AN ENVIRONMENTAL scam involving a company claiming to be based in Oxford has been condemned by Green campaigners.

Oxford Sunergy Limited was wound up by the High Court after investigations by the Insolvency Service.

It was one of a large number of companies that were found to be selling non-existent carbon credits using high pressure sales tactics.

ClimateCare, based in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, has hit out at companies using such methods.

Director Tom Morton said: “The mainstream carbon market has empowered many companies and individuals to compensate for their impact on the climate by funding projects in the developing world, that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “ClimateCare focuses on projects that reduce CO2 and improve people’s lives through energy efficient cookstoves and clean water filters. “This is completely different from the miss-selling of carbon credits to individuals, who are told by unscrupulous companies that they could see a return on their ‘investment’. “We distance ourselves from such activities in the strongest possible terms.” According to the Insolvency Service, Oxford Sunergy and two London-based companies scammed customers out of £690,000.

It was wound up on September 18.

Oxford Sunergy Limited’s registered office address was at The Quorum, Oxford Business Park North.

The company had no trading presence at that address, and falsely used that address as its registered office.

A statement from the Insolvency Service said: “In practice, the companies took customer funds without providing any products in return.

“The companies were found to have all been abandoned.”

Oxford City Green councillor Craig Simmons said: “It seems they want to use the Oxford name to give themselves some credibility.

“They were nothing short of cheap scammers and the damage done to individuals was appalling. They cheated money out of a lot of people by forcibly selling credits.

“The actual legitimate businesses have done nothing wrong with buying and selling carbon credits.

“There is a risk now they are going to be tarred with the same brush.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “This is a nasty crime, preying on the savings of elderly people especially.

“It’s good these firms have been shut down, including the one claiming to be based in Oxford.

“I will be pressing for those who ran these cons to be prosecuted. Their assets should be seized and used to pay back their victims.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree confirmed the trading standards team received complaints about Oxford Sunergy Limited last year.

Mr Crabtree added that trading standards officers passed information to the Insolvency Service to help with its investigation.

Off-setting emissions

  • CARBON credits are certificates or permits which represent the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide. They can be traded for money.
  • As well as carbon credit certificates, investors can be offered voluntary emission reductions (VERs), certified emission reductions (CERs) or an
  • opportunity to invest directly in a ‘green’ scheme or project that generates carbon credits as a return on investment.
  • The Insolvency Service wound up 159 companies in the public interest in the last financial year.
  • Oxford Sunergy Ltd was one of 19 rogue
  • companies that scammed investors out of £24m.
  • There were more than 1,500 known investors in these companies.
  • In most cases the victims were aged between 50 and 84.