“Carvier Limited, a London-based company that marketed carbon credits to the public – and is linked with Tullett Brown Limited and Foxstone Carr Limited, both previously shut down for being rip-off merchants – has been wound up following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.”
This good news comes from a 30 May 2013 press release from the Insolvency Service, under the headline “Dodgy carbon credit company terminated by the Insolvency Service”.
A year ago, Carvier was offering three million BMV UCS Sustainable Units, which according to Carvier were an ethical alternative to carbon credits. The “Sustainable Units” came from several projects in Brazil that were supposedly verified by a company called Brasil Mata Viva.
Brasil Mata Viva has posted a notice about buying and selling of carbon credits on its website. The notice does not warn about the dangers of buying voluntary carbon credits as investments, but about the dangers of “Companies and agencies [that] have been unduly making use of materials branded or associated with the Brasil Mata Viva Group to sell BMV titles and products, without obtaining prior authorisation for this activity.”
According to the Insolvency Service, a Carvier brochure advertised the following projects in Brazil:
- Xingu Mata Viva;
- Araguaia Mara Viva;
- Teles Pires Mata Viva;
- Jaborandi Mata Viva; and
- Vale Foundation Sustainability Credit Generation Project.
Carvier did not reply to the questions that REDD-Monitor asked about how its carbon credits were verified and about the projects in Brazil. Barinua Nwikpo, the director of Carvier, also did not answer questions from Tony Hetherington of the Daily Mail.
In its press release, the Insolvency Service notes that Carvier had close links with several other companies involved in selling voluntary carbon credits:
The investigation uncovered the company’s close association with Tullett Brown Limited and Foxstone Carr Limited, both of which had engaged in selling carbon credits for investment to the public at exaggerated prices.
Company Investigations Supervisor at the Insolvency Service, Chris Mayhew said:
“We will investigate abuses and close down companies if they are found to be operating or about to operate against the public interest. If any investor has been contacted by this company the Official Receiver now handling its affairs will be glad to receive details of its dealings with you.”
Carvier did not oppose the winding up petition and did not cooperate with the Insolvency Service’s investigation into the company’s operations. The Insolvency Service found that Carvier failed to maintain or deliver up records, there was a risk that it would continue the “objectionable behaviour” of Tullett Brown and Foxstone and it was in breach of the Companies Act (the company failed to display its name at its registered office and did not file its annual return).
On 22 May 2013, Mr Registrar Jones ordered Carvier into liquidation on grounds of public interest. He commented that,
“It is appropriate in my judgement to wind up the company because of the non co-operation and in view of the shady nature of the business and that there is a substantial risk that the company will carry on the objectionable trading practices. I also take into account the breaches of the Companies Act, which in themselves are important, but also support the conclusion of the shady nature of the business. Therefore, I make the usual compulsory winding up order that the company be wound up.”
While it is good news that another dodgy company selling carbon credits has been closed down, it does not solve the problem. There are hundreds of companies like Carvier, that (in the short term, at least) can get away with selling voluntary carbon credits at inflated prices because the voluntary market is completely unregulated.