Wellz Zable is another company based in London that is selling carbon credits as investments. “Carbon credits provide investors with a unique opportunity to become involved in an innovative and rapidly growing asset class,” the company claims on its website, “whilst also helping to mitigate the worlds emission of carbon dioxide.”
Wellz Zable was founded on 12 July 2012. It has one director, 27-year-old Christopher Marcel Newell.
The company claims to deliver, “independent and comprehensive investment advice across the clean energy industry and carbon markets”. It specialises in selling voluntary carbon credits.
The quality of the “investment advice” that Wellz Zable gives is called into question by some of the statements on its website. For example, under the headline “What are Carbon Credits” is the following gem:
The dramatic growth of the Carbon Credit market to date shows just how much potential exists in a market which is only now beginning to be embraced by players as significant as America and China neither of which is an actual signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
“America” presumably refers to the US. While the US has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol (and never had any intention of doing so), it signed the Kyoto Protocol on 12 November 1988. China signed the Kyoto Protocol on 29 May 1998, and ratified it on 30 August 2002.
Wellz Zable also claims that investors,
may consider the Voluntary market to be attractive financially and see good reason to hold a portfolio of credits.
Of course they “may” do so, but as Andrew Ager, ex-head of Carbon and Emissions at Bache Commodities, points out,
“You would only buy voluntary carbon credits to offset your carbon foot print. There is no other economic reason.”
And under the heading “Who are Wellz Zable” (where absolutely no information is given about who is behind this company) is this:
The US is actively setting up its own trading scheme, the US ETS, to create a more efficient market place for growth, and there is already the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which trades voluntary credits from 400 members including Ford, DuPont and Motorola, driving global growth further.
The US is not currently setting up its own trading scheme. The Chicago Climate Exchange closed in November 2010. From February 2010, until the decision to close the exchange nine months later, monthly volume was zero.
And here‘s another:
Though Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VERs) are verified by a third party, they do not carry the costs associated with Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), which are subject to more stringent regulation, pushing up the price. This means that individuals and companies can reduce their emissions in a more efficient and cost effective way.
This is nonsense. The price of CERs yesterday on the European Energy Exchange, was €0.57. There is a wide range of prices of VERs, depending on the type of project and when the emissions reductions were made (the vintage of the carbon credits).
Several people have been in touch with REDD-Monitor, to say that they have been contacted by Wellz Zable with an offer of an “exit strategy” for their carbon credits. The only catch is that they have to invest yet more money in yet more near-worthless carbon credits for the “exit strategy” to go ahead.
Despite the fact that it has only been in existence for just over one year, Wellz Zable has changed its address at least three times. According to the most recent documents at Companies House, the company’s address is 18B Charles Street, Mayfair, London. But the Wellz Zable website gives another address, in Berkeley Square, London:
When the company’s website was registered (on 28 May 2013), Wellz Zable gave its address as 15 Stratton Street, London.
And yet another address appears in the Terms and Conditions:
We assist our clients in acquiring Carbon Credits. Clients are free to retain ownership or dispose of them when they wish. Our principal office is at International House, 1-6 Yarmouth Place, Mayfair, London W1J 7BU.
That’s the same address as Carbon Neutral Investments, a company that has appeared several times on REDD-Monitor in the past. The name Carbon Neutral Investments also appears, bizarrely inserted in a list of definitions in the Terms and Conditions.
Carbon Neutral Investments used to provide two “services”. It sold carbon credits to companies to offset their greenhouse gas emissions and it provided “clearing and settlement services” for carbon traders selling voluntary carbon credits as investments.
In April 2013, Carbon Neutral Investments transferred its offsetting business to CNI (UK) Ltd, which kept the same logo as Carbon Neutral Investments.
Carbon Neutral Investments changed its name to Opus Capital Limited.
Carbon Neutral Investments transferred its clearing and settlement services to a company called Gemmax Solutions. Wellz Zable is listed on Gemmax Solutions’ website as one of the company’s clearing members.
The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning about Carbon Neutral Investments and Gemmax Solutions.
There’s another company registered at 1-6 Yarmouth Place. It’s called CNI Clearing Limited. It was founded by Thomas Leo Knifton. It was previously called Advanced Global Trading Clearing Limited. Another company called Advanced Global Trading, in Dubai, also sells carbon credits as investments and has also appeared several times on REDD-Monitor. AGT in Dubai denies any link with UK-based companies of the same name.
Another suggestion of a cosy relationship between Wellz Zable and Carbon Neutral Investments is revealed in two links from the Wellz Zable website to two Formula 1 racing teams. One is to Sauber F1, the other to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1. Both racing teams have bought carbon credits to offset their emissions from Carbon Neutral Investments. On its website, Sauber F1 explains (in German),
CNI is closely linked with the car industry and motor sports. Especially motor sports is stigmatised as being environmentally damaging. Offsetting CO2 emissions gives the chance to tackle this stigma and at the same time to make a positive contribution to the protection of the environment.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes announced in December 2011 that,
in consultation with Carbon Neutral Investments, an independent carbon offsetting specialist, we set about investigating a number of potential carbon-offsetting schemes – looking to select projects that would prove to be both ideologically relevant to our core business and ethically viable too.
After a long, sustained search, we finally found a pair of initiatives that were a perfect fit: two hydro-electric projects in India and Brazil, chosen for their prominence on the current Formula 1 landscape and also for their employment of technical solutions that bring considerable value to local communities.
When I asked Paul Seakens, the director of Carbon Neutral Investments, which projects were selected to supply the carbon credits to make Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes “carbon neutral”, he replied, “The contract we have with Vodafone Maclaren Mercedes precludes us from divulging this information.”
In April 2013, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes announced that, “we have re-confirmed our carbon-neutral status and have formed a partnership with CNI (UK) Limited”.
I’m sure it’s only coincidence that Advanced Global Trading in Dubai has also sold carbon credits to a Formula 1 team: the Lotus F1 Team. And I can’t imagine why Lotus F1 has so far declined to answer REDD-Monitor’s questions about its relationship with AGT.
REDD-Monitor would be interested in hearing from anyone who has bought carbon credits from Wellz Zable or been contacted by the company with an offer of an “exit strategy”, either in the comments below or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE – 10 September 2013: Within minutes of this post going live, Wellz Zable’s website was replaced by the message “Server Error (500)”. About an hour later it reappeared, but the links to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Sauber F1 had gone. Here are two screenshots of Wellz Zable’s website, both from 6 September 2013 – the first taken at 9:52 and the second at 19:11: