PE sector in unique position to combat climate change
‘The finance sector cannot stay indifferent to the climate changes. PE companies must take a more active role in the development of an environmentally friendly planet,’ says financial researcher Carsten Bienz.
‘PE parties often acquire a large ownership interest in the companies they invest in, they are in close contact with the management, and have both the financial clout and the network needed to prioritise investments and strategies that contribute positively to the global climate efforts,’ says Carsten Bienz, head of the Argentum Centre for Private Equity at NHH.
On 1 February, around 80 representatives from the private equity sector met to discuss what the industry can do for a better climate. The occasion was the yearly sustainability conference Climate Change and Private Equity organised by NHH, Norwegian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (NVCA) and SustainableInsight. Bienz gave the opening speech at the conference.
‘Capital is crucial to achieving a green restructuring. It means that the financial sector must take environmental considerations into account when investing. At the same time, it is important that the companies map risks and opportunities associated with climate change, and work toward dealing with these. This is important in order to ensure profit and prevent economic losses,’ says Bienz.
The sustainability expert and NHH alumna Susanne Gløersen in SustainableInsight believes we find ourselves in the middle of a paradigm shift:
‘Sustainability and the climate has for a long time been a matter of risk management for the PE funds. We are currently seeing an effort on their part to create environmentally friendly economic growth – not least in investments. The PE sector is in a unique position, as they can contribute to, and at the same time profit from, green restructuring,’ she says.
The international fund Ardian's Head of Corporate and Investment Responsibility, Candice Brenet, was among the conference speakers. The company invests in, among other things, Norwegian wind power. Brenet had a clear message to the participants present:
‘There is still a lot to be done in order to keep global warming below two degrees. Private equity companies have a responsibility. We must work together to combat climate changes,’ she said.
Research manager Christa Clapp from Cicero and manager Magnus Young from PwC were also among the speakers.