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Carbon Project Owner Risks Closure on ‘Misleading’ Claims

April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Grupo Dinant, owner of an emissions-cutting project in Honduras, said “misleading” claims linking it to human-rights abuses may force the company to close.

Should the accusations prevent Dinant from getting finance, “that could cause the company to close,” Roger Pineda, corporate treasurer at the Tegucigalpa, Honduras-based company, said April 19 by telephone.

A German development bank yesterday said it hasn’t paid out on a loan to Dinant. CDM Watch, the Bonn-based environmental lobby group, said in February that Dinant may not hold legal claims to its land and may be linked to killings of members of the Unified Peasant Movement and the Peasant Movement of the Lower Aguan Valley.

Dinant’s viability was “at risk due to the fact of the misleading statements,” Pineda said. “Eight thousand people could lose their jobs.”

DEG Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH hasn’t paid out on a loan to Dinant and has halted its relationship, Cordula Rinsche, a spokeswoman for the development bank, said yesterday. She didn’t say why the loan wasn’t paid.

Twenty-three peasants were killed in the Bajo Aguan region from January last year to February 2011, CDM Watch said April 18, citing a report by international human rights groups led by FIAN, the FoodFirst Information and Action Network, a Heidelberg, Germany-based group that identifies abuse.

Not Approached

FIAN didn’t approach Grupo Dinant before making its report, Pineda said. A security company hired by Dinant killed five people in November last year because its guards were under attack, he said. There has been no legal action stemming from the killings, he said.

In March, FIAN requested DEG review its contract with Dinant. The human-rights group was under no obligation to consult with Dinant about what happened on Nov. 15, said Martin Wolpold-Bosien, FIAN’s co-ordinator for central America. FIAN was acting to encourage Honduras to better protect human rights, Wolpold-Bosien said yesterday by phone. “The state has not done enough to investigate.”

Dinant is investigating killings of 10 security guards and a 13-year-old boy in relation to “trespassing” on its site, Pineda said. Land-ownership rights and related deaths are currently being documented, he said. The company produces food as well as biofuel.

The human rights organizations “don’t seem to care about the people who get killed by the peasants,” Pineda said.

Cheaper Compliance

Last week, Dinant’s Aguan biogas Clean Development Mechanism project in Central America said it was evaluating Electricite de France SA’s termination of a contract to buy carbon credits. EDF terminated its involvement after the CDM Watch allegations. The so-called CDM allows rich-nation emitters to buy credits from poor nations in a bid to spread more widely greenhouse-gas cutting technology.

The credits can be used as a cheaper form of compliance for about 11,000 factories and power stations in the European Union carbon market, the world’s biggest. CDM credits for December closed yesterday at 13.15 euros ($19.23) a metric ton on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. They’ve gained 15 percent this year. EU allowances for December closed at 16.98 euros a ton yesterday.

Buyers of credits and financiers need to investigate carefully before deciding to participate in these projects, said Mark Meyrick, head of the Rotterdam-based carbon desk at Eneco Holding NV, the Dutch utility. The greenhouse-gas cut often takes place in remote areas of developing nations.

‘Proper Due Diligence’

“This is a question of proper due diligence,” Meyrick said April 19 by e-mail. Projects must consult their so-called stakeholders as part of the process seeking United Nations-overseen approval for tradable credits, Meyrick said. “In too many CDM projects, only lip service is paid to the stakeholder consultation, and the CER buyers and finance providers don’t check that properly,” he said.

Michele Reid, an EDF Trading spokeswoman, declined to comment on the consultation of stakeholders. DEG’s Rinsche didn’t immediately respond to messages and an e-mail seeking further comment.

The CDM Executive Board in Bonn, which regulates the program, may consider registering the Dinant carbon-reduction project at a meeting ending June 3, or the one following, David Abbass, a CDM spokesman, said April 18.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at

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