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Corekees

Frequently Asked Questions

I. GENERAL

The Corekees Foundation has been established to give anyone the opportunity to compensate their CO2 footprint and profit environmentally and financially. This by investing in the reforestation of cattle land with oil producing trees (Pongamia Pinnata). The Pongamia pinnata is a specific type of tree that produces nuts. Each year, these trees will be harvested and the nuts crushed to extract crude oil. This oil will be sold to the major oil companies, who will refine it into green, Renewable Diesel. The meal or cake that remains after crushing is used as either a bio fertiliser or as protein feed for cattle. Our reforestation activities captures CO2 whilst producing energy and preserving the food production from cattle.

The Corekees Foundation is led by Nick van Heesewijk (Founder & Executive) and Tamar van Heesewijk (Financials/Co-owner). Nick and Tamar are cousins who share a vision but have an opposite skillset. They are supported by a team that consists of a content writer, web developer, online marketing specialist and a designer. Nick studied both Marketing and Information Management in Groningen and worked several years as a Marketing Consultant in Amsterdam. Tamar graduated in Financial Economics (Cum Laude) from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and worked in Corporate Finance at KPMG for four years.

The fastest way to get our response is to fill in the Contact form on our website. You can also reach us by email on info@corekees.com, give us a call on +31 20 244 03 11 or reach out to us on Social Media. Feel free to reach out, we are happy to answer all of your questions.

Corekees would like everyone to benefit from our business. The best way to understand this, is by using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which defines 17 segments to make our world sustainable and liveable for everyone. Corkees participates in 9 out of 17 goals:

  1. (#2: Zero Hunger) Cattle grazing has been a major cause of deforestation in south America. The production of meat is however a necessity to feed an increasing world population. Our silvopasture agriculture methodologies prevent further direct or indirect land use change (ILUC), reverse deforestation effects and secure continuing food production.
  2. (#7: Affordable and Clean Energy) The crude oil from the trees qualifies as feedstock for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) or Renewable Diesel. Once refined, the green, renewable diesel is cleaner than fossil and even cleaner than conventional biodiesel.
  3. (#8: Decent Work and Economic Growth) At the reforestation site in Paraguay, our reforestation partner only uses local employees which are being paid above local minimum wages and provided high-standard facilities to work and live. This is an essential part of the company’s philosophy.
  4. (#9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) The reforestation site is located at the banks of the River Paraguay; the border between Brazil and Paraguay applying modern agriculture methodologies. Crushing facilities and cattle and loading ports are being developed to transport crude oil on volume river barges and sea vessels to word-wide refineries. Our oil will then be used for sustainable transportation purposes with significant improvements on CO2 emissions.
  5. (#11:  Sustainable Cities and Communities) Cars, trucks and ships can drive on 100% Renewable Diesel and airplanes are certified to use up to 50% of Renewable Diesel blends. The entire process of using the fuels versus the permanent CO2 absorbing of the trees make it beneficiary for our environment. That means that more CO2 is turned into oxygen by our trees than the oil emits in its entire life cycle. So the more you drive/fly on Pongamia diesel, the greener the planet gets!
  6. (#12 Responsible Consumption and Production) By reforesting and expanding the cattle grazing grounds, natural ways are recreated. Once planted, the trees do not need fertilization or intensive maintenance (like watering). At the same time, the cattle eat from the grass around the trees and the protein that comes from the nuts. The shell from the nuts can be used as fertilizer as well, for instance back on the trees. This method is called “Silvopastoral Agriculture” which means that we use the land for trees and livestock simultaneously.
  7. (#13: Climate Action) The trees are only planted on land that has not been deforested within the last 10 years. That is why we can speak of effective reforestation or afforestation and no additional deforestation will be incited. The cattle remain on the same land and thus there are no Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) issues. Better yet, because the tree roots put nitrogen into the soils (a natural fertiliser) and provide shade, more cattle can graze on the same land.
  8. (#15: Life on Land) The native inhabitants of the Paraguay Chaco are directly involved in the tree planting activities through jobs, planting opportunities on their reservations and most importantly the expansion of their apiculture activities.
  9. (#16: Partnerships for the Goals) The Corekees Foundation only teams up with sustainable, well intentioned parties. Therefore, we choose Investancia as our Premium Partner. Investancia is the sustainability and reforestation oil specialist in Latin America. Furthermore, we work with people and organisations that have similar goals and ambitions such as SHV Energy and GoodFuels.

For the production, planting and maintenance of the trees, we work together with Investancia. Investancia operates the largest tree production and reforestation oil programs in the world. The company is headquartered in the Rotterdam, The Netherlands and has a state-of-the-art tree propagation and research centre (their ‘Estancia’) in Carmelo Peralta, Paraguay; on the river that borders Paraguay and Brazil. More information on investancia.com.

Yes, companies are welcome to participate as well. For bigger volumes (orders over 10,000 trees), you can get in touch with us personally. Want to profit environmentally but not looking for an investment? Contact us for our charity program.

The Corekees Foundation will be visiting the reforestation site regularly and will share visual aids (pictures, drone recordings) regularly. If you are ever nearby, a visit to the reforestation site can be arranged in most cases as well. When over at the site, we can even make a picture of your tree(s)!

We have the right to visit the trees at any time. We would like to share that right with you as bond/tree holder, provided it is practical reality. In the near future, we are going to plan trips to the reforestation site too. Want to visit? Let us know!

No, you don’t. The bonds are tradable, as mentioned in our general terms and conditions. There are no guarantees however; we do have to find a buyer for your bonds. All trades will have to be handled by us so we always know who we have to inform and whom to contact to arrange for payments and bond deliveries.

After 20 years, the tree transits to the land owner. And here is why: Paraguay has a lot of (cattle) farmers. We pay them lease for the use of their land; the only thing we ask in exchange is that they remove their cattle from the land when the trees are younger than one year. After that, the cattle will not eat or trample the trees. In exchange for using their land, trees ownership transits to the land owners after 20 years. That way, the trees keep on absorbing CO2, even after our 20 years have expired.

We pay our reforestation partner in US Dollars. They pay their local bills in either US Dollars or the local currency. The oil companies and other purchasers will pay us in US Dollars. The US Dollar is worldwide the most used and most accessible trade exchange. To avoid complications and minimize exchange risks, we only apply US Dollars.

Each bond/tree you purchase is part of a batch. Batches are 10,000 trees in size. All trees in a batch are harvested and their nuts crushed at the same time. Obviously, we cannot keep track if your tree has produced a few nuts more or less than your neighbours’ tree. Therefore, we pay every tree/bond owner proportionally to the number of trees they own in a particular batch. Batching trees has the benefit that production and pay-outs are averaged out over lots of 10,000 trees.

II. THE TREES, THE OIL AND THE REFORESTATION SITE

The Pongamia Pinnata tree is a tree species that is native to India and Australia, grown around villages for the use of lamp oil for thousands of years. More recently, researchers started selecting specific genetics to commercially grow Pongamia as non-edible oil feedstock with a “meal” by-product that can be used as organic fertilizer or protein feed for cattle. In our reforestation activities, we use selected genetics or ‘elite-trees’ that are used commercially across the world; trees are drought-resistant, there are no known diseases, they do not need fertilizing, root fast and laterally (stability) and are high in yield short after planting for many years. Elite trees result from careful, years-long selection without any genetic modification; researchers just put together the strongest trees with the best skillset, just like nature does.

The Pongamia tree sequesters CO2 from the air, emits nitrogen into the ground as a natural fertiliser, and produces nuts. These nuts come in a moon-shaped shell. The kernel of the nut contain about 40% oil, the “meal” that remains after oil pressing is being used as bio fertiliser or as protein feed in cattle feed, the shells are being used as biomass. As such, the Pongamia tree is one of the highest yielding tree crops in modern agriculture.

Crude oil that comes from the Pongamia nuts is a vegetable oil just like any other (olive, peanut, soy, etc). Where one type of oil is suitable for eating, others are suitable for different uses. The oil that comes from Pongamia trees are very suitable to use as raw material for the production of green, renewable fuels. The refining process used on our oils is called Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). To get technical: it uses elevated temperatures and pressure to break down larger molecules such as those found in vegetable oils, into shorter hydrocarbon chains used in diesel engines. Renewable diesel is a ‘drop-in fuel’ that can decarbonize the existing diesel engines without any change to existing infrastructures*.

A Pongamia tree has the potential to outlive us easily. Trees live for at least 50 years to more than 100 years. The reason we are only able to profit from the trees for 20 years has to do with the use of land and the local land owners. Take a look at question 10 from the General section as to why.

Our initiatives are not called ‘reforestation programs’ for nothing. All trees we plant will stay in the ground, even after the 20-year periods expire. After that, the local cattle farmer will just let his cattle graze among the trees as he did when the trees belonged to us. We only use land that was potentially deforested more than 10 years ago and that is marginal (=not suited for food crops).

The reforestation sites are located in the province of Alto Paraguay in the north east of the country not far from the Rio Paraguay. This is the river that borders Paraguay and Brazil. The reforestation lands are accessible through dirt-roads in the Chaco or from the Brazil side by boat. The tree propagation and research centre of Investancia also has its own landing strip for small planes. The river is wide enough for volume freight river barges to load our crude oil right on the river-side of the reforestation sites. A couple of meters up-stream, there is a ‘natural roundabout’ (a tiny island) where the ships can turn, load our oil and transport it to refineries all over the world.

Yes, otherwise what is the point? Besides the reforestation-benefits, we also had an external company calculate the impact of the CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. The trees absorb CO2 throughout the entire year. Even when you include the transportation and refining of the crude oil and the actual usage as renewable fuel, the overall process still absorbs more CO2 than it emits! Check out the CO2 calculator on our homepage to see how many trees you need to neutralise your footprint.

No, the land is also suitable for other agriculture like (cattle) grazing. These cattle will keep grazing amongst the trees. The land is not suitable to grow (food)crops as the land is marginal. Most of the land we use was deforested decades ago and was either lying waste or used for cattle.

The trees absorb CO2 throughout the year, and quite a lot of it. We compared the CO2 figures to the emissions of driving a car, flying a plane or eating a piece of meat like a hamburger or steak. Use the CO2 calculator on the homepage to see how much a tree compensates or calculate the number of trees you need to neutralize your footprint.

The young trees are out-grown in greenhouses on the tree propagation site. These greenhouses have a maximum capacity of trees they can produce a year (currently about half a million trees yearly). Additional greenhouse capacity and additional propagation methodologies are constantly being developed. The tree propagation site is located in an area where marginal land is abundant. If you would like to order a large number of trees (>10,000), please contact us directly.

III. INVESTING

Each tree costs US$22.50, from which US$10,- is allocated to purchase and plant the tree. Before the first harvest, the trees and the reforestation site are maintained to optimum condition. This costs US$4.00 for the first four years, which is already included in the purchase price of the tree. After these four years, we deduct maintenance costs for the next year from the revenues of the oil and meal. Furthermore, we use US$7.50 to cover overhead costs (legal, marketing, salary , administration costs, etc.), US$1.00 to cover transaction and conversion costs (bank, payment server provider, international transfer fees, etc.).

We expect an average return of 7,8% per year over the 20 years. Our Process & Pay-outs page gives you all the information you need in this regard. Do note that the trees need 3 or 4 years to mature before the first harvest.

The trees grow quite fast but we need to give them time to mature and generate a profitable harvest. Obviously, we will only harvest the trees if the profits exceed the costs. The first (profitable) harvest is expected in the third or fourth year after your initial investment. By constant monitoring and reporting we will keep you up to date on the progress of your trees.

This is a 20-year bond, starting in the year of purchase of your tree/bond. After the 20 years, the trees transit to the land owner. This way, there are no capital expenditure for land purchase or running land lease expenses.

Your bonds are purchased under Dutch law. As they are bonds with interest and redemption, they are part of your capital (tax box 3). In the Netherlands, tax is raised only if your capital exceeds €30,360 (about $35,000). Below that, you’re free of charge and no tax declaration is even necessary. Is your capital amount more than €30,360? Then a cumulative tax applies. Check this link for the percentages per capital. Please reach out to us if you would like some additional info.

As you pay the trees in US Dollars, we will also do the pay-outs in US Dollars. Each bond equals one average tree from the batch. You will receive as much interest on your tree as the harvesting profits generate. The trees are mature in the 7th year after planting. That year, we will start paying out redemption on your US$22.50 per tree as well. We will spread the redemption over the rest of the 13 years in order to continue receiving your interest payments. Up until the 7th year, you will only receive interest from your trees. We will deposit the interest and redemption into the bank account you provided us with

The trees/bonds are tradable. That means you can always sell your tree if you or we find a buyer. We will also help you with the appropriate pricing, depending on the age of your tree at the time of selling. The trading of the trees will always have to be handled by us so we know who we need to pay and inform.

As the trees are a product of nature, there is always a risk that the harvest profits disappoint or something else, for that matter. When that happens, it will affect the interest for that year. The missed redemption-payment will be paid-out evenly over the years your bond has left. If you don’t get paid, neither do we (except for the small fee from the tree price), we are in this together.

The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (the ‘AFM’) regulates the Dutch financial markets and protects investors and organisations. For some (financial) offerings, a licence is required. The Corekees Foundation is selling bonds, which are considered (financial) securities according to the Dutch law. There is an exception to the interdiction on this (article 3:5 Dutch Financial Law). Besides, by offering less than €5 million worth of bonds per 12-months, a prospectus is not required either. However, we have compiled an Information Document according to a template from the Dutch Authorities for the Financial Markets and deposited this at the DAFM (=AFM). You can read it for yourself here.

IV. RISKS

The first year is the crucial period for the development of a healthy tree. The trees are planted in a greenhouse, moved to a shade cloth area after about 3 to 6 months and planted after 6 to 9 months (depending on seasons and weather). This is however up to or our Reforestation Partner; if a tree happens to die this first period, they will replace it. We will get the actual number of trees we order. After the first year, the trees are planted in the ground and do not need any care like watering or fertilizing. Your tree is part of a batch of 10.000 trees, from which profits are paid proportionally. So if a few trees happen to die, we will hardly notice the difference in the harvesting profits.

Although carefully composed, our projected interests and redemptions are (partially) based on assumptions. Market demands and economic developments may influence our profits. Read an extensive risk assessment in our Information Document.

We are working with an agricultural product, which means an exact prediction is not possible. Although the Pongamia tree has been extensively researched and developed, the concept of Pongamia and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is relatively young. Unforeseen circumstances like frost or a long-lasting period of drought may influence the production negatively. Read all the risks in our Information Document.

Our reforestation partner Investancia has a subsidiary company in Paraguay and has all the necessary governmental permits and licenses. We sell the protein to local farmers and the crude oil to major (international) oil companies. Even in case of political disturbances, we do not expect any influence on our business as we have all the necessary permits and licences with local and federal authorities. Check the Information Document in the Information Archives for more.

If tragedy strikes and we are forced to give up on our business, we will transfer the client administration and payments to a professional, independent administration office. They will calculate and pay-out the remaining years on your bond, in exchange for a small fee. Obviously, at that point it will not be possible to buy new trees/bonds anymore.

We reserve the rights to all profits on the trees for twenty years. If Investancia goes out of business or breaches contract, we can partner with a third party to exploit the agricultural maintenance and harvesting. Both on the Brazil as on the Paraguay side, there are plenty of agricultural businesses that could be of assistance in that matter.