in Canada, Nicaragua, USA

Has EcoPlanet Bamboo really found a buyer for its bamboo in Nicaragua?

On 19 April 2018, a company called BAP Industries of Guatemala announced that it had signed a 10 year Bamboo Purchase Agreement with EcoPlanet Bamboo. Under the agreement, BAP Industries agreed to buy bamboo from EcoPlanet Bamboo’s plantations in Nicaragua.

In case you’ve not been following the EcoPlanet Bamboo saga, REDD-Monitor has written a series of posts since September 2016. It’s quite a story, featuring boiler rooms in the UK promising returns of “up to 895%” for investors in EcoPlanet’s “Bamboo bonds” – returns which, needless to say, never appeared. EcoPlanet Bamboo’s response to REDD-Monitor’s posts was an ad hominem attack.

US$60 million bamboo bio-refinery and pulp mill

According to the latest press release involving EcoPlanet Bamboo, BAP Industries plans to invest US$60 million in building a bio-refinery and paper mill in Nicaragua, as “part of a strategic alliance with Advance Pulp and Paper Machinery AP&P Machinery of British Columbia, Canada”.

In the press release, EcoPlanet Bamboo’s CEO, Troy Wiseman says,

“The Bamboo Purchase Agreement with BAP, and larger partnership into a state of the art manufacturing facility in Nicaragua fulfills a major goal we set out to achieve seven years ago. Most importantly it will provide hundreds of much needed jobs in Nicaragua, reward all those who have contributed towards achieving our triple bottom line vision, and provide the final piece in the building of a global bamboo resource base as a viable and market driven solution to deforestation.”

The press release makes no mention of where the finance for BAP Industries’ pulp mill might come from.

Stored carbon?

Pulping the bamboo presumably knocks EcoPlanet Bamboo’s plans of selling carbon credits for six. In its validation audit report for the Verified Carbon Standard (now called Verra), Rainforest Alliance quotes from the project document:

EcoPlanet Bamboo is growing Guadua aculeata for high end markets such as flooring, construction, and structural products. Such markets traditionally rely on species harvested from natural forests, therefore contributing to deforestation, as well as the continued trend towards endangered status for many of these species.

Instead of being used in construction, where it would at least continue to store carbon for a number of years after harvesting, the bamboo will be pulped and made into short lived toilet paper, cleaning and tissue products.

Meanwhile, EcoPlanet Bamboo has all but abandoned its plantations in Nicaragua. In March 2018, more than 80 workers protested in the streets of La Rama, Nicaragua, demanding EcoPlanet Bamboo to pay their salaries.

According to a recent article in Trichera de la Noticia, with the headline “Fraude EcoPlanet”, the workers have been waiting more than two years for their salaries to be paid. Only eight people still work for EcoPlanet Bamboo in Nicaragua, according to the article.

A look at the two companies, BAP Industries and Advanced Pulp & Paper Machinery Ltd, is no more reassuring.

BAP Industries

A search for BAP Industries and the company’s CEO Mario Salan reveals only that the company recently produced a press release about its planned bamboo pulp mill in Nicaragua.

And BAP Industries’ website (bap-industries.odoo.com) is currently down:

Failing to keep up with a website subscription is perhaps not the best strategy for a company that’s just announced a US$60 million project.

Advance Pulp & Paper Machinery Ltd

A company called Advanced P&P Machinery Ltd was registered in Canada on 23 November 2016. The following day, the company changed its name to Advance Pulp & Paper Machinery Ltd.

So the company’s statement on its website of “over 25 years of advanced engineering design for pulp & paper machinery” should be taken with a generous pinch of salt:

The image on the right is not one of Advance Pulp & Paper Machinery’s projects. It’s a stock photo from Getty Images.

The “news” section of the company’s website is a bit of a give away. There is only one piece of news: The announcement of the proposed pulp mill in Nicaragua.

A search on Google reveals little about the company.

The company’s website was registered on 23 November 2016. It was registered anonymously by Nexperian Holding Limited, a privacy registration service in Hangzhou, China.

Mark Nash is CEO of Advanced Pulp & Paper Machinery, a position he’s held since February 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before then he was CEO of CanOre International Consulting Inc.

Here’s Nash at CanOre International (left) and Advanced Pulp & Paper Machinery (right):

CanOre International’s website states that in 2015, Nash was named Executive of the Year by Who’s Who of New York. Sounds impressive. But the award was actually handed out by an organisation called Worldwide Branding, which operates under the catch phrase, “We build your personal brand”.

CanOre International was dissolved in May 2017 after the company failed to file financial reports in 2015 and 2016.
 

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