Centre Refines Green Credit Programme Norms

Centre Refines Green Credit Programme Norms

Norms for the Green Credit Programme 

Amid apprehensions regarding the effectiveness of the Green Credit Programme (GCP), the Union Environment Ministry, as the governing body, has introduced modifications to prioritize ecosystem restoration over mere tree planting. The move aims to ensure that the program fosters holistic ecological revival rather than incentivizing afforestation solely for financial gains.

Shifting Focus to Ecosystem Restoration

The revised guidelines emphasize the significance of restoring degraded ecosystems, steering away from a one-dimensional focus on tree planting. States are now empowered to determine suitable criteria for reforested landscapes, considering indigenous species and natural seedling regeneration factors. This shift acknowledges the diverse ecological contexts across different regions and promotes biodiversity conservation.

Reimagining Green Credits Programme

Under the GCP, afforestation efforts on degraded forest lands yield ‘green credits,’ which corporations can earn and use for various purposes. These include compliance with forest laws and corporate social responsibility initiatives. While the credits are non-tradable, the long-term vision is to establish a domestic market platform for trading them. Additionally, green credits contributing to carbon emission reduction may qualify for carbon credits, aligning with global sustainability objectives.

Corporate Participation and Pilot Projects

Public sector entities such as Indian Oil, Power Grid Corporation, and Coal India are interested and actively participating in the GCP. Their involvement underscores the growing corporate commitment to environmental stewardship, a trend encouraging and motivating for the future of sustainability. However, the program is still in its pilot phase, with ongoing deliberations on quantifying the contributions of shrubs and grasses to green credits.

Addressing Implementation Challenges

Challenges related to quantifying ecological contributions and determining credit equivalencies are being actively addressed. These challenges stem from the diverse nature of ecosystems and the need for a standardized measurement method. While companies can offset a portion of their compensatory afforestation obligations using green credits, the specifics of this mechanism are still under development. Equivalence between green and carbon credits is also being explored to enhance the program’s effectiveness.

Future Outlook to the Green Credit Programme

The Centre’s efforts to refine the GCP highlight a proactive approach towards sustainable forest management and climate action. By encouraging ecosystem restoration and fostering corporate engagement, the program holds the potential to drive tangible environmental benefits. These include increased biodiversity, improved air and water quality, and enhanced carbon sequestration. The program also aligns with national and global sustainability goals, making it a significant step towards a greener future.

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