Tuesday March 11 2008
Former BP chief Lord Browne has underlined the growing commercial value of tropical forests by joining a business that claims to mix “ethical” conservation with selling carbon credits. Browne’s appointment at Sustainable Forestry Management came as oil companies Shell and ExxonMobil said they may sell Infineum, a biofuels joint venture. Browne had wanted to take BP “beyond petroleum” and promoted green initiatives. Since leaving last May he predicted big money would be made in trading carbon as much as oil.
SFM said Browne was a pioneer in market-based responses to global warming and reputedly one of the first to recognise forests’ role in stabilising the atmosphere.
Browne said: “SFM demonstrates that a profitable, private-sector enterprise can be rooted in conscientious conservation and respect for human rights.”
SFM, a private group of firms formed in 1999, with a former head of Kew Gardens as an adviser, said it was interested in all aspects of forestry including harvesting sustainable products, biomass, carbon sequestration and eco-tourism. It is building a portfolio of forests “with the goal of becoming a leading supplier of carbon and other environmental credits and offsets.”
Shell said yesterday it had hired the investment bank JP Morgan to review Infineum for a possible sale. The joint venture with ExxonMobil Chemical originally concentrated on engine lubricants but has since focused on biofuels
This article appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday March 11 2008 on p33 of the Financial section.