How do you solve a problem like MBS? Saudi Arabia presents a governance risk impact investors can’t ignore. “For investors who assess countries, along with companies for environmental, social and governance, or ESG, factors, Saudi Arabia has long gotten a red flag for ‘G,’” writes Imogen Rose-Smith in her latest Institutional Impact column on ImpactAlpha. In 2017, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, widely known as MBS, swooped in as a modernizing influence with a promise of economic transformation and social change. Then, Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi walked into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul to secure paperwork he needed to marry his fiancee. She never saw him again. This February, the U.S. Office for the Director of National Intelligence declassified its report on the 2018 assassination, which found that MBS’s “absolute control” of security and intelligence make it “highly unlikely” Saudi officials would have tortured and killed Khashoggi without the authorization of the crown prince.
Dealflow: Follow the Money
Mitsubishi and South Pole partner to finance carbon-removal tech. Carbon removal technology that captures CO2 from the air, coupled with permanent storage, will be key to decarbonization efforts, according to South Pole. The Swiss climate project developer aims to procure at least $800 million worth of carbon removal credits by 2030 in a facility backed by Mitsubishi Corp. With current carbon removal technology costs ranging from $50 to over $400 a ton, the Next Generation Carbon Removal Purchase Facility “will provide a secure revenue stream for new carbon removal technologies to accelerate their development,” said South Pole’s Patrick Burgi, adding that the facility will “help drive down the price per ton of CO2 removed over time."
Signals: Ahead of the Curve
Campbell promotes “circularity” yet continues to supply single-use packaging. Food packaging creates 680 million tons of global greenhouse gas emissions. Pressured by consumers and regulators, fast-moving consumer goods firms are changing their packaging strategy. Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup Company has set goals for “sustainable packaging to promote circularity” through supply, disposal and recycling processes. An analysis by Swiss impact ratings firm Impaakt, however, found Campbell used more than 400,000 tons of packaging in 2020, including nearly 40,000 tons of non-recyclable packaging.
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Greg Jones, ex- of CVC Capital Partners, joins LeapFrog Investments as head of investor relations. Alice Maltby, ex- of Apax Partners, joins LeapFrog as an investor relations officer… Amma Sefa-Dedeh of Stanbic Investment Management Services is named CEO of Impact Investing Ghana, the GSG's Ghanian National Advisory Board… Teree Henderson, ex- of Partnership for Public Service, joins SoLa Impact as director of social impact (see, “Agent of Impact: Martin Muoto”)… Judy McElroy of Fractal Energy Storage Consultants joins the board of directors at Community Energy.
“It’s a great time for new entrants, but for those of us who’ve been doing this for a while it is equally urgent to raise our game right and to not get complacent,” said Margot Brandenburg of the Ford Foundation.