Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Loan Documents Shed Additional Light on HSRC Project

Financial documents relating to the Haida Gwaii OIF experiment are now circulating (courtesy of the Living Oceans Society, a Canadian marine conservation group), offering additional details on project conception and funding.  The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC), which carried out the field test, was a creation of the Old Massett Village Council (OMVC), one of two local "band" (First Nations) governments in Haida Gwaii.  With parity funding from the nonprofit Gwai Trust Society, HSRC obtained a loan for CAD$2.5 million ($2.5 million) from the Northern Savings Credit Union.

Interestingly, in its evaluation of the HSRC loan application, the credit union raised a number of red flags: failure to identify credible scientific authorities who back the project; lack of clarity regarding the offset crediting process; inadequate regulatory undertakings; questions surrounding the reputation and background of Russ George.  HSRC identified Schoppmann, a Swiss firm, as a willing buyer of offsets for the German carbon market, but the credit union found little evidence to substantiate this.  Despite these concerns, the loan was approved on the following logic:

Clearly, this credit as structured really represents a loan being made on a fully secured basis ... and as such one might argue that you are clearly borrowing your own money.  Whilst this does certainly give considerable comfort to your banking partner, there is from our perspective a requirement to provide you with our candid opinion of the risks associated with this project.  In this way we can clearly say we have assisted our members to the best of our ability in having them recognize the risks associated should they choose to proceed.

Just as clearly, HSRC CEO John Disney and other company officials felt these risks were either minimal or mitigated.

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