Almost a year ago, the BBC secretly filmed Luke Ryan, the director of Enviro Associates, making misleading claims about how much money can be made by investing in carbon credits. Ryan reckoned there was “serious money” to be made. Of course, we know he was lying. An online survey by the Financial Conduct Authority found that no one had made any money by investing in carbon credits.
Enviro Associates used to be a “clearing member” of Carbon Neutral Investments Limited. Enviro Associates is now a “clearing member” of Gemmax Solutions, one of the three companies that Carbon Neutral Investments split into earlier this year. The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning about investments involving both Carbon Neutral Investments and Gemmax Solutions. It has also issued a warning about carbon credits, in which FCA describes the sale of carbon credits as “most likely a scam”.
So, Enviro Associates’ director was filmed by the BBC misleading potential investors. The FCA has issued warnings about companies that Enviro Associates works with and about the product that Enviro Associates is selling. Yet the company continues its utterly unregulated operations, misleading people about carbon credits and relieving them of their money.
On the Financial Times blog, FT Alphaville, Paul Murphy described an email from the company as “scumbag correspondence”. Enviro Associates, it seems, has moved on to phase 2 of the scam – the recovery room. Here’s the email from Enviro Associates, targeting people who have bought near-worthless carbon credits:
We hope this email finds you well. It has been brought to our attention that you have been approached by a number of sales companies in the past regarding the purchasing of carbon credits. For example, some of the particular companies in question are: Capital Asset Partnership, Worldwide Commodities, MH Carbon Limited as well as many others.
If you have made a purchase of carbon credits through a sales company and would like to receive some of the latest information regarding the market, then please email or call me on my direct number: 01962-353170.
Please note that we pay approximately £6-7000 a year in Thomson Reuter subscription to gain the latest research that is not publically accessible. This is so that we remain accurate in all of the information that we provide over phone. It also means that we are able to provide samples of our statistical data that is provided to us from Thomson Reuters directly that is not publically accessible without paying the fees as listed above.
We look forward to offering you support,
So what happens if you reply to Enviro Associates’ email? Well, it turns out that Enviro Associates is not actually offering to sell your carbon credits. Instead it’s asking you for £798. Exactly what you receive in return for this money is far from clear, but seems to be something to do with “services”:
Firstly in the voluntary carbon market, no one can sell your credits at this stage because the trade platforms are still in development stage. If you are told otherwise by other companies then this would be a scam. The tools you need to sell when the platforms are ready is called an electronic trading account. This is the tool to make sales on platforms when accessible to do so. The latest predictions by Thomson Reuters is that platforms may be active for private investors to trade in the next 12 to 24 months. We can provide you the electronic trading account so you are ready to go as soon as platforms become available. We also provide £7500 worth of market data and news from Thomson Reuters so you know the exact developments going forward.
If you choose to wait it out and try and join a broker when platforms become active. You will not be at the forefront of the market due to lack of info provided to you. Any broker at that time will prioritise their existing clients over investors joining when exits are already established. This would obviously mean it would take longer to sell your asset. To gain the services at this point all it would cost is £798 with ourselves this would not be the same with other companies as we have very small allocations to give to people at this stage. At a later date if you tried to join you could be looking at A few thousand pounds to get exited instead of £798 to be handled throughout the lifespan of your involvement in the market.
Enviro Associates is correct that “no one can sell your credits”. But there are two reasons for this. First, your credits are near worthless and you paid far too much for them. Second, there is currently a massive oversupply of carbon credits (both voluntary and compliance). Neither an electronic trading account nor Enviro Associates’ “services” will change these facts. “Scumbag correspondence” indeed.