Thursday, August 07, 2008

Carbon Planet in the news

I met one of the founders of Carbon Planet (Dave Sag) when I was at the 2nd Annual Climate Change Conference 2008 recently in Sydney.

Dave also told a fantastic story about the time that the Summer Nats ("tits" and "burnouts" or "the bogan festival" as I think he called it) organizers rang him needing to make their event greenhouse friendly. LOL !

Anyway here is the story from The Age by Phillip Hopkins . . . (and a good plug for Carbon Planet too!)

Phillip Hopkins
The Age
August 8, 2008

DAVE Sag has been called many names, but it does not worry him.

He is doing what he loves — running a ground-breaking business in the new world of greenhouse emissions trading.

Mr Sag is a founder and now executive director of Australian company Carbon Planet.
The company helps businesses measure, save and manage carbon emissions and organises carbon offsets.

The name may sound like something out of a greenhouse marketing manual, but Carbon Planet has done the "hard yards". The Federal Government's Department of Climate Change this year certified the company's operations and services "greenhouse friendly". "It's an expensive, complicated and difficult process to get qualifications," Mr Sag said.

Carbon Planet also complies with many international standards and protocols and is one of the few Australian participants on the Chicago Climate Exchange.

"The exchange is growing in strength, and we've been involved in it for some time," he said.
The unlisted public company has about 40 shareholders, and was founded in 2000 by Mr Sag and Ross Williams, a computer science PhD. Mr Sag's background is in IT and software. The two men are still on the board, along with executive chairman Jim Johnson.

At the time the company was set up, a lot of groups were trying their hand in the new, evolving carbon-trade world. "Some were former hippies, or well-meaning tree growers and environmentalists," Mr Sag said. "There were no scientists, engineers or mathematicians."

From the start, Carbon Planet set itself the task of getting that expertise. "There was a lot of noise, negative publicity about offsets, but we wanted to back our claims with good engineering," he said. "We now employ serious scientists and economists. We employ more engineers than most consultancies."

Carbon Planet has about 60 employees, with offices in Melbourne and the other Australian capitals, London and Vancouver. Some employees are also shareholders.

The company has four key areas of operation:

■A greenhouse auditing, energy reduction and carbon management service.
■Education for the corporate sector.
■Scientific analysis and consultancy to create carbon credits from valid projects.
■ A community-focused range of carbon emissions management and reduction services.

Mr Sag places an emphasis on credibility.

"Many are emerging with no qualifications and not many standards," he said.
"Transparency is such an issue. It separates us from the cowboys."

Carbon Planet must file half-yearly reports with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. "It's more comfortable for big organisations who deal with us," Mr Sag said.

"We are more accountable than a private company. It forces us to be on top of our game."
Mr Sag believes in man-made climate change, but thinks the carbon economy has gone beyond that issue.

"The carbon economy has its own legs," he said. "There are fears about peak oil, resource depletion and an understanding we live in a finite world.

"We know we have to be more efficient and eventually move away from fossil fuels. It's a form of future planning."

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