in Australia, Brazil, USA

For sale: 1.5 million “heavily discounted” vintage REDD credits from Mato Grosso, Brazil

Mato Grosso, BrazilOn 19 January 2012, Charles Mauro posted the following message in a LinkedIn discussion group: “I have 1.5m + vintage REDD credits from Mato Grosso Brazil for sale and heavily discounted.”

In the interests of transparency, REDD-Monitor has taken a look at Charles Mauro’s business operations and sent him some questions. Charles Mauro is CEO of two companies: REDD-Carbon and Iceus Global. Little information is available about either company. Even less is available about the companies’ previous experience with carbon trading.

We’ll start with the post on LinkedIn:

Charles Mauro registered REDD-Carbon’s website on 6 May 2011. Here’s a screenshot of the company’s website, “The Rain Forest Carbon Specialist”. There’s not much more information on the other pages.

The photograph was taken from flickr – it’s a photograph taken on Dorrigo plateau in Mid-North NSW, Australia. As it’s in Australia it would not be possible to sell REDD carbon credits from this forest.

According to the “What we do best” page, REDD-Carbon partners “with project owners and deliver financial and consultancy solutions to our investors.” The company’s “international product portfolio” includes both voluntary and compliance credits (“Gold Standard CERs”). This is interesting, as no such thing as compliance REDD currently exists and will not exist until there is a REDD agreement at the UN level.

Clicking on the “Team REDD-Carbon” link reveals that the “team” consists of one man: Charles Mauro.

Incidentally, REDD-Carbon’s website bears a more than passing resemblance to that of Aleatoric Media Group Inc., “The Carbon PR Specialist”:

Charles Mauro registered Aleatoric Media Group’s website on 14 January 2008. “Team AMG” consists of Claudia L Bond, (VP PR) and Charles Mauro (Consultant). The postal address of both REDD-Carbon and Aleatoric is a P.O. Box in La Jolla, California, USA.

On his LinkedIn profile, Mauro describes himself as CEO of Iceus Global. The Iceus Global website was established on 15 October 2008. The company seems to have been registered on 10 August 2006, in New South Wales, Australia.

Most of the Iceus Global website is still “To be done”:

Of course, all this proves is that Charles Mauro registered a couple of very similar websites and is CEO of another company that has not yet finished its website. As far as I’m aware, that is neither illegal nor unethical. But none of the information about these companies provides any reassurance about the validity of the 1.5 million “vintage” REDD credits that Charles Mauro is hoping to sell at a “heavily discounted” rate.

REDD-Monitor sent the following questions to Charles Mauro and looks forward to posting his response.


UPDATE – 29 March 2012: Mauro replied on 27 March 2012. His response is posted in full here. He declined to answer most of the questions.


From: Chris Lang
Date: 21 March 2012 16:44
Subject: REDD in Mato Grosso
To: Charles Mauro
 
Dear Charles,
 
Greetings from Jakarta! My name is Chris Lang and I run a website called REDD-Monitor (www.redd-monitor.org). I saw your recent post on LinkedIn (http://linkd.in/GE5bPY) about REDD credits from Mato Grasso Brazil. I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions about these REDD credits.
 
1. Are any details about the project from which these REDD credits come available to the public?
 
2. Has a project design document been produced for the project? Is this publicly available? If not, why not?
 
3. Has the project been validated and verified under CCBA or VCS? Two projects in Mato Grosso are listed on the CCBA website – are your REDD credits from either of these projects?
 
4. Please provide details of the project – what area is covered, how do you propose to avoid deforestation in the project area and how has the number of carbon credits been calculated? How will the project be monitored?
 
5. Has a process of free, prior and informed consent been carried out with indigenous people living in the project area?
 
6. In your post on LinkedIn, you mentioned that the credits are “heavily discounted”. At what price are you selling the credits? Why are they “heavily discounted”?
 
7. Has a benefit sharing agreement with indigenous people living in the project area been worked out? How much will the indigenous people receive and how will the money be passed on to them?
 
8. How many people does your company REDD-Carbon employ? And how many people are employed by Iceus Global, your other company?
 
9. Is the Mato Grosso project the only REDD project that REDD-Carbon is currently involved in? Could you please provide details of any other REDD-type projects that you are involved in.
 
10. Have any of your companies previously sold carbon credits? If so, please provide details.
 

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Please consider your response to be on the record.
 
Regards, Chris Lang

 

Leave a Reply

  1. Six months ago, Charles Mauro posted the following on LinkedIn:

    I just checked on the VCS project database website. As far as I can tell, there are two forestry and land use projects listed in Brazil (both reforestation projects – http://bit.ly/GJDAYr and http://bit.ly/GLKUX1). One has an estimated 15,512 VCUs a year, the other 6,870. I’ve replied to Mauro’s post on LinkedIn and asked him to provide a link on the VCS website to the project in Brazil that is generating “1.56 million Brazilian REDD carbon credits with ISO certification, VCS registration”.

    I wonder whether anyone bought any of these credits from Charles Mauro?

  2. Interesting to say the least! Both of Mauro’s websites are far too simple and lack detail in respect of business history, past achievements, people, skills, etc…and the Iceus global website looks like its been dormant for several years. How exactly does a business become an accredited carbon rainforest specialist anyway? Is there a UN agency or other which provides accreditation so potential buyers/ investors can determine between those that are legitimate and those that are a sham?

  3. @Robert M (#2) – Thanks for this. Your question is a good one: “How exactly does a business become an accredited carbon rainforest specialist anyway?” The answer currently is that anyone can set themselves up as a forest carbon trader. There are various voluntary certification and verification schemes (VCS, CCBA, Plan Vivo) without which it is much more difficult to sell carbon credits (because you need the verification to “prove” that the carbon credits actually exist.

    But there is nothing to stop anyone from setting up their own verification system – the question then is whether they can convince potential buyers that their scheme is genuine.

    The UN has not yet agreed on rules for REDD, including whether or not REDD will be a carbon trading scheme.

    There are lots of posts on REDD-Monitor about the problems with trading the carbon stored in forests. There’s an interesting discussion following this post about the regulation of trading forest carbon on the voluntary carbon markets.

  4. To have a market-based solution you have to have a market. You can’t have a healthy market if you try to regulate against all risk for the buyer. If you’re a fan of regulation, then Australia is for you. The Australian Carbon Farming Initiative has a regulatory regime that starts from the premise that all sellers are crooks. The Integrity Standards are so stringent few farmers will supply. Before I could buy and sell units in the CFI I was investigated by the Australian Federal Police and several other federal agencies and declared ‘a fit and proper person’. To stand up in front of an audience and discuss Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), I had to get an Australian Financial Services Licence, which are expensive and difficult to get. This is the result of the decision to make an ACCU a financial instrument. The determined crook will do what determined crooks have done since before Christ was crucified between two of them. I believe risk is best managed by the price mechanism, industry standards, and self-regulation with teeth. I am a buyer and a seller of REDD units.Outlets like this blog are an essential part of a free market for information which supports the free market for offset units.