Easy Being Green, the high-profile environmental company championing energy-efficient technology, has gone into voluntary administration, bringing to an end the carbon offset industry in NSW and a bold experiment by entrepreneurs to help the environment.
KordaMentha is handling the administration but a spokesperson says it is too early to comment on the size of the debts.
Paul Gilding, the chief executive of Easy Being Green, says the company was badly affected by the collapse in the price of carbon from $12 to $6. “I am very disappointed the Government did not see fit to protect a very innovative scheme.”
The company sold carbon offsets and guaranteed that for every tonne of carbon emitted, a tonne somewhere else is removed by installing energy-efficient products.
Gilding and his crew went around homes and businesses and installed equipment such as low-energy light bulbs and water-saving showerheads that cut people’s bills. “We cut the pollution and then sell that pollution.”
All well and good until the Federal Government announced recently that it was going to implement a national carbon trading scheme. Soon after the price of carbon credits began to fall.
Gilding says he does not know the extent of his debt but the company was believed to have revenue in 2006 of $40 million.
Gilding says 240 people have left the company – people who are passionately committed to the environmental movement.
Gilding claims that big companies can buy credits but that the price of credits are fixed. “Small companies are not given a floor so the price can fall. It means the small companies take all the risk but the big companies have protection. And the big companies are happy because they don’t want competitors.”
He believes the NSW Government should have intervened to provide a floor price for small business. He claims the other companies operating in the market have all diversified.
“Now there is no one driving a mass community campaign or providing services to individual households and businesses to cut pollution,” he says.
One competitor was Neco. Jeremy Davies, director of Neco, says his company has got out of that market. Easy Being Green should have seen this coming, he says.
He says Neco has restructured and diversified into consulting, retail and other services.
But Gilding is confident it is not the end. “We are looking at how to bring the company back to us,” he says.