In June 2011, Industry RE forward purchased one million REDD carbon credits from an Irish company called Celestial Green Ventures. On 11 September 2013, the High Court in London appointed Julie Palmer and Jason Greenhalgh of Begbies Traynor as joint liquidators of Industry RE, “on the application of the Secretary of State and following intervention from the Public Interest Unit”.
In March 2012, Ian Hamilton, Industry RE’s director, told Point Carbon that Industry RE had sold credits from Celestial Green Ventures’ project in Brazil to Middle East subsidiaries of Coca-Cola and Canon, something both companies deny. But Industry RE did sell carbon credits to the public from Brazil and from the April Salumei REDD project in Papua New Guinea.
“In 2009 Industry Re partnered with Celestial Green as they entered into their first REDD project. This entailed the purchase of a majority share holding (97%) in a Brazilian company – Capital First Management Bank Ltda, who own 10,000 hectares of tropical rainforest in the state of Rondonia, Brazil. CFMB also had a mining licence for the gold mining on 4,300 hectares of this pristine area of land. By purchasing this company, Celestial Green have let the mining licence lapse and intend to preserve this ecologically delicate area through obtaining carbon credits under the REDD guidelines.”
For more on Celestial Green Venture’s projects in Brazil, the Brazilian authorities’ reaction and a description of the somewhat tortuous formation of Celestial Green Ventures, please read this post and this post on REDD-Monitor.
Industry RE and Ian Hamilton are involved in various other companies and websites:
- Industry RE Sustainable is 50% owned by Industry RE. On 9 September 2013, the company requested voluntary dissolution. The company’s director is David Beer, a Sustainable Business Professional at The Guardian newspaper.
- A company called Industry Carbon claims on its website to be “the UK’s leading carbon offset retailer”. Industry Carbon’s director is Stuart Priestley-Smith. The company shares Industry Re’s address and the website was registered by Ian Hamilton.
- Industry Carbon runs a website called My Tree Frog, which was registered by Ian Hamilton. The managing director of the website is Stuart Smith. The My Tree Frog website sells carbon credits from Celestial Green Ventures’ REDD project in Rondonia, Brazil.
- Industry Carbon owns another website, SOS Challenge, which advises schools on reducing their carbon emissions – including the use of carbon offsets. In the terms and conditions we read that, “Only carbon credits issued and retired by Industry Carbon ltd and Industry RE Ltd will qualify for the Challenge”.
- Another company, called Get Neutral, shared Industry RE’s phone number, before Get Neutral was dissolved. Its website was registered by Ian Hamilton.
A company called Emerald Knight was involved in selling Industry RE’s carbon credits. In a company brochure, Industry RE explains that,
Industry RE have teamed up with Emerald Knight to provide a superior customer service experience with a superior investment opportunity…. Industry RE have contracted Emerald Knight to provide a sales platform that can deliver a personal customer service throughout the life time of the investment.
In its brochure Industry RE promised that,
Industry RE will sell the credits for £10 per VER to provide a fixed return to the purchaser of 30% of the original purchase price payable upon delivery of the VER.
Over recent months many of the people unfortunate enough to have bought carbon credits from Industry RE have noticed that returns on their “investment” have dried up and that they cannot sell their carbon credits.
The company moved to Dubai and added another company to the stable: Industry RE LLC (although I can’t find any sign of a company called Industry RE LLC registered in Dubai – or anywhere else – on Open Corporates).
On 9 April 2013, Ian Hamilton issued a “Payment-FAQs” document which includes details about an FSA-issued freezing injunction, two new company bank accounts in Dubai, UAE red tape, labour cards, visas, invalid fund forms, and so on:
Every day we have customers who have not had returns is damaging beyond repay all the good work we did to create and all the sustainable measures implemented around the world. This is a situation I really don’t want. I am working 24/7 in branches, notaries etc to accelerate this. I expected it was going to be completed last Thursday and monies released.
He issued further “dog ate my homework” excuses during April and May 2013. On 24 April Hamilton promised that “All payments will be completed by tomorrow”. On 1 May, he gave two reasons why the bank was blocking payments. The first was that customers were complaining directly to the bank. The second was that “Third Party Websites” were “using our name and linking to Action Fraud in the UK”. Hamilton’s response to this?
Please note that we have and always will defend our name and reputation and are taking very strong action against the people behind these. Our services have always been unique, cutting edge and factual and these misrepresentations are incredulous [sic].
On 3 August, Industry RE produced yet another update, “with regards to developments over the last few weeks which will enable payment to be made to the customers who purchased carbon credits from Industry RE Limited”.
One investor, who sank more than £33,000 into Industry RE, has been trying to get his money back since at least December 2012. He set up a website, industryre.net, as a public record of Industry RE’s failure to pay him, despite several promises from Ian Hamilton to do so. Two days ago the investor behind industryre.net told REDD-Monitor, “I have NOT recovered a single penny from Industry RE.”
The liquidator, Begbies Traynor, is asking for investors with Industry RE or anyone with information about Industry RE to get in touch with them. Begbies Traynor can provide details of the the Industry RE creditors’ meeting which will take place towards the end of November:
For investors with a claim against Industry RE, or for anyone with information that may assist with the investigation, please contact the joint liquidators on industryRE@begbies-traynor.com, providing your full contact details for future correspondence.