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Daily ESG Briefing: Ex- BP chief to chair $4bn BeyondNetZero investment strategy

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Growth equity investor General Atlantic has formed a new venture called BeyondNetZero, targeting early-stage climate solutions. The platform aims to raise $3bn from clients in addition to an existing $1bn provided by General Atlantic funds. It will be chaired by John Browne, who was Group Chief Executive of oil giant BP between 1995 and 2007, and is currently a Senior Advisor to General Atlantic. It will form a strategic partnership with sustainability consultancy SYSTEMIQ, which will help develop an in-house method of measuring, disclosing and addressing carbon emissions. 

The Transition Pathway Initiative, a group of asset owners focused on promoting credible corporate climate transition plans, has asked the TCFD to go back to the drawing board on its plans for an Implied Temperature metric. In a letter this week, the group reiterated its concerns about the current proposals, which it suggests would result in a lack of credible information on the climate trajectories of firms. “We have offered to work with TCFD to map out the steps that need to be taken to develop an implied temperature metric, to define the data needed to construct such metrics and to understand how these metrics might be used in investment decision-making,” the letter said.

Goldman Sachs has warned that its corporate clients will face higher costs of capital if they don’t embed climate change into their core business strategy. Speaking on a Goldman Sachs podcast, John Greenwood, head of the bank’s Decarbonisation Group, said institutional investors’ increased focus on ESG within their investment decisions meant companies not taking decarbonisation seriously could suffer higher costs and a lower valuation.

Investors have backed calls by the CEOs of the Principles for Responsible Investment, Ceres and CDP for US congress to increase the climate ambition of the country’s infrastructure plan. In an open letter, Fiona Reynolds, Mindy Lubber and Paul Simpson said the current package, which includes $15bn for electric vehicle infrastructure, does not go far enough and called on Congress to “take decisive action”. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing at Impax Asset Management, Julie Gorte, and CalSTRS Investment Director Kirsty Jenkinson all issued statements in support of the letter. 

The Bank of Japan has said it will offer zero-interest loans to lenders financing climate change projects. Eligible instruments for the one-year loans, which can be rolled over an unlimited number of times until the planned end of the programme in 2031, will include green bonds, sustainability-linked bonds and transition bonds.