It’s 2030, imagine if…

Widely known to have stimulated the growth of Australia’s biodiversity market, the Cassowary Credit Scheme also ushered in a thriving ‘restoration industry’. This self-sustaining funding mechanism for restoration was launched alongside the Nature Repair Market in 2024, and adopted by the World Economic Forum in 2025, validating the scheme’s unique co-benefit design, for local economic development and environmental restoration. The adoption of the Cassowary approach ultimately streamlined the compliance and regulation burden on local restoration projects across the country, with over 50,000 hectares of unproductive land restored as habitat in Far North Queensland alone by 2027. Restoration career pathways for regional and First Nations communities are reflected in new research that shows the share of natural resource management talent in the workforce has increased by 45% in Australia since 2022.

Summary of solution

Emerging environmental markets present new opportunities to finance landscape-scale restoration to build environmental and social resilience. The Cassowary Credit Scheme is one of the world's only biodiversity credit schemes, and can attract investment in restoration from environmental markets. Unlocking the significant potential of market investment in biodiversity can overcome a key barrier to landscape scale restoration, by providing large scale, long term, consistent investment that realistically accounts for biodiverse restoration costs. Designing a process to quantify and unitise change in rainforest condition using a scientifically rigorous process is a complex and challenging undertaking which this project has achieved. Approved landholders can conduct restoration projects using the draft Cassowary Credit Scheme Restoration Methodology, a scientifically rigorous, yet practical and meaningful approach that describes requirements to measure changes in vegetation condition from restoration. This condition change is converted to credits, which can be traded in a voluntary biodiversity market. This product has the potential to rapidly increase investment to massively upscale restoration, building climate resilience in the Wet Tropics and supporting regional communities.

Why is this solution innovative

The Cassowary Credit Scheme is being considered as a potential pilot in the World Economic Forum Financing for Nature Initiative, in recognition of its leading innovative approach and one of only a very small number of high integrity biodiversity credit schemes developed globally. The scheme incentivises landholder participation in restoration, delivers economic development and jobs and increases land and vegetation health. The design of the Cassowary Credit Scheme has been informed by consultation with local communities and Traditional Owners. A requirement to engage local service providers, including Indigenous People, to deliver technical services to projects ensures flow on social and economic benefits to regional communities. Cassowary Credit projects will need to meet strict eligibility criteria and monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure environmental and social outcomes from projects are delivered, in accordance with the Cassowary Credit Scheme Restoration Methodology.

NRM have experience developing Australia's only other voluntary eco market with the Reef Credits and also, Eco Markets will be managing the governance. This is the strongest partnership group you could hope for in an emerging market for biodiversity credits like Australia.