A government notification has said that a company or an individual can use government land for plantation to generate Green Credit. This credit can be utilised for reporting under environmental, social and governance leadership indicator or under corporate social responsibility, a Government notification said.

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Green Credit refers to a unit of an incentive provided for a specified activity; delivering a positive impact on the environment. This is part of a special programme to leverage a competitive market-based approach for Green Credit to incentivise environmental actions of various stakeholders. This credit can be traded on on a dedicated exchange. Rules for this mechanism were notified last November and now the government has come out with methodology, for calculation of Green Credit with respect to tree plantation.

Under this, the Forest Department of every State and Union territory will identify degraded land parcels, including open forest and scrub land, wasteland and catchment areas, under their administrative control and management. This parcel will be made available for tree plantation by an individual or an entity. While such an activity will help in increasing green cover across the country, it can also be used to generate Green Credit. “The land parcel identified for plantation must be free from all encumbrances and must have size of 5 hectares or above. Any person or entity desirous of undertaking tree plantation for the purposes of generation of Green Credit may apply to the Administrator,” the mechanism said. Post submission of application, a land parcel will be assigned and the applicant will have to prepare a detailed proposal for undertaking tree plantation for generation of Green Credit. The applicant will also have to pay charges for plantation and administrative fee.

May be exchanged

Once all these formalities are over, the Administrator will direct the Forest Department to carry out tree plantation. The entire process needs to be completed within a period of two years from the date of payment. Once done, the Forest Department will give its report to the Administrator besides issuing a certificate of completion of tree plantation to the applicant. Based on the report and after evaluation and verification, the Green Credit will be issued. “The Green Credit shall be calculated at the rate of one Green Credit per tree grown through the tree plantation on such land parcel, subject to minimum density of 1,100 trees per hectare, based on the localclimatic and soil conditions, on the certification of completion of tree plantation provided by the Forest Department concerned,” the mechanism said. Further, it has been said that such a credit might be exchanged for meeting the compliance of the compensatory afforestation in case of diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes.

Tree plantation is one of eight activities notified to generate Green Credit. Other activities include water management, sustainable agriculture, waste management, air pollution reduction and mangrove conservation and restoration among others. The Green Credit programme is independent of the carbon credit provided under the Carbon Credit Trading Scheme. “An environmental activity generating green credit may have climate co-benefits, such as reduction or removal of carbon emissions and an activity generating green credit under Green Credit programme may also get carbon credit from the same activity under the said scheme,” the government said.