A new platform which aims to facilitate the trade in biodiversity credits and carbon credits will offer farmers a lucrative alternate income source, backers of the initiative told the Irish Farmers Journal this week.

Cork-based firm ConnectGreen claimed that its biodiversity and carbon offsetting platform will connect farmers and landowners with companies that are looking for “guaranteed, certified and verified biodiversity and carbon offsetting initiatives”.

ConnectGreen is not interested in intensively farmed grazing ground, but lands that were capable of being rewilded, rewet or planted with native woodland, CEO John Kelleher said.

The carbon sequestration values for the land, and the biodiversity credits will be verified and validated by third-party firms based in Dublin and Britain, he told this newspaper.

However, Kelleher would not name the companies involved in the verification process, when asked.

He explained that the verifications and validation would involve the use of satellite imaging rather than personnel on the ground.

Kelleher maintained that farmers could lease their carbon credits and biodiversity credits for one year or longer term, if they wished.

Lands would be subject to satellite monitoring for the duration of the carbon lease agreement, Kelleher confirmed, to ensure the properties were farmed in accordance with the contract.

Kelleher rejected suggestions that there was no mechanism available in Ireland to verify carbon sequestration levels, and therefore no reliable trading mechanism.

EU regulation

Changes to EU regulation in January meant there was now an established route to trade carbon credits and biodiversity credits, Kelleher maintained.

He claimed to have around 2,000ac on his books at the moment to trade, with most of the interest coming from foreign multinationals.

Up to €200/ac has been paid for the most suitable holdings with strong biodiversity, Kelleher maintained.

“This market is here, and this market in now,” he said.