Indonesian carbon-offset startup aims to bring blue carbon to Japan and Singapore market


Indonesia plans to expand mangroves and restore forests, with 17% of the world's blue carbon reserves. (Photo: Pixabay)

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic country, with over 17,500 islands and more than 80,000 kilometers of coastline, fostering a rich and diverse blue carbon resource. Amid the continuous growth of the global carbon market, a local startup, CarbonEthics, is determined to bring blue carbon onto international trading platforms such as those in Singapore and Japan.

Founded in 2019, CarbonEthics currently derives its main revenue from carbon consulting and assisting in the planting of mangroves. They offer nature-based carbon credit programs to help companies offset their carbon emissions, focusing particularly on "blue carbon" absorbed by coastal or marine plants such as mangroves and seagrasses.

In an interview with Nikkei Asia, CarbonEthics' Chief Impact Officer, Jessica Novia, stated that once the regulations for listing carbon credits abroad and the company's carbon credit development are in place, they anticipate being able to trade blue carbon on the international market by 2026.

Singapore took the lead among Asian countries by completing its first carbon credit trade in 2021. Japan followed in October last year by trading government-certified carbon credits. Novia believes that listing on the Singapore market is "possible," while the Japanese market "has its own standards," and whether Japan will accept it remains to be confirmed.

By 2023, CarbonEthics had successfully absorbed 12,500 tons of carbon dioxide through mangroves in Maluku, eastern Indonesia, and rice fields in Java. This achievement not only made them a partner of the World Resources Institute Indonesia but also earned them invitations to carbon issue meetings at the ministerial level in Indonesia, transforming from a simple non-profit organization into an impact enterprise.

CarbonEthics offers nature-based carbon credit programs to help companies offset their carbon emissions. (Photo: CarbonEthics)

In 2022, Indonesia proposed the FOLU Net Sink 2030 plan, aiming to protect and expand mangroves and restore forests and lands, estimating that the country's blue carbon reserves account for 17% of the global total. Novia stated that Indonesia has the largest blue carbon stock globally, thus focusing on its development to form a competitive advantage.

Moreover, compared to terrestrial forests, blue carbon ecosystems have a higher carbon reduction capability. According to the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), each hectare of mangroves can store 1,000 tons of carbon, whereas tropical rainforests can only store 300 tons.

CarbonEthics believes that logistics, banking, and natural gas industries currently have the highest demand for carbon offsets. With the Indonesian government set to impose a carbon tax on the mining industry next year (2025), a new wave of demand is expected. The company aims to capture 10% of the Indonesian carbon market by 2030 and plans to develop carbon credit projects in other Southeast Asian countries by 2026, targeting the creation of carbon credits equivalent to 150 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Source: Nikkei AsiaForest NewsCarbonEthics

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