Advanced Global Trading, a Dubai-based company selling voluntary carbon credits to retail investors, has been accused of being either a boiler room scam or Ponzi scheme by a website which writes about emissions and deforestation.
The article is written by Chris Lang founder of the website Redd-Monitor.org, which provides “news, views and analysis about reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”.
Carbon credits, of which there are two types – voluntary emission reductions and certified emission reductions, are certificates which represent a company's right to emit one tone of carbon dioxide and can be traded for money legitimately.
However, there has been a history of them being traded illegitimately. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (or Financial Services Authority as it was at the time) has previously warned investors to be wary of unsolicited approaches to purchase the investments.
In a statement, which is still available on the old FSA website alongside further information about the scam, it said: “Carbon credits can be sold and traded legitimately and there are many reputable firms operating in the sector.
“However, we are concerned that an increasing number of firms are using dubious, high-pressure sales tactics and targeting vulnerable consumers.”
In the article, published last month on Redd-Monitor.org, Lang suggests that AGT is artificially inflating the price of the carbon credits it trades by selling them to new customers, much like a traditional Ponzi scheme.
The company makes its money by taking a commission on each transaction so will continue to make money as long as new investors continue to buy carbon credits from existing investors.