Aspida hosts Costa Rican Ambassador for talks on Carbon Off-Setting Strategy

We were delighted to welcome His Excellency Mr Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, Ambassador of Costa Rica and Jorge Aguilar, Costa Rico's Minister Council, to the Aspida offices last week. The dignitaries were making their very first visit to the island to meet with local Green Business leaders to discuss carbon off-setting strategies.

The official visit (although designed with an eye to the future of sustainable investment) has its roots in history, with the aim of building on the links between the jurisdictions through the story of William Le Lacheur, a Guernsey sea captain who played an important role in the economic and spiritual development of Costa Rica.

Entrepreneur Marc Laine, above, and the team behind the environmental accreditation company ESI Monitor, held the meeting at our offices to reflect Aspida’s commitment to supporting and advising global businesses in developing sustainable business strategies, and is a key part of the Guernsey Green Finance initiative.

The meeting yesterday discussed the potential opportunity for the establishment and management of a ‘gold standard’ reforestation scheme, in the name of Guernsey in Costa Rica.

Mr Laine explained to the Costa Rican visitors how Guernsey is sometimes coined a tax haven, but that the island would like to gain a reputation as a green haven instead.

‘There comes a time when businesses can save [on emissions] no more and offsets become a really attractive option.

‘Not only do you enhance the reputation of your business and satisfy your conscience, but every time you offset you enhance Guernsey’s reputation as a serious player in this space,’ he said.

‘[This reforestation scheme] could be a major contributor to developing our green finance industry, underpin the island’s green credentials and mitigate the island’s business carbon footprint.’

The Environmental & Social Impact Monitor was established by Mr Laine to develop Guernsey as a leading centre for green and sustainable business and finance. It awards and accredits organisations using an internationally benchmarked environmental framework.

Long-term, one of the ambitions is to be able to sell the product internationally once the reputation of a gold standard scheme has been achieved with the work of local professionals.

He added: ‘We love the idea of creating something in the name of Guernsey and William Le Lacheur [so] that forever there’s a piece of Guernsey in Costa Rica that both businesses and citizens have contributed to.’

Also at the meeting was lawyer Claire Smith who has over 20 years of experience in environmental law, founder and managing director of Innovest Advisory, Justin Sykes, auditor for EY and keen environmentalist, Jordan Tostevin, former civil servant Jon Buckland and Aspida Group joint-chairperson Wayne Bulpitt, all of whom were in support of establishing a reforestation team.

Mr Bulpitt said he was delighted to be able to work with His Excellency and ESI Monitor to investigate commercial opportunities to develop products and services in this area.

After the meeting, Mr Laine said the talks were incredibly positive and an agreement was reached on some of the next steps.

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