The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Prime Carbon Pty Ltd.
Prime Carbon sells a 'soil carbon and sequestration program' to farmers which aims to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it in agricultural land. In signing farmers up to this program, Prime Carbon provides the following services:
- design and facilitate carbon sequestration and other greenhouse gas abatement and offsetting projects for customers,
- assist in the creation and management of specific amounts of carbon dioxide sequestered or abated from the environment (carbon credits), and
- assist in the registration and marketing of those carbon credits.
The ACCC is alleging that Prime Carbon made false or misleading representations about the National Environment Registry (NER) and the National Stock Exchange of Australia Limited (NSX). Specifically, the ACCC alleges that Prime Carbon made representations to the effect that:
- the NER registry is the sole registry that meets the standards required of carbon credit registries by the Australian Government and the carbon credits listed on the registry, were specifically supervised or regulated by the Australian Government,
- the NER registry was the place where domestic and international buyers go to source carbon credits,
- the NER had a relationship with the Chicago Environment Registry which would assist NER-listed Australian carbon credits being traded on the international market,
- it was a broker and aggregator with the NSX, and
- enquiries about the purchase of carbon credits aggregated by Prime Carbon have been or are likely to be generated by or through the NSX,
when this was not the case.
The ACCC also alleges that Prime Carbon's sole director, Mr Ken Bellamy, was knowingly concerned in or a party to, some of Prime Carbon's contravening conduct.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, corrective orders, trade practices compliance orders, findings of fact and costs.
A directions hearing has been set down for 23 February 2010 in the Federal Court, Brisbane, before Justice Spender.
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