Commonwealth Bank of Australia has made a minority equity investment in Nindethana Seed Service, Greening Australia’s native seed supply subsidiary. CBA said the aim is to support the expansion of Australia’s native seed market. This will help meet growing demand from carbon sequestration and biodiversity restoration projects.

The investment sees CBA enter into a strategic partnership with Greening Australia Limited. The not-for-profit environmental enterprise is the majority shareholder of Nindethana. As part of this partnership, CBA and Greening Australia are collaborating on a broad programme of work. Specifically, they will explore opportunities to support Australia’s carbon market with a focus on carbon credit supply.

Native seed is a crucial input for large-scale land restoration projects. It maintains ecosystem function and diversity, providing habitat for native wildlife and boosting landscape resilience. Through native environmental plantings, native seed can unlock the supply of high quality, high integrity carbon credits. Demand for native seed significantly outstrips supply at present.

Nindethana is Australia’s largest native seed merchant, with facilities in Western Australia and New South Wales. The company works with seed collectors across the country. It says that it is well placed to help develop and expand Australia’s native seed industry. This includes supporting the development of existing Indigenous-owned native seed businesses.

CBA: supporting the development of high integrity carbon credits

Andrew Hinchliff, CBA Group Executive Institutional Banking & Markets, said the bank’s investment in Nindethana aligned closely with its commitment to supporting the development of high integrity carbon credits. This fosters economic opportunities for local communities and helps clients manage climate change risk.

“As the world focuses on meeting carbon reduction targets, biodiversity and natural capital are increasingly in the spotlight. Australia’s unique ecology and vast land space give us the potential to play an important role in this global dynamic.

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“Our investment in Nindethana will help to address current supply constraints in native seed. Demand is growing from both carbon abatement projects and organisations seeking to help restore land that has been impacted by natural disasters or heavy industrial usage.

“We want to play our part in helping to preserve and foster Australia’s biodiversity and unique ecosystems. And help grow an industry that will play a critical role in helping to meet national climate commitments.”

“Our wider partnership with Greening Australia will allow us to collaborate in carbon abatement projects with biodiversity co-benefits. It also generates Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) from Greening Australia’s native reforestation and Blue Carbon projects,” Hinchliff added.

Disconnect between biodiverse restoration and availability of native seed

There Is currently a disconnect between aspirational goals for biodiverse restoration and the availability of native seed.

Greening Australia CEO Brendan Foran added: “Native seed is a key enabler for large-scale restoration projects. But the industry cannot meet growing demand and is in dire need of investment in infrastructure, technology and working capital.

“CBA’s investment in Nindethana brings the capital needed to help transform this market. It ensures that environmental restoration work undertaken in future years also benefits local communities, the economy and ecosystems.”