Southland aims to become carbon-neutral and create a blueprint for the rest of the country.
Venture Southland's Carbon Neutral Advantage Project was announced yesterday, along with a $190,000 government grant to help fund it.
The region's economic development agency will encourage businesses, industry and communities to work together to transition away from the use of fossil fuels - including through the uptake of low-emission technologies.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw said all of New Zealand needs to work together to reach the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
"Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it also has social and economic impacts," Mr Shaw said.
"Southland produces 15 percent of New Zealand's tradeable exports, mainly from the primary sector. This project should help future proof that position."
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said the project would establish a regional carbon neutral framework, create a local carbon measurement tool, set carbon reduction targets, and conduct a feasibility study for a regional carbon financial tool.
"Communities are often best placed to find solutions to problems and I look forward to seeing what Southland can do," Ms Sage said.
The Southland pilot project will run for the next three years.