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Glenleigh Trading: Would you buy a used carbon credit from this company?

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.

Carbon Action Reserve:

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.

Financial Conduct Authority:

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!

International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) / International Emissions Trading Association (IETA):

[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.

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  1. All these boiler room problem from the UK are because the London doesn’t regulate emissions units as financial products.

  2. With reference to Glenleigh Trading I had a call about ten days ago offering to sell my VERs.
    The written contract requires me to buy 2500 green CERs at £6.50p each. Then on 25 November next these will be sold at £11 each and my VERs will also be sold as part of the package at £6 each.
    This offer lasts until 16 September.

    Is this the typical offer being made? I was thinking of arranging to see the Company at their Canary Wharf Office.

    I had a similar offer from another Company Hamilton Carter, also with the same address 1, Canada Square E14 5AA

    29 August 2013

  3. @Michael Freestone (#2) – How did Glenleigh Trading and Hamilton Carter get your phone number?

    The offer you got from Glenleigh Trading is almost exactly the same as the sales pitch I described in the post. If it’s not a recovery room pitch, then I’m the Queen of Sheba.

    Glenleigh Trading is asking you to pay £6.50 for carbon credits that are currently selling for 51 pence (€0.60). You can look up the price here: European Energy Exchange. So Glenliegh Trading is asking for £16,250 for 2,500 green CERs when the current price is £1,275. Why would you even think about paying so much more than they are worth?

    And why on earth would anyone agree to buy these credits for more than 20 times their current value on 25 November?

  4. To Chris Lang.

    Thanks for the confirmation of my doubts. When these “offers” come along my usual practice is to search the internet for information.
    I suggest others do so.

    I do not know how Glenleigh Trading found my telephone number.As regards Hamilton Carter the initial approach related to gold and may have been by mail but they also telephoned me. No doubt there is an exchange of information amongst some of these companies.

    Almost immediately after I had spoken with Hamilton Carter`s representative yesterday Glenleigh Trading rang me. I suppose it could have been coincidence.


  5. To Chris Lang,

    Hi, I also had a phone call from Glenleigh Trading the other day, first by there man who makes the contact just to whet your appetite or so he thought,I have lost count of the amount of these calls I’v had since MH Carbon and Worldwide commodities went bust,after listening to his spiel for about five minuets I asked the question,’and what is this going to cost me’,reply was we take 2% of the final sale price, I will get someone who knows more about this than me to call you, ok get him to call me lets see where this goes.
    Contacted by one Christopher Nelson the next day who then went on to give me the same sales pitch as accounted by yourself in #3 with the difference that a folder in my name would be prepared containing some other clients 7000 gCER’s along with 2500 of my VER’s and then came the same old story that I would have to buy 500 gCER’s @ £11.50 total £5750,so in all 10000 credits would then be in my folder to be sold to an unnamed electricity company (who’s name I would be told later)in Europe to offset there carbon emissions, with the promise that would all be sold by December this year and I would have all this in writing signed by his managing director just to prove all was valid, I asked him what happened to the 2% commission that was mentioned, went quite then waffled on again but by then I was getting bored with hearing more crap but at least I had wasted quite a lot of his time making him think he’d got another sale.
    Michael according to him they got my name and number from the VER registry.

  6. Hi Chris,
    I also received a call from a rep. at Glenleigh Trading (GT). He new I had purchased carbon credits from Industry RE. He said they had sold me VERs which were not CERs and that Glenleigh Trading had found a corporation willing to pay £11 per unit for gCERs because on the European Market they have to pay £16. In order for me to exit/sell GT require me to purchase 500 to 1000 units from them @ £6.50 each, which they would then sell onto the corporate buyer @ £11 each and also buy my VERs at £6 each. Their exit date is for 5 Dec 2013 but GT want upfront payment and commission. I said I shall think about it. Is Glenleigh Trading another SCAM and should I report them?

  7. Note
    The Canary Wharf address is a Regus Office and is probably mail-forwarding

  8. @shahbaz (#6) – As I wrote in the article, “There is little doubt that this is a recovery room scam.” Yes, I think you should report them. Here are some suggestions for what you can do if you bought carbon credits as an investment.

  9. Hamilton Carter are the latest in a long line of companies who have contacted my parents (who are definately on the suckers’ list). This time a junior called first saying that they had got my parents details from the VER register (no, they have it from the suckers list) and then the £16 carbon ‘floor’ was mentioned. They received an email with a link to a story and promised a phone call this afternoon. They were told that their credits could be sold for 5% commission.
    I await news and have told Mum that as soon as he mentions ‘buying’ or ‘deposit’ she should put the phone down. Sadly I know that she will not as they are very persuasive. :(
    This is the email (first bit from my Mum)… you may recognise the technique used by them….

    Hi Peter,

    I expect you are going to tell me to have nothing to do with this person.

    He knows how wary I am and that all the companies I had carbon credits from have gone into liquidation or been investigated by the police.

    He also knows that my son told me that none of the credits are saleable and he agrees and that we have been led up the garden path.

    He did say that some companies are using these credits for allowance against their tax bill at the end of the financial year. Let him come back to me this afternoon and we will see what he is proposing. His first contact was a junior who said she had the name from the register of [people who own VCRa and that they would only want a 5% fee if they are sold. As far as I know I am not expected to buy anything. If I am the it is no immediately.

    I will not agree to anything without consulting you, first.

    Love Mum

    From: Adam White []
    Sent: 04 November 2013
    Subject: Hamilton Carter

    Dear Mrs. xxxx

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. As discussed I have attached a link below to an article in relation to the £16 Carbon floor price that came in a few months ago and how it affects UK companies.

    I have also attached the EU document we spoke about, and have taken the liberty of highlighting the specific areas for you to read through.

    Please take a few moments to go through the information, I look forward to speaking with you tomorrow as planned.

    Please see the link below:

    Kind regards

    Adam White

    Head of Exit Strategies

    Tel- 0203 657 6517


  10. Hello! I just eat to ask if this christy john browne is wanted or fugitive or involve with this carbon credits??

  11. I need to ask I mean. This guy christy john browne if u have any pictures of this guy or more details about him.

  12. @Mai (#11) – I don’t know anything about Christy John Browne, except that he’s 23 years old and he’s director of three companies: End Away Ltd, Glenleigh Trading and Spotstock Trading.

    Glenleigh Trading’s website has now disappeared.