By Chris Lang
Glenleigh Trading is a UK company selling carbon credits as investments. The company claims to have specialised in emissions trading “for many years”. Pretty impressive for a company that was registered in 2011 and whose only director, Christy John Browne, is 23 years old.
The company also claims to offer an exit strategy for people who are victims of the carbon credits as investments fraud. A quick glance at Glenleigh Trading’s website and a little research reveals that the company is part of the same fraud. The company’s most recently filed Annual Accounts reveal that on 30 September 2012, Glenleigh Trading had a total of £1 in the bank. Christy Browne, the current director was appointed on 27 March 2013, before which the company was dormant.
According to the company’s website,
Glenleigh Trading was set up by investment professionals who believed that there was a huge opportunity for individuals to benefit from the global addiction by governments and organisations to “go green”.
The reality, of course, is that there is no “global addiction” to “go green”. Governments’ response to the climate change crisis has been, and continues to be, pathetically weak. If you want to get really depressed, read this, “Climate-change summary and update”, by Guy McPherson, a former Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona:
The response of politicians, heads of non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders remains the same. They’re mired in the dank Swamp of Nothingness. These are the people who know about, and presumably could do something about, our ongoing race to disaster (if only to sound the alarm).
Glenleigh Trading sells compliance carbon credits (CERs), voluntary carbon credits (VERs), renewable energy certificates (RECs), and climate reserve tons (CRTs).
The reality, of course, is that carbon credits are spectacularly bad investments for individual investors. Several organisations have issued warnings against individuals buying carbon credits as investments.
There is little ability to accurately forecast future demand and prices in the voluntary carbon offset market. As a result, the Reserve strongly believes that CRTs are not suited for individuals as investments.
An increasing number of firms are using dubious, high-pressure sales tactics to sell carbon credits to investors… You could lose money on your investment by not being able to sell, or at least get a competitive rate, when trading a small volume of carbon credits. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
[W]e believe that the sale of VERs to the general public (who are not familiar with the voluntary carbon market) for investment rather than immediate retirement purposes, does not represent best practice in the industry. ICROA/IETA regards this as a distraction and risk to the industry and discourages member companies to operate in this manner.
Glenleigh Trading would prefer that you remain in the dark about these warnings. On its website, the company explains that,
It isn’t important to have a good understanding of the global emissions markets and the various governmental legislation and environmental policies to benefit, financially from them. However, our environmental experts will be happy to guide you through each and every one of the emissions reductions units and renewable energy investments available.
REDD-Monitor’s advice is not to rely on advice from any company that is trying to take your money for a product that is eminently unsuitable as an investment. Would you ask Arthur Daley for advice about buying a second hand car?
Glenleigh Trading has been contacting people who have been conned into buying voluntary carbon credits as investments. The sales pitch apparently goes something like this:
If you buy 1,000 CERs for £6.50 each from Glenleigh Trading, we will sell your VERs for £6 each. Glenleigh Trading has a contract with Deutsche Bank to sell the CERs for £11.50 in September 2013. But you have to hurry. If you don’t sign up by Friday, you’ll miss out.
There is little doubt that this is a recovery room scam. The spot price for CERs on the European Energy Exchange yesterday was €0.61. If you really wanted to buy CERs, you could buy 1,000 for about 8% of the price at which Glenleigh Trading is offering them.
There is also little doubt that Glenleigh Trading’s tale about a “contract” with Deutsche Bank is fiction. Why would Deutsche Bank sign a contract to buy carbon credits for more than eight times the market rate from a UK company whose website was registered (anonymously) on 13 May 2013?
Equally spurious are the four logos under the heading, “Our Partners”, on Glenleigh Trading’s website: one green news website, one Formula 1 website, one company famous for its ready-to-assemble furniture and tasty meatballs, and one UK-based multinational supermarket company. Needless to say, Glenleigh Trading is not mentioned on any of these companies’ websites.
A week ago, REDD-Monitor contacted each of the companies. Two of them have not yet replied. The green news website had never heard of Glenleigh Trading. Lewis Marshall, PR and Internal Communications Manager at the furniture company, thanked REDD-Monitor for bringing this to the company’s attention and added,
Having spoken with our global sustainability department, they are not aware of any division of IKEA working with the company you have highlighted below.
UPDATE – 30 August 2013: Glenleigh Trading’s four “partners” have now disappeared from its website.