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VCS Registry “has not and cannot provide advice to individuals about what companies to use to sell carbon credits”

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If you’ve bought carbon credits as an investment, you would probably be pleased to hear from someone from the VCS Registry offering help with selling your carbon credits. Unfortunately, that’s not someone from the VCS Registry on the phone, it’s another scammer.

People who have bought carbon credits as an investment will be targeted again by companies hoping to find new ways of separating them from their money. Over the past few weeks, several people have been in touch with REDD-Monitor (via comments and by email) to say that someone from VCS Registry has contacted them offering to put them in touch with companies that offer an exit strategy for their carbon credits. Soon afterwards come follow up calls from the companies themselves.

I wrote to VCS Registry (which is run by a company called APX) and asked whether VCS Registry has contacted anyone who bought carbon credits as investments in order to suggest companies that might be able to sell the carbon credits. Here’s the reply:

APX has not and will not be reaching out to individuals to provide advice about how and where to sell their carbon credits.

APX also referred me to the following statement on the VCS Registry website:

Should I invest in VCUs?

 
Unlike instruments approved for use in compulsory carbon cap and trade programs, no entities are required to purchase and retire voluntary carbon offsets. Entities that voluntarily seek to offset their GHG emissions footprint (such as corporations, governments and individuals), project developers, traders and investors are active participants in the VCU market. Therefore, there is little ability to accurately forecast demand and supply in the voluntary carbon offset space. As a result, APX strongly believes that VCUs are not suited for individuals to target as a short, medium or long-term investment. Our view is shared by the UK Financial Services Authority as well as the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance.
Note: APX has not and cannot provide advice to individuals about what companies to use to sell carbon credits.

So if someone rings you claiming to be from the VCS Registry and offering help selling carbon credits, ask for their name, job description, phone number and email address. Then contact Action Fraud.

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13 Comments

  1. I received a call recently from SKJ Capital Partners offering to sell my VCS Carbon Credits. I am still waiting details of how they intend to do this and what they want in return i.e. up front.

    Has anyone else had dealings with SKJ?

  2. I think this article shows some misunderstanding about what the V-C-S does, and is supposed to do. The best parallel I can think of – although the V-C-S is in no way an insurance comapny – is: does an insurance company recommmend car brands to you? Ok, maybe in some exceptional cases it might have some small bearing on this, but generally no.
    The V-C-S is a standard which provides a methodology for developers to develop carbon projects. The project is then audited by a DOE to verify that the methodology has been followed correctly.
    The people who may well be able to recommend where to buy carbon credits are for example MarkIt Environmental Registry.

  3. @Clive – Wrong question. An anonymous favourable testimonial from someone on the Internet tells you nothing new about SKJ.

    Instead, see if you can find SKJ Capital Partners 1) at Companies House and 2) on the FSA register. If you can’t find either of those entries, don’t do business with them.

  4. SKJ are not registered under that name at Companies House. They are on the FSA register under their full name of Simon Karl Josef with the authorising authority being the Austrian Ministry of Economy. SKJ could have cloned the Simon Karl Josef registration. I shall proceed with extreme caution with no intention of parting with more money. I’ll advise the outcome.

  5. You are right: Simon Karl Josef was registered with the FSA on 06-Dec-2005.
    From their web site:

    “SKJ Capital Partners specialises in collective investment schemes (CIS) and offers a bespoke front to back service from initial fund set up, through to on-going administration and managing the closure process. We work with fund principals and their advisors, offering independent high quality advice. We currently work with over 70 limited partnerships, 350 IFAs and over 8,000 individual investors and have been instructed to administer investments totalling over £1.8 billion.”

    So they are a fund administration service. They are not in the business of buying or selling carbon credits, not even close.

    It’s not at all clear waht’s going on here, but it’s possible that whoever is calling you is representing someone else altogether! Why not call the FCA consumer helpline, details at
    http://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/consumer-helpline

  6. Ok, point taken, you’re talking about a registry, not the VCS standard. But the point remains, your article makes it look like the VCS registry is conducting a scam (especially the headline and image), which is not the case – unless I’m mistaken, it’s someone pretending to be them.
    I’m not trying to be overly partisan of the voluntary carbon market, but I do like to combat the negative publicity your site generates. I side with Dan Nepstad (see link below) in this ongoing debate: while the forest carbon market needs a lot of work, blanket trashing of it can only do harm to forest conservation: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0925-nepstad-greenpeace-report.html

  7. @David Swallow – I’m delighted to read that you take my point that the article is about the VCS Registry, particularly given that the first two words of the headline are “VCS Registry”.

    There is no implication whatsoever anywhere in the post that VCS Registry is conducting a scam. The headline is a statement – intended to prevent the continuation of a scam conducted by companies pretending to represent VCS Registry. The scam is the sale of carbon credits as an investment. In case you haven’t noticed, there are an awful lot of companies ringing people up to sell them carbon credits as investments – more details here.

    This is only one of the scams involving carbon markets.

    I think Roman Czebiniak, Greenpeace Senior Policy Advisor on Climate and Forests, gave a good response to Nepstad, by pointing out that Nepstad,

    “fails to point out that the subnational REDD offsets the GCF advocates for would by definition, result in no additional climate mitigation since they would merely allow industrial emitters to continue polluting in California.”

  8. There is another name to add to the list – Gen Equities – I had an approach from someone purporting to be from VCS Registry and then a call from Gen Equities offering to sell some of my VER Credits, but I need to become a client for 5000 Euros first. Has anyone else been contacted by GE?

  9. Mike,
    Yes I have been contacted from this person purporting to be from some VCS association telling me it is my responsibility to be a responsible investor and log the details of my voluntary credits with Gen Equities. He told me to phone the person and is now saying the person will phone me. I smelled a rat from the outset and as such cold calls have cost me dearly to eye-watering sums there is no way I would give such people any money.

  10. Amanda,
    Thanks for your reply, I was not totally sure at the time but I sent the person from Gen Equities away with a flea in his ear. I’m glad you did not get caught either. It is so difficult at times to tell the good guys from the bad ones.
    Mike

  11. Amanda,
    We had another cold call today from Elite Asset Exchange about Carbon Credits but the caller had no idea what the difference between a VER and a CER. So watch out for this one.
    Mike