Tree charity seeks KPMG explanation

Environmental charity Trees for Cities has written to KPMG demanding clarification on work carried out by the firm’s client, Future Forests.

KPMG provides an assurance and verification service to Future Forests, an organisation that sells major corporations the ‘rights’ to carbon contained within trees.

These rights are bought by the companies to ‘offset’ carbon dioxide they produce, essentially making them ‘carbon neutral’ and more environmentally friendly.

The letter from Trees for Cities CEO Graham Simmonds asked KPMG to clarify certain aspects of Future Forests’ work. This includes whether Future Forests is selling the rights to carbon in trees it didn’t plant.

Simmonds contacted KPMG to ask whether the firm understands that by verifying the ‘carbon management chain’ of Future Forests, it is assuring a process that may not be as environmentally friendly as it appears. This chain includes payment and order processing, and tree-planting projects.

‘KPMG is providing them with credibility – a stamp of approval,’ Simmonds told Accountancy Age.

Jonathan Shopley, Future Forests chief executive, is adamant that the work done by his company is well-documented, and KPMG’s verification process serves its purpose.

‘KPMG does an important job to verify that we do what we say we do,’ said Shopley. ‘The issue comes down to Trees for Cities having a concern about what we do, rather than what we say we do.

‘We have a protocol that defines how we execute our business … KPMG participates in a review of our standards and provides us with much-valued advice.’

KPMG confirmed that Trees for Cities had been in contact about Future Forests, but refused to comment further.

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