Inspiring innovation: private equity’s role in environmental solutions

The number of companies that have set science-based targets for emission reductions aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5°C almost doubled between just 2021 and 2022, and now stands above 4,000.1 Moreover, 92% of global GDP is now covered by a net-zero target.

Such developments are welcome, but what gives us confidence they will amount to meaningful progress? In short, the answer is that this collective will to act is matched by an accelerating ability to act. These commitments are only likely to be met through the deployment of existing technologies and scaling up innovation; they cannot be expected to come from behavioural change alone.

Indeed, the IEA estimates that the majority of the technologies needed to achieve the world’s net-zero commitments by 2030 are already market-ready; innovation in new technologies becomes more material for the net-zero path towards 2050 (Figure 1). The penetration rate of such environmental technologies is admittedly still low, but is expected to – and needs to – grow exponentially. The market size for environmental technologies is forecast to more than double from $4.9 trillion in 2020 to $12.1 trillion by 2030.

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