in Australia, Philippines

Shift2Neutral in the Philippines, or how to make a Porsche “carbon neutral”

Shift2Neutral in the Philippines, or how to make a Porsche 'carbon neutral'

In response to last week’s post about an Australian carbon trading company, Shift2Neutral, REDD-Monitor received a statement from CoDe REDD in the Philippines (posted below). The Climate Change Commission wrote to Shift2Neutral recommending that the company’s “carbon credit activities be held in abeyance,” until the commission has “promulgated the guidelines and the rules addressing this issue”.

However, it seems that Shift2Neutral might already be offering carbon credits from its project in the Philippines.

Shift2Neutral sponsors the Shift2Neutral Racing team, “the first carbon neutral racing team in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia”, according to the company’s website. An article in the Singapore newspaper The Edge (dated 24 May 2010) explains that the Shift2Neutral Racing team will offset its emissions “by carbon credits supplied through Shift2Neutral”:

“The carbon credits come from REDD, acronym for the efforts to “reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”, or Avoided Deforestation credits in relation to more than 1.7 million ha of native rainforest on the Philippine island of Mindanao, which is being protected from illegal logging and mining by the traditional owners and Tribal Coalition Of Mindanao Inc.

“Tribes in the area receive funds from the sale of carbon credits to protect their villages and way of life and ensure a sustainable future for their children through the provision of medical services, food, clothing and shelter. The cost of offsetting the team’s racing activities for the season is US$1,460 ($2,020). The team’s sponsors also buy carbon credits and receive certification through Shift2Neutral on the carbon status of their business.”

A few more details are available about Shift2Neutral’s project in the Philippines. (I’ve asked Brett Goldsworthy, chairman of Shift2Neutral, for more details of the REDD-type projects his company is carrying out. So far, he has declined to reply.) On 15 June 2010, Shift2Neutral put out a press release stating that

“Shift2Neutral finalises the certification of 1,000,000 hectares of …first growth forest and issues credits for certification for the tribes of Mindanao Philippines.”

Meanwhile, according to the Philippines News Agency, Shift2Neutral “has entered into an agreement with the Butuan City-based Tribal Coalition of Mindanao Inc. for a carbon credit arrangement, involving 340,000 hectares of their ancestral land in the CARAGA Region.”

Whether the area of the project is 340,000 hectares, 1 million hectares or 1.7 million hectares obviously affects the number of carbon credits that Shift2Neutral can sell. What also affects the number of credits is the nature of the calculation that Shift2Neutral carries out. So far, little information is publicly available about this. The company’s website states that “Shift2neutral has developed its own certification standard and solution,” and adds that

“The certification process and documentation has been structured around international protocols, we utilize these protocols to enable true certification and standard of carbon credits in Australia and Internationally”

These protocols are the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the World Bank Carbon Finance Unit. I’ve asked Shift2Neutral’s Goldsworthy for more details of the Shift2Neutral certification process. He has not yet replied.

On 14 June 2010, Philippines Climate Change Commission wrote to Shift2Neutral, explaining that

“the Climate Change Commission is unable to accept your offer to assign contracts and whatever funds derived from contracts, until the rules are promulgated.”

The following day, Shift2Neutral put out its statement saying that it had finalised the certification and issued “credits for certification for the tribes of Mindanao”.

Below is the statement from CoDe REDD, followed by a series of press releases from Shift2Neutral about its activities in the Philippines.

Dear Mr. Lang,

On behalf of CoDe REDD Philippines, a civil society network promoting pro-community and pro-conservation REDD+ in the Philippines, we would like to comment on the recent Aug 13 posting on REDD Monitor with the following title “Australian company Shift2Neutral signs REDD deals in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines”

We would just like to bring it to the attention of the readers of REDD Monitor that there have already been national government statements made on carbon trading in the country. There has also been an official response to Shift2Neutral by the Climate Change Commission (CCC), the official policy making body on climate change in the Country.

I take this time to share this with you below:

1) The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Executive Director, Masli Quilaman, released a Memorandum Order with number: OED 84-201 signed on March 23, 2010 directing all regional directors to refrain from approving carbon trading projects within ancestral domains until protocol guidelines have been issued by the commission.

2) The Vice Chairperson of the Climate Change Commission, Secretary Heherson Alvarez wrote a letter dated July 14, 2010 to Shift2Neutral’s Chairman and Director, Mr. Brett Goldsworthy stating that

“We are informing the President, who chairs the commission, of your undertakings and we are recommending that such carbon credit activities be held in abeyance until we have promulgated the guidelines and the rules addressing this issue.

There is a need to establish the governing rules on carbon credit and how the government must relate to parties and stakeholders. Until such time, we ask you to desist from carrying on carbon credit activities in the philippines.

Therefore, may we inform you that the Climate Change Commission is unable to accept your offer to assign contracts and whatever funds derived from contracts, until the rules are promulgated. We have no authority to accept in trust any funds drawn from your agreements on the carbon credits.

From these directives, it seems that Shift2Neutral’s operations may not begin as early as expected.

We hope you can make this information known to the readers of REDD Monitor,

Thank you.


Back to text ^^

Information from Shift2Neutral’s “News” page on its website:

14 May 2009

Indigenous Rainforest Land in the Philippines to be Carbon Credit Certified by Shift2Neutral

In a world first, Shift2Neutral Australia signs Agreement with the Tribal Coalition Of Mindanao Incorporated to supply certification services of indigenous rainforest land on the Island of Mindanao Philippines.

In a release, Shift2Neutral advised that they had signed an exclusive agreement with the Tribal Coalition Of Mindanao Incorporated to supply certification services of indigenous rainforest land on the Island of Mindanao Philippines.

The agreement endorsed by National Commission On Indigenous Peoples will see indigenous tribes of Caraga Administrative Region take advantage of the hundreds of years of knowledge and understanding and care they have given to their native rainforest land.

A spokesperson for Shift2Neutral advised, “the initiative by the Shift2Neutral and the Tribal Coalition Of Mindanao Incorporated is a world first which will see the protection of native forest from mining and illegal logging of their native habitat. It will allow the tribes to receive funds from the sale of the carbon credits, protect their villages, and give a future to their families.

Chairman of Shift2Neutral, Brett Goldsworthy, announced “it is with exceptional honour that we partner with the Tribal Coalition Of Mindanao Incorporated and help them and their families.

13 July 2009

Shift2Neutral travels to Butuan City to meet the Tribal Coalition Of Mindanao Incorporated

Indigenous Rainforest Land in the Philippines to be Carbon Credit Certified by Shift2Neutral

Shift2Neutral traveled to Butuan City Mindanao Philippines to conduct further pre certification tribal meetings. The meetings allowed all groups to discuss the process and for Shift2Neutral to give further overview of process. The issues raised by the Tribes included illegal logging and mining.

5 April 2010

Shift2Neutral signs agreement to certify SAMAR Philippines

Shift2Neutral signs agreement with local Government of Samar Philippines to certify 400,000 hectares of first growth forest and issues credits for certification and sale.

15 July 2010

Shift2Neutral finalises Certification of Credits

Shift2Neutral finalises the certification of 1,000,000 hectares of …first growth forest and issues credits for certification for the tribes of Mindanao Philippines.

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  1. This is information for us here in Liberia, West Africa, as subtly exclusive carbon rights are been “dished out” (as we say in local parlance) free of charge, displacing local communities, to make way for oil palm and rubber plantations.

    Sime Darby (Malaysian company) oil palm contract which I have read clearly gives exclusive rights over potential carbon credits the company will accumulate during plantation development. The communities that will be displaced as a result of the plantation establishment will be given a mere $200 per hectares as resettlement package. This is cruel given the length of time local people have stayed in these communities; some more than seventy-five years.

    It is disheartening for the Liberian government to enter agreements with companies and allow provision which disenfranchises its citizens for future benefits to be part of such contracts.

    Here is clear message from the international responsible body, Climate Change Commission, that prior agreements will not be accepted because rules have not been promulgated to govern REDD forest related carbon credits.

    But Liberia is going ahead agreeing consciuosly that future rules by the CCC is not binding on companies that are given exclusive rights over carbon credits related to plantations.

  2. great digging through the info/websites. Jeeezzzz ‘carbon-neutral’ Porsches? thanks heaps

  3. I am reasonably conversant with the activities across the sector which has led me to consider that the only possible “transparent” opportunity is a public-private partnership in the form of a registration/regulatory banking process that is a “stand-alone” institute established for a specific purpose, the management of the interests of all parties involved with REDD or other credited activity be it National REDD readiness or Voluntary sector credits. My reasoning for this is quite simply that the processes mentioned for REDD articulate the establishing of a currency that stands outside of the normal monetary management policies of a country or international monetary institutions in such a way that there should be a parallel/integration rather than a swamp integration of the values. (if swamp is not to damming a word). Essentially, while we would like to accommodate carbon values from emissions reductions as a commodity we have to recognize that the value chains that lead to the emergence of this commodity are somewhat different than those that would lead to Oil, Gold, Coffee or Wheat; all of these have multiple down stream activities that lead to utility at retail levels. Carbon emissions reductions do not have this feature one cannot manufacture anything from the purchase of carbon emissions reductions certificates and they are not consumption drivers. Any CER value, is a reflection of the “true” costs of consumption while being no where near the “real” cost of consumption as it is very clear that the global costs of consumption might suggest CER’s could be valued a considerably higher levels. Technology brings us closer to having a double entry system that might afford clearer accounting systems yet the UN-REDD/CDM/UNFCCC and various protocols, while seeking to gain corrective values, allow for a muddying (swamping) of the opportunity. While CER’s can be a global currency there is no global monetary currency and certainly no interface in terms of how currencies can have a clear value exchange. To me this means traditional banking has a field day trading in gas using paper. The solution is to establish a new and unique banking facility that acts as the value record and interface with established currency~finance~banking. A UN Bank? With branches established throughout the Globe in partnership with National and International parties seems logical as there can be clearer management of human rights, land, biodiversity and and +++ when they have an entirely separate regulatory, registry and accounting system. Of course such a system would lead to massive revaluations of GDP/GDI and/or measures of national wealth/resources allowing many (currently) undervalued assets to enter global considerations. By doing this it should become very much clearer, to the globally concerned, just how much we exploit without due recompense the recourses of the world.

  4. Its looking more and more like Shift2Nuetral is precisely the kind of company that will undermine the entire fair development of alternative mechanisms. They are signing what appear to be unfair deals with forest communities. Just as with the communities in Borneo, how do you sign an agreement without a project design? How could that be FPIC. I hope that they get taken down for this issue. It would not be unprecedented for a few greedy community leaders to sign a deal for a cash handout. The entire point of ILO 169 is that all stakeholders be made aware of the consequences of a deal. Thank you for keeping tabs on Shift2Nuetral and I hope that they agree to more transparency in the future.