EcoPush is a company that offers expertise in environmental markets, including carbon trading, biofuels, agricultural commodities and sustainable timber. While the company’s website boasts a “proven track record”, the website provides little information about who is behind the company and what its track record actually is.
EcoPush is registered in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory tax haven. The company website was registered in May 2006, by Voodoo Designz, a website design company in Spain. Other customers of Voodoo Designz include Carbon-Expert, Select-Global and Agricultural Investments – which all look like boiler room operations.
A commentator on REDD-Monitor says that after he contacted Carbon-Expert about selling his voluntary carbon credits, he received unsolicited calls from Eco Push, who tried to interest him in investing in a timber project.
EcoPush’s website includes reassurances about the company’s business being “founded upon our core principle of putting our clients first”, and how as a client of EcoPush you will be “in safe hands”. But there is no information about when the company was formed, who owns the company, or who are its directors.
EcoPush has produced a video titled “All you need to know about EcoPush (Gibraltar)”. But this tells us precisely nothing. The 40-second-long video consists, in its entirety, of the following four slides:
Actually, the photograph supposedly of EcoPush’s office does tell us something about the company, although perhaps not what EcoPush would like us to know. The photograph is sold by a company called Shutterstock, with the title, “A front desk lady doing her job very well and cheerfully while she’s consulting a customer.”
EcoPush is a member of the Commonwealth Forestry Association, the world’s oldest international forestry organisation. The December 2012 issue of the CFA Newsletter includes a notice written by Alex Simpson, Business Development Manager at EcoPush. Simpson explains that,
Ecopush are currently involved in the promotion of a sustainably managed timber operation in Guyana. We have teamed up with local Guyanese governmental forestry operatives within the Linden region, and have put together an investment structure to encourage external private financing that yields a solid 15% fixed return.
EcoPush has produced a brochure about its operations in Guyana. EcoPush works in Guyana with a series of companies:
- The Linden Agriculture and Forest Producers Association (LAFPA), “a financial co-operative that was formed out of the need to create employment and reduce poverty by financially empowering the residents of the Linden Region”. The association has 130 members with logging or agriculture rights on more than 24,000 hectares of land.
- Grow Business Investment (GBI), a company set up to raise overseas finance for timber logging and processing for LAFPA members. The director is Marvin Waaldijk.
- Organicc Natural Resources Management, a Guyanese registered company that is 100% owned by Organicc Ltd (UK). The director of Organicc Ltd. is Michael Davies, and the company’s registered office is a unit on an industrial estate in Southampton, UK. Organicc has a letter from WWF Mozambique confirming that, “WWF (Mozambique) and Organicc Ltd have entered into a mutually exclusive agreement to jointly develop carbon credit and biodiversity credit projects within Mozambique.” These projects include REDD, distributing cookstoves, biomass and marine projects. In Guyana, ONRM provides modern sawmill equipment and processing lines to GBI, increasing GBI’s and LAFPA’s capacity to process timber. ONRM also carries out gold mining operations.
While EcoPush claims that it is supporting “sustainable timber operations” in Guyana, the company provides no evidence whatsoever that the operations are actually sustainable.
In a recent article in the Guyana Chronicle, Alex Sampson is described as the director of EcoPush. He was in Guyana with Michael Davies, director of Organicc. Davies told the Guyana Chronicle:
“[T]he first step is to get our forestry concessions working. We have been operating nine months, so we are a very young company, brand new company. We have not exported stuff, now we are selling in Georgetown at a lumber yard. We will be looking to do exports in the future.”
Another person employed by EcoPush is the Marketing Manager, whose name is Alex Stephenson. Her photograph appears on EcoPush’s YouTube account and on a series of EcoPush blogs (all hosted by Google’s Blogspot, including: Ecopush, Invest in Guyana, and Forestry Investment News). That’s her on the left.
Stephenson seems to be a very versatile and remarkably busy person: in the USA she answers health insurance questions, sells website hosting, advertises Mercedes cars, helps people write quality resumes, ran websites called Female 500 and Female 5000, and writes testimonials for image consultants; in Germany she sells energy drinks, and advertises blouses for women with large breasts; in Indonesia she advertises new social media; and in Panama she works for a travel company.
Of course, the photograph is of a model.
REDD-Monitor wrote to Alex Sampson to ask a few questions about EcoPush’s operations and looks forward to posting his reply.
From: Chris Lang
Date: 10 June 2013 15:00
Subject: A few questions about EcoPush
Greetings from Jakarta! My name is Chris Lang and I run a website called REDD-Monitor (www.redd-monitor.org). I am interested in finding out more about EcoPush and the operations in Guyana that the company is supporting. I have included the following questions in a post about your company today and look forward to publishing your response as a separate post.
I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions:
1. When was EcoPush formed and why is the company registered in Gibraltar?
2. Who owns the company? Who are the company directors?
3. How many people work at EcoPush?
4. What evidence can you provide that the logging operations that EcoPush is supporting in Guyana are genuinely sustainable?
5. EcoPush’s partner in Guyana, Organicc Natural Resource Management, also carries out gold mining operations in Guyana. What evidence can you provide that these operations are sustainable?
6. In the Commonwealth Forestry Association newsletter, you write that EcoPush has “put together an investment structure to encourage external private financing that yields a solid 15% fixed return”. Could you please provide details of this investment structure. How can you promise a 15% fixed return?
7. How do the logging and mining operations comply with Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy?
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Please consider your response to be on the record.
Regards, Chris Lang