in Brazil, UK

CO2 Prospects: Psst! Wanna buy some cheap REDD credits?

CO2 ProspectsCO2 Prospects is a UK-based company that “aims to work closely with corporations, assisting them in realising value from managing their energy and carbon usage (emissions), as well as benefiting from participating in quality REDD offset projects.”

CO2 Prospects currently appears to have only one REDD project. The company states that “CO2 Prospects is heavily involved in a REDD project in the state of Para in Brazil, forming part of the Amazon.”

CO2 Prospects was registered as a UK Company on 24 August 2011. Two months later, Simon Dempsey, Sales and Marketing Consultant at CO2 Prospects, made the following announcement on LinkedIn:

REDD-Monitor sent some questions to Dempsey and got an answer within two hours. “Many thanks for your email and interest in our project,” Dempsey wrote. “I am a great admirer and a keen follower of your website and your posts on Twitter. I am happy to answer as many questions as I can for you.”

Unfortunately, although the questions were numbered, Dempsey chose not to answer the questions individually. Below are my questions, followed by Dempsey’s reply.

    From: Chris Lang
    To: Simon Dempsey
    Date: 15 November 2011 22:43
    Subject: CO2 Prospects and REDD

    Hi Simon,

    Greetings from Jakarta! My name is Chris Lang, and I run a website called REDD-Monitor (www.redd-monitor.org). I saw your recent comment on LinkedIn about REDD+ credits and would be grateful if you could provide some more information about the company CO2 Prospects and the REDD project:

    1. What can you tell me about the REDD project that is generating the carbon credits? Which country is the project in?

    2. I understand that the project covers an area of 94,867 hectares. How many carbon credits do you anticipate being able to sell from this land? Is it all forested?

    3. How did you measure the carbon stored in the forest? And what methodology did you use to establish the baseline and the avoided deforestation?

    4. How long will the avoided deforestation project last?

    5. Who owns the land? Do any people live on the land? Are any indigenous peoples living in or near the forest? Was a process of free, prior and informed consent, carried out before the project started? If so, could you please describe this process.

    6. Which company or organisation is running the REDD project on the ground?

    7. Has the project been assessed or validated under any of the voluntary certification schemes for REDD (such as VCS, CCBA, Plan Vivo etc)?

    8. CO2 Prospects’ webpage includes a Disclaimer that refers to a company called Ventura Climate Capital. Could you please explain the link between CO2 Prospects and Ventura Climate Capital.

    9. Could you tell me a little more about CO2 Prospects. How many employees does the company have? Who runs the company? Has the company been involved in any other carbon trading projects?

    10. In your message on LinkedIn, you offer REDD+ credits at “a massively reduced fixed rate over at least a ten year period”. How much are you offering the credits for, and how can you afford this reduced rate?

    Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Please consider your response to be on the record.

    Regards, Chris Lang

    From: Simon Dempsey
    To: Chris Lang
    Date: 16 November 2011 00:10
    Subject: RE: CO2 Prospects and REDD

    Hi Chris,

    Many thanks for your email and interest in our project, I am a great admirer and a keen follower of your website and your posts on Twitter . I am happy to answer as many questions as I can for you.

    As you rightly said, we own at the moment, secured and protected, just under 100,000 hectares of rainforest, that had been scheduled to be lost to logging, in the Para region of Brazil. We are currently at first draft PDD and CCB Validation stages, with final draft PDD anticipated in the final week of November/first week of December 2011, with full VCS and CCB Validation for the project expected to be complete by April 2012. We are looking to take a different strategy from conventional approaches to investments in these projects and we are now able to offer large plots of land on a long term lease basis, all rights to the credits generated reverting to the leaseholder. This then guarantees that the credits will be fixed at a rate determined by the price paid for the lease during its term. The reason the project owner has adopted this model is that they have ploughed their entire life savings into securing and protecting this 249,000 acres of virgin rainforest. They have spent 3 years bringing the project to this stage and have adopted this model to attract investment to give them back some of the capital they have sunk into this and allow them to save other similar areas in imminent danger of deforestation as well as contribute to the $600,000 a year cost of monitoring and securing the forest already within the scope of this project.

    Co2 Prospects is a company recently set up to assist in attracting investors to the project and also to offer carbon footprint and energy management services to corporations. Ventura Climate Capital advised and assisted us in the wording for our website.

    I would be happy to provide you with all the further details that you have requested, including details of our project developers, the duration of our project, copies of progress reports, first draft VCS and CCBA PDD’s and details of the regulated Trust handling all transactions but I will require completion of our standard Non-Disclosure Agreement at this stage and would have to ask you to keep this information confidential until such time as the project is officially registered with VCS in the next few weeks. Please let me know if you wish to receive this information and I will forward the NDA to you immediately.

    In the meantime, should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me, as I would be keen to receive your endorsement, or, at least, learn your views on our project.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Regards

    Simon

I also wrote to Ventura Climate Capital Limited about the Disclaimer on CO2 Prospects’ website that refers to Ventura. Sam Reynolds at Ventura told me that, “Ventura assisted C02 Prospects with the content of their website but they used an incorrect Disclaimer. They are amending.”

The Disclaimer has not yet been amended.

Meanwhile, another email arrived from Simon Dempsey:

    From: Simon Dempsey
    To: Chris Lang
    Date: 16 November 2011 01:56
    Subject: RE: CO2 Prospects and REDD

    Hello again Chris,

    The project owner has informed me that he has just got off the phone to Sam Reynolds of Ventura Climate Capital who mentioned that you had contacted him.

    Just to clarify Ventura’s involvement with us, Hassen Bali, William Rae and Sam Reynolds advised and assisted us in the development of our website and its wording and they are all very familiar with our project. Hassen in particular was of great assistance early on in the project when he was with Markit and I’m sure any or all of them would be happy to clarify any other queries that you may have that do not fall within the scope of the NDA’s that they have signed.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Regards

    Simon

CO2 Prospects’ website includes the logos of the following organisations: VCS, CCBA and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. I wrote to each of them to ask whether they were aware that CO2 Prospects was using their logos in this way. CCBA has not yet replied. VCS is looking into it, and will “respond shortly” (that was six days ago). Ratija Chitnavis, Deputy Certification Manager at CIBSE told me that he “can’t find any supporting evidence for CO2 Prospects to use the CIBSE logo, but I have forwarded your email to our Marketing Department to investigate further” (that was eight days ago).
 

Leave a Reply

  1. Thanks for the article Chris, I think lol, although I’m not quite sure what you are implying with this headline. You make it sound as though we are offering some sort of shady, under the counter deal when the realities are from from this. I wouldn’t consider posting an announcement to millions on Linkedin as the height of subterfuge!!! I have tried to explain our business model and was as open and frank with you as possible within the boundaries of the information that I could reveal without completion of an NDA and anybody doubting the veracity of this project and our intentions can undertake any due diligence they deem necessary on completion of the same. If anybody requires any further information, they are more than welcome to contact me.
    I shall be monitoring your posts with interest in the forthcoming week and look forward to your comments and views on unfolding events in Durban.

  2. Hey Chris, give the guy a break! He’s doing the best he can, including going for CCB, which as you know requires consent of local peoples. I think your work is most effective when you use your energy exposing shady deals and projects that have proven not to work. Sensationalist headlines like this recent “psst…” will eventually water down your message about the real REDD projects that are terrible. If you cry wolf every time, people stop caring. Also, I beg you to accept the possibility that a REDD project, if done right, can have meaningful reductions in deforestation.

  3. Chris, it would appear in your haste to write a sensationalist headline you have failed to read or understand my initial response. ALL of the information you required was readily available to you, should you have chosen to complete the NDA and keep the information confidential until such time as the project is officially registered with the VCS and CCBA in the next few weeeks. The owners have financed this entire 3 year process from their own pockets and are simply seeking to protect the projects best interests until that time. It was you that insisted my comments be on the record and as I myself am bound by strict confidentiality rules it would be a breach of these and the trust placed upon me to provide you with anything further without completion of the relevant documentation.

    All I know is that without this project, this area of pristine virgin rainforest and everything contained therein would have been destroyed around 18 months ago, so what would you rather see, 249,000 acres of barren land or a REDD+ project protecting this vital natural resource, financed solely with private funding, in its place? I know which one I prefer!

    Just to clarify once again, Co2 Prospects was merely set up to assist in bringing this project to the attention of investors and to offer carbon footprint and energy management services should they be required. I myself had no previous experience in the carbon or forestry arenas until becoming totally immersed in this world some 9 months ago, and I continue to expand my knowledge on a daily basis, both the positive and negative, thanks to, amongst other sources, websites such as yours. I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise for my error in wording and would like to make it clear that Co2 Prospects does not own the project, but acts on the owners behalf.

    I would also like to thank you for bringing the disclaimer issue to our attention in your initial email to me and a further call has been placed to our Web developers today, although quite why you are making such an issue of it when you have spoken to Ventura and they have confirmed our statement is beyond me, but just to put your mind at ease, the matter should be rectified in the next day or so.

    With regards to the answers to your other questions, I guess you will just have to wait now until the project is registered and officially in the public domain, but I would like to draw your attention to David’s previous comments, which I thank him for. These projects can and will play a vital role in protecting the environment, but your unwillingness to undertake the necessary due diligence, to sort the best intentioned and well developed projects meeting the highest standards from those that are more unscrupulous in their goals, in a rush to publish articles with headlines such as the one you have attributed to us, will only dilute the strength of your denouncements of the mercenary figures entering this arena with the sole intention of plundering these forests for their own gains.

    If you wish, I will keep you updated as to when I am able to provide you with all the further information that you have requested and will happily do so at that time.

  4. @David (#2) – Two months after the company was formed, CO2 Prospects is offering “REDD+ credits at a massively reduced fixed rate”. No details are (yet) available about the project. Neither are any details available about who set up CO2 Prospects. We have no idea whether anyone in the company has any experience of carbon trading or forest conservation (there is an easy answer to that, but that would involve Dempsey answering question 9).

    You might be correct that this company is doing the right thing – I don’t actually say anywhere in the article that they are not. In which case, why are they not open about what they are doing? Why not just answer the questions? Why put the logos of VCS and CCBA on the company website before the draft Project Design Document has even been written? (The logos are still there, by the way. As is the disclaimer referring to Ventura Climate Capital.)

    And why does the website state, “We act for the owners of an avoided deforestation project, being marketed as an investment opportunity to generate revenue from the issue of REDD+ Carbon Credits,” whereas Dempsey writes, “we own at the moment, secured and protected, just under 100,000 hectares of rainforest”? Just asking…

  5. Hi Chris,

    I’m with David on this one. You seem overtly critical given the facts that have been disclosed. Give the guy a break, wait until documentation is in an open domain and then start firing if necessary!

    Keep up the good work elsewhere though

  6. Beware!I think this is the same Simon Demspey due on trial next year for fraud and money laundering while running Finbow wines.

  7. @brokenranger (#11) – Oh dear. According to the Daily Mail, Dempsey was in Southwark Crown Court this week, along with Daniel Snelling, Dina Snelling, Rebecca McDonald, Simon Dempsey, and Kelly Humphreys. They are accused of conning investors into handing over money supposedly as an investment in top end Australia wines while working for Nouveau World Wines and Finbow Wines. All five pleaded not guilty and the judge ordered them to stand trial on 7 May 2013.

    The comments following this post about Finbow Wines are interesting.

    Meanwhile, no more information is available on CO2 Prospects’ website about the REDD project in Brazil. And as far as I can tell the project development document has still not been posted on either the VCS or the CCBA website.

  8. I worked as a supplier for Finbow Wines, and was left out of pocket for many tens of thousands of pounds.

    This is the same Simon Demspey, and although this money has been written off, this and Finbow Wines are not the only “Investment Businesses” that all of the above are involved with. The alleged scams include property in Bulgeria and investments in Oils, where some parties went under the surname of “Harris”.

    Chris – Never stop making people aware of this kind of stuff. You have probably saved people from losing more money, and if these investments seem too good to be true, they usually are.

  9. Finbow supplier: as a investor I really believed I bought these italian wines ready for shipment to HK. I paid loads of money. So they did exist? were they shipped to destination? did finbow have a office in HK? do you think we will see any money? why did you trust them in the first place to do business with? did they have good contacts with your company? I know this is police business now but Im so curious