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  • Writer's pictureShernel Thielman

Unconventional Strategy: Carlyle's Investment Approach for Real-World Decarbonization

Initially counterintuitive, Carlyle, a major global private equity fund, is taking a unique approach to tackle the decarbonization of the world economy. Instead of divesting from its most carbon-intensive businesses, Carlyle is intensifying its investment in them. The head of impact at the company stated that their aim is not to shift the decarbonization burden elsewhere. Despite the pressing global concern regarding climate change, Carlyle's strategy defies conventional wisdom. António Guterres, the U.N. Secretary-General, has expressed grave concerns about the current trajectory of global warming, warning of catastrophic consequences. However, Carlyle's head of impact, Megan Starr, presents a divergent perspective. She recognizes the significance of achieving net-zero emissions but believes that divesting from high-carbon footprint companies isn't the optimal solution. Selling a few portfolio companies with a heavy carbon footprint might seem logical from an emissions reduction standpoint, yet it doesn't directly address the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Instead, Carlyle has chosen to remain invested in these companies and actively promote real-world decarbonization efforts. Carlyle's innovative approach lies in its collaboration with its carbon-intensive portfolio companies. By developing "Paris-aligned" decarbonization goals for these companies by 2030 and 2040, Carlyle has fostered a collective mission for reducing carbon emissions. Rather than divesting, Carlyle has facilitated knowledge sharing and resource allocation to encourage cleaner growth avenues. For instance, Nobian, a German chemical firm, benefited significantly from Carlyle's approach. By committing to reducing its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, Nobian secured more favorable loan terms. Achieving these decarbonization targets allowed Nobian to access "green bonds" with lower capital costs. Additionally, Carlyle's guidance enabled Nobian to adapt its operations to integrate renewable energy sources effectively. This adaptability not only contributes to sustainability but also positions Nobian as a rapidly decarbonizing chemical enterprise. Furthermore, Carlyle's guidance has prompted Nobian to explore novel revenue streams aligned with decarbonization efforts. Notably, Nobian is investigating the conversion of empty salt caverns into hydrogen storage facilities, aiding the storage of renewable energy sources like wind power. By focusing on storage solutions, Nobian has tapped into the burgeoning market for hydrogen storage, projecting substantial growth prospects. Carlyle's endgame is a testament to its unconventional approach. Instead of divestment, it champions investment with a sustainability focus. By aiding companies in their decarbonization journey and steering them away from carbon-heavy markets, Carlyle fosters both financial success and environmental impact. This strategy aligns with Carlyle's long-term commitment, driven by a recognition of macroeconomic trends that favor sustainability. The concepts of net-zero emissions and decarbonization will take center stage at the upcoming Impact Initiative event in Atlanta, where these critical topics will be discussed in depth. Investment Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial or investment advice. Investors should conduct their own research or seek professional advice before making investment decisions. The information provided in this article should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any investment products or strategies. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing in financial markets involves risks, and individuals should carefully consider their risk tolerance and investment objectives before making investment choices.

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