Offsetting your carbon can do wonders for water quality

4 Feb 2015 by The Million Metres team Auckland

Ever thought of offsetting your carbon emissions by donating to the Million Metres Streams Project? Jon Brett, co-creator of TetraMap has recently done just that.

Concerned about the amount of carbon generated as the result of his overseas flights, Jon decided to offset it with us and help out the environment at the same time.  

In calculating his carbon footprint, Jon found a plethora of calculators, based on differing assumptions. So which to choose?  

In the end, Jon came up with his own calculation. “Spend the same amount of money on the environment as I do on airfares.” 

So why choose MMS? “As long as the environment is degrading, we have a responsibility to contribute to its rejuvenation. I donated to the Million Metres Streams Project with the rationalisation that rejuvenating our waterways is just as important as visiting my relatives.” Valuing carbon this way makes air travel “just prohibitive enough to rule out non-essential trips and to make me value my environment just as much… as the purpose of the travel,” says Jon.

In a true win-win situation, Jon achieved his objective of offsetting his carbon, and MMS received a fantastic contribution to the health of our waterways (Jon’s donation went to a project in Gisborne).

Take a leaf out of Jon's book and offset your carbon emissions with us!

Although MMS plantings are not accredited, we are delighted to be able to offer you the project as an option for offsetting your carbon emissions. What’s more, your donation or offset will be eligible for a tax credit.

You can calculate your carbon footprint, and decide on a value for your carbon, using the simple 3-step process outlined below.

Step 1: Calculate your carbon emissions.

Calculate your carbon footprint by downloading the free Annual Carbon Emissions Calculator from the SBN website. Designed by Catalyst Ltd, it’s a simple tool to help individuals and households estimate their carbon emissions.

Step 2: Decide a value for your carbon

There are different ways to value your carbon, so decide a value that makes sense to you.

You could base it on the market price of carbon*, or alternatively the sequestration rate of native trees in which case we suggest using the Carbon4Good rate of $35 per tonne of CO2. **

Step 3: Offset your carbon emissions

Visit our website and make your donation by purchasing metres of stream planting. Remember, your donation will be eligible for a tax credit.

We are very grateful to Jon for his generous donation to MMS and getting the ball rolling for us on carbon offsetting. We only wish the pricing of carbon was a bit simpler!

* Carbon tax prices can range from as little as US$1 - 4/tonne CO in Mexico to as much as US$168/tonne CO2 in Sweden1. For the record at the time of writing a New Zealand Unit (NZU) is NZ$5.95 - 6.052

1:  State and Trends of Carbon Pricing. May, 2014. World Bank Group Climate Change, Washington DC.

2: 28 January 2014 from

** Our information suggests seven NZ native trees absorb one tonne CO2 equivalent, assuming a planting distance of one every two metres and a lifespan of 200 years. With trees priced at around $5 each, that makes $35 per tonne of CO2. This is the rates used by Carbon4Good until December 2014. However, there is a caveat on applying that formula to MMS plantings, as every metre (1 m long x 6 m wide) of MMS planting has four woody trees planted at a distance of one a metre***. So direct comparisons are difficult to make, which is why $35 a tonne of CO2 is only a suggestion. From our updated calculations we know riparian planting is likely to be more costly than this and we are continuing to look into the most up to date cost of riparian sequestration.

*** The exact number of trees planted in MMS plantings will vary slightly depending on factors such as terrain and planting corridor width.