Three weeks ago, REDD-Monitor wrote about an Australian company called Sovereign Green Global Australia and its REDD project in Papua New Guinea. This morning, a response arrived from Tony Adams, the Chairman of Sovereign Green Global Australia.
Three weeks ago, I described this as “a strange story”. The response just makes it stranger. Adam’s response is posted in full below and can be downloaded here (pdf file, 144.3 kB).
OCCD “not aware” of the project
In any case, the third comment on the post is far more interesting. It is from Danny Nekitel of the Office of Climate Change and Development in Papua New Guinea. He’s never heard of Sovereign Green Global Australia’s project in Milne Bay:
The Office of Climate Change & Development (OCCD) the legitimate Government Office in Papua New Guinea that has the mandate to approve all carbon projects in the country is not aware of this project.
Contrast this with Adams’ statement that, “SGGA have had Government support for this Project since its commencement and various departments are very much aware of the status of the Project.” Strange.
Adams states that Sovereign Green Global Australia’s “arrangement” with Green Giant Venture Fund was “terminated some time ago”. Adams and his company “somehow overlooked” the documents posted on the CDM Bazaar website, which “have since been removed”. Sovereign Green Global Australia “were sadly misinformed by ‘cowboys’ in these early days”, Adams writes.
It seems that Green Giant Venture Fund has “somehow overlooked” its own website. Here’s a screen of the “Projects” page on its website (click on the image to go to an archived version of the website, as it appears today, 8 October 2014):
Sovereign Green Global Australia still has a page on the CDM Bazaar. And it still refers to the REDD project in Milne Bay. Here’s a screenshot from Sovereign Green Global Australia’s company profile on the CDM Bazaar website (click on the image to go to an archived version of the website, as it appears today, 8 October 2014):
Here’s how the company profile appeared one month ago (click on the image for the archived version, dated 8 September 2014):
Miraculously, the project area on the CDM Bazaar website has more than doubled, from 58,967 hectares to 125,000 hectares.
The link to the project idea note has been removed from Sovereign Green Global Australia’s company profile on the CDM Bazaar, but the document is still available on the CDM Bazaar website – complete with the Gold Standard logo. That’s strange, because on 18 September 2014, Lisa Rosen, the General Counsel of The Gold Standard Foundation, told REDD-Monitor that this use of the logo was “not authorized and is, therefore, illegal”.
“Crazy and funny” biomass study
Adams refers to a “Biomass Study including plot samples” that has been completed. He provides no information about the results of the study. But that’s hardly surprising, since Adams believes that, “We do not see any need to provide detailed information to the public regarding this project.”
A page on Facebook, which used to be called “Carbon Trade Project” and is now called “Climate Change and Conservation” includes some photographs of the biomass study:
€800 million to Astra Resources, €270 million of scrip, and 200 million REDD credits?
Perhaps the strangest part of Adams’ response is that he doesn’t mention Astra Resources. Perhaps he’s forgotten that Sovereign Green Global is supposed to provide Astra Resources with €800 million in “equity capital, knowhow and assets”.
An Astra Resources press release from March 2014 that explains that,
SGGA was primarily setup to convert carbon credits from their origin to monetisation. SGGA has a commercial and humanitarian arm. The carbon credits conform to the REDD+ and in many cases with the Gold Standard with the process and documents audited by the relevant global authority. SGGA have advised that the carbon credits being audited are substantial.
(The statement “The carbon credits conform to the REDD+” is utterly meaningless. And there’s another fictional reference to the Gold Standard.)
Adams now tells REDD-Monitor that, “we are not selling any carbon credits from this project until such time as they are validated and complete”. He doesn’t mention the Gold Standard, but writes that the “REDD+ Project … will be taken to VCS standards”. Adams doesn’t explain what happened to the auditing process that Astra Resources claims was underway in March 2014.
Astra Resources’ six-month-old press release refers to “200 million REDD+ Credits” from Sovereign Green Global Australia’s projects in Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Vanuatu. “These credits are at the stage of certification and will be settled over the next few months”, according to Astra Resources.
Then on 4 June 2014, Astra Resources put out an announcement under the heading “Acquisition of Carbon Credits”:
Astra has taken a very significant position in the carbon reduction market on its balance sheet in exchange for 270m Euros of scrip. The carbon reduction benefits are from the management of tropical rainforests at a country level throughout the Asia Pacific region.
(Scrip is a substitute for legal currency – outside the company it is worthless.)
There’s no mention of Sovereign Green Global Australia in Astra Resources announcement. Then again, there’s no mention of any other company running the “management of tropical rainforests at country level throughout the Asia Pacific region” that generated these carbon credits.
There’s no mention of Sovereign Green Global Australia on Astra Resources’ website. Neither is there any mention of Astra Resources on Sovereign Green Global Australia’s website. Stranger and stranger.
7 October 2014
With regard to your article currently appearing on the REDD Monitor Website concerning Sovereign Green Global Australia your awareness of correct information is paramount. This information may assist you in delivering a more accurate article on the current position of Sovereign Green Global Australia (SGGA). To see the comment “cowboys” is extremely disappointing and this, as you undoubtedly are aware, does not help the customary land owners in any way. We constantly monitor your site as we also need to be kept up to date with the latest news concerning REDD. For you to brand SGGA as “carbon cowboys” is a poor judgment on your part.
Sovereign Green Global Australia did have arrangements in the early days with Green Giant but this project and arrangement with them was terminated some time ago. CDM Bazaar documents were somehow overlooked and have since been removed. Needless to say, SGGA were sadly misinformed by “cowboys” in these early days.
An expensive lesson learned, we moved on and ultimately employed our own Analysts and other staff to undertake our current Project. SGGA felt this to be the best approach as there are many in the industry who cannot be trusted and of course a fact of which you are most definitely aware!
Sovereign Green Global Australia is committed to PNG and officially commenced the East Collingwood Bay / Mimbui Project in Feb 2014. We have committed ourselves 100% to providing a better future for the customary land owners of the project area. We do not see any need to provide detailed information to the public regarding this project and what is mentioned on our website is accurate and correct. For your information, prior to the commencement of the project and after our official signing, there have been many awareness and assistance programs carried out by SGGA with the customary land owners of that particular area. A Biomass Study including plot samples has been completed. The customary land owners have been an integral part of the Biomass Study with SGGA. There is a large working Committee of Land Owners established and this Committee work on a daily basis alongside SGGA.
SGGA have had Government support for this Project since its commencement and various departments are very much aware of the status of the Project. As mentioned earlier we have no obligation to publish everything we are doing with regards to this Project so I can see how there may be an element of unawareness by many of the Project itself.
For clarification, this Project is a REDD+ Project which will be taken to VCS standards. There is a process to follow and I can confirm that we are following all necessary and relevant steps in order for this Project to be brought to fruition. For your information our PDD will be presented to relevant persons as required until validation.
As mentioned above we have a commitment with the land owners and we are working closely with them to accomplish a better future for them and future generations whilst keeping their forests intact.
Please note we are not selling any carbon credits from this project until such time as it is validated and complete. Whatever you have been told from your sources is misleading and incorrect.
Sovereign Green Global will be focused on protecting the PNG forest now and in the future from loggers and other threats and will be providing humanitarian projects for the current land owners and for the benefit of generations to come.
I invite you to meet with us and the land owners in PNG to put your mind at rest regarding the legitimacy of the current project.
Sovereign Green Global Australia Pty Ltd