Totem 002 – Christopher Coe

Our second featured guest is Christopher Coe, an Irishman who has spent most of his life in Australia and now resides in Amsterdam, where he has set up and managed a great electronic music production studio in collaboration with Beatport and ID&T. Long term practising Buddhist and  all round great guy who values the breaking of taboos through humour and the engendering of community.  He’ll tell you the rest….


chriscoeWho are you?

I am Christopher Coe, AKA Digital Primate. DJ and music producer with  a long history in the dance music scene globally. I am also one of the directors of Treecreds, a company that works to help events and enterprises to measure, reduce and mitigate their environmental impact (in  particular CO2 emissions) through our consultancy services and focus on the investment in avoided deforestation projects (REDD). In other words, we want to keep forests alive and we work to convince our partners to invest in this endeavour through the purchase of REDD credits to offset their GHG emissions. This is an investment in keeping forests alive!


What inspired you to create Treecreds?

I was working with a major touring festival in Australia 10 years ago and my colleague and I would look around at the piles of rubbish, plus the huge amount of trucks, taxis, flights, hotels,  food, water,  booze and power / electricity used and we thought.. what sort of impact is this having on our environment? Just one festival? And it made me feel queazy.. So, I took it upon myself to do an audit of the event.. I had a friend who worked for an environmental agency and could lend her expertise to do the audit.. It was quite a learning curve, but we discovered that the event created over 3000 tonnes of Co2 emissions each year. 

Of course I felt something had to be done about this.. and I did further research into how we could reduce and offset these emissions.. there were so many ways.. but they were often rather technical or uninspiring.. methane burn-offs, or investing in wind farms.. all really valuable, but I felt if we were going to convince the promoters and the public we need to find something REAL and also easily understandable, tangible and sexy.. Trees, everyone loves trees right?

So, in my research I read about this guy who had recently set up a project in Queensland where he went to a bunch of land holders (farmers and such like) who had large old growth or regrowth forests on their properties. He had convinced them not to chop down these trees, rather to keep them alive and care for them, in return for which he would measure the carbon held in these trees and create carbon credits that could be traded on the voluntary carbon markets. Thereby bringing an income to the landholders in return for NOT CHOPPING THE TREES DOWN and keeping them alive! 


That was it.. the guys name is Mark Jackson, he is an old forester and land care expert. I contacted him immediately.. My colleagues Richard and Zsolt and I spoke with him, he was the real deal.. and so, we decided to create Treecreds and focus entirely on these kinds of projects. That was over 8 years ago. 

One of our first clients was a visionary dutch man Duncan Stutterheim who ran an event called Sensation. We worked with him on their first Australian Sensation event with great success. 


What obstacles and resistance from potential clients have you experienced?

Many have been suspicious of the fact that we are a business, they seem to have this outdated idea that if you are doing something good for the world and the environment then you should be a not for profit organisation.. 

Many others believe that the monetisation of forest is going against all they hold dear about environmental principles.. 

Sadly if we hold on to these principles, the unprincipled loggers will decimate our forests and we will be left hugging our withered principles and crying over dead wood… 


What is your visions for the future of the project? 

We have survived over 8 years now and we see finally that the world is taking seriously the idea of forests and the trading of their value as carbon stores as a worthwhile way to help in the fight against climate change. We see that our role in some small way has helped this idea.. to date we have saved some many thousands of hectares of forest. And we wish to grow this through our continued work with events based organisations. saves us

We are a very small organisation and, as such, we need help to grow this vision. But we intend to continue to develop our business in order to achieve two things: firstly SAVE MORE TREES and, secondly, prove that businesses can survive and grow through doing good ethical work.  


As you know Sinchi focuses on the preservation of indigenous culture. What do you think are the most important lessons we can learn from such communities?

Given that in many parts of the world, forests are integral to local lives, we feel that indigenous culture is central to the preservation and stewardship of these great lungs of the world.. For me there is no question that the expertise, care and love of local indigenous communities needs to be embraced if we are to survive together as one world.

To find out more, please follow Tree Creds on Facebook here