School deceived by carbon neutral scheme

Posted on April 14, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/school-deceived-by-carbon-neutral-scheme-20110413-1de82.html#ixzz1KW5xNVMk

A SYDNEY school thought to have become the first in the world to go ”carbon neutral” by saving a Malaysian rainforest from logging appears to have been deceived by carbon offset company shift2neutral.

Oakhill College in Castle Hill announced the deal to protect a forest in Sarawak last year, and students were photographed with certificates supplied by shift2neutral.

The Sydney company, based in Westleigh, had earlier provided major events such as a ”green race day” at the Australian Turf Club and the Australian PGA golf championship with certificates purporting to show carbon emissions being reduced.

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The founder of shift2neutral, Brett Goldsworthy, insists that he is a legitimate player in the swiftly growing carbon offsets industry. But, more than a week after questions about his offsets were raised, he has been unable to provide evidence that his certificates have contained anything but hot air.

Oakhill College told the Herald it was deeply concerned but so far had been unable to contact Mr Goldsworthy to attempt to verify the school’s carbon neutral status.

”Our approach has always been to be open with the parent and student body and we will continue to be,” said a school spokesman, Steve Molloy.

Oakhill College has managed to reduce its carbon footprint and water use by switching to more energy-efficient lighting, planting trees, and using an old swimming pool to gather rain for watering ovals and gardens. But the majority of its carbon neutral status was believed to have come from the Malaysian deal.

Mr Goldsworthy told the Herald in an email that his offsets had been generated by partnerships with two companies – a Korean waste management company called Giant Star, and a Tasmanian logging operation called Forest Enterprises Australia.

The Korean company could not be located – Mr Goldsworthy refused to supply any contact details or a website. Forest Enterprises Australia is now in receivership, but the receiver, Deloitte, said it had checked the books and found no mention of contact with shift2neutral or financial transactions between the two companies.

Mr Goldsworthy claims to be in the process of tying up carbon offsets deals valued at more than $1 billion in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In addition to selling carbon offsets, Mr Goldsworthy has business interests in weight loss and beauty products and the sale of ”active hydrogen water”, via a company called Yukis Water.

The company’s website claims that drinking its hydrogen-enriched water neutralises ”excess active oxygen” in the human body.

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