environment and the desire for impact from those investments.

Consultation on a biodiversity credit system for Aotearoa New Zealand

The Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation sought public feedback on: 

  • how a biodiversity credit system could be set up to support trust in biodiversity credits 
  • what role the Government could play in the system.

We will consider the feedback people provide before making recommendations to the Government on how a credit system could work and what conservation efforts qualify for biodiversity credits.

Find out more

The consultation closed on 3 November.