What is the Australian Carbon Credit Unit Scheme?

The Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme encourages people and businesses to run projects that reduce emissions or store carbon, for example by:

  • using new technology
  • upgrading equipment
  • changing business practices to improve productivity or energy use
  • changing the way vegetation is managed.
Emissions reduction
ACCU

Australian carbon credit units

ACCUs are a key part of the Australian carbon market. Learn about ACCUs and find out how to earn, buy and sell them.
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Emissions reduction
ACCU

How to participate

Follow these steps to learn how to run an Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme project.
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Project and contract register

Use the ACCU Scheme project and contract register to find out more about the projects being run in Australia.

Go to the register

Popular topics

Emissions reduction
ACCU

Eligibility for the ACCU Scheme

Find out the requirements and criteria you must meet to register a project under the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme.
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Emissions reduction
ACCU

ACCU Scheme methods

Learn about the different methods available for ACCU Scheme projects.
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Emissions reduction
ACCU

Understanding carbon abatement contracts

Learn more about the different types of carbon abatement contracts and how they work, including their terms and conditions.
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How it works

Under the ACCU Scheme, participants run projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse emissions (emissions avoidance) or remove and store carbon from the atmosphere (sequestration). Participants can earn one ACCU for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO₂-e) emissions their project stores or avoids.

Participants can sell ACCUs on the secondary market or to the Australian Government by entering a carbon abatement contract.

On the secondary market, private buyers purchase ACCUs to voluntarily offset their emissions or meet compliance requirements.

Buyers also include Australia's highest emitting facilities under the Safeguard Mechanism. They're required to keep emissions below set baselines and can do this by buying and surrendering ACCUs. Safeguard facilities can also earn ACCUs by running their own projects.

Who can participate

Individuals, sole traders, companies, local, state and territory government bodies and trusts can participate in the ACCU Scheme.

For example, industry, business, landholders, farmers and First Nations people can run projects to reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, avoid emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, or convert methane and more. They can also store carbon or avoid emissions from agricultural activities, including:

  • reforestation
  • revegetation
  • savanna burning
  • managing beef cattle herds
  • restoring blue carbon ecosystems
  • restoring rangelands
  • improving soil carbon
  • protecting native forest or vegetation at risk of clearing.

Find out more about the different project methods.

Non-carbon benefits

As well as earning ACCUs that can be sold to generate income, there are other key benefits for running projects.

These can be environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits and include things like:

  • improving water quality, reducing soil erosion and reducing salinity through revegetation activities
  • improving farm resilience and sustainability by diversifying land use
  • improving farm productivity by replenishing soil's carbon content
  • valuing traditional knowledge of fire management, providing economic opportunities for First Nations communities and reducing late season wildfire damage in savanna areas
  • increasing biodiversity and expanding habitats for native species
  • lowering emissions and reducing energy costs for Australian businesses.

Our role

Independent review of the integrity of Australian carbon credit units

We welcome the report of the Independent Review of ACCUs.

The Australian Government appointed an independent panel to review the integrity of ACCUs under the ACCU Scheme.

The panel concluded that the ACCU Scheme arrangements are essentially sound, incorporating mechanisms for regular review and improvement. The panel recommended a number of changes to clarify governance, improve transparency, facilitate positive project outcomes and co-benefits, and enhance confidence in the integrity and effectiveness of the scheme.

We look forward to assisting the Australian Government with its implementation.

Find out more about the ACCU review on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water's website.

We administer the ACCU Scheme by:

  • assessing project applications for registrations
  • assessing project reporting
  • ensuring scheme compliance
  • issuing ACCUs
  • managing carbon abatement contracts
  • publishing the ACCU Scheme project and contract registers.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water oversees the policy of the ACCU Scheme. Read the policy intent on the department’s website.

Case studies

Emissions reduction
ACCU

Turning soil into wine: enticing soil carbon farming in vineyards

A vineyard owner and a soil scientist are working with the Australian Government to create additional options for farmers to start a carbon farming project.
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Emissions reduction
ACCU

Arnhem Land Fire Abatement

Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (ALFA) is the world's first savanna fire abatement project. It benefits the environment, culture, society and the economy.
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Ploughshare revegetation

The Reed family restored their unproductive bushland to its natural ecosystem. It's now fully vegetated and producing carbon credits.

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Beef cattle herd management

Australian cattle producers are adopting eco-friendly practices to cut their emissions.

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ACCU
Safeguard
Markets
Media

Media release: Reformed Safeguard Mechanism drives ACCU demand

14 June 2024
The Australian carbon credit unit (ACCU) market is seeing a shift with regulatory compliance emerging as the primary source of unit cancellation, according to the Clean Energy Regulator’s latest Quarterly Carbon Market Report.
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ACCU
Systems

Improving Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme services

06 June 2024
ACCU Scheme services are progressively moving from Client Portal to Online Services.
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ACCU
Emissions reduction
Markets
News

Applications open in the fourth pilot window for ACCU fixed delivery exit arrangement

26 April 2024
The fourth pilot exit window for the fixed delivery exit arrangement is now open.
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ACCU
Systems
News

Clean Energy Regulator commences legal proceedings over alleged unlawful sharing of ANREU login details.

05 April 2024
The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) has commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Emerging Energy Solutions Group Pty Ltd (Emerging Energy) and its former director.
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An aerial image of mangroves with a winding river through it.