Singapore's Temasek commits S$5 billion to set up climate-focused investment platform

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(From left) Frederick Teo, CEO-designate, GenZero and managing director, sustainable solutions, Temasek International; and Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer, Temasek International. (PHOTO: Temasek)
(From left) Frederick Teo, CEO-designate, GenZero and managing director, sustainable solutions, Temasek International; and Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer, Temasek International. (PHOTO: Temasek)

SINGAPORE — Temasek Holdings commits an initial S$5 billion to set up GenZero, an investment platform company that aims to accelerate decarbonisation and help meet its net-zero emissions goals.

GenZero will be led by its CEO-designate, Frederick Teo, who is currently the Managing Director of Sustainable Solutions at Temasek International, according to a statement on Monday (6 June).

Teo, who has served nearly 12 years in Temasek in leadership positions across a broad range of roles, will fully transition to his role at GenZero on 1 July 2022.

"GenZero is driven by the common purpose to decarbonise for future generations. Recognising the importance of immediate action, we will focus on investment opportunities that can deliver positive climate impact by 2030 while ensuring sustainable financial returns," Teo said.

Besides deploying capital, GenZero will work with investee companies to address operational challenges and accelerate the deployment of their solutions to achieve our shared net zero target, he added.

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GenZero seeks to deliver positive climate impact alongside long-term sustainable financial returns. It will invest across three focus areas: technology-based solutions, nature-based solutions and carbon ecosystem enablers.

Investments

Investments already made by GenZero include Newlight, a US-based maker of biomaterial made from methane, which can displace plastics.

Through a joint investment with C-Quest Capital, GenZero is funding deployment of clean, energy efficient cookstoves to rural households in Southeast Asia to reduce carbon emissions.

GenZero is currently working with Decarbonization Partners, a Temasek-BlackRock partnership launching a series of funds that focus on late-stage venture capital and early growth private equity decarbonisation solutions investments; and Brookfield Global Transition Fund, which targets investment opportunities relating to reducing emissions and energy consumption.

For nature-based investments, the platform has tied up with Global EverGreening Alliance to help farmers in Kenya improve their livelihoods through land restoration and tree planting.

It has also invested in the New Forests Tropical Asia Forest Fund 2, which aims to develop a diversified portfolio of sustainable forest plantation assets in Southeast Asia and support the region’s transition towards responsible forestry management.

To support the carbon ecosystem, GenZero has invested in global climate solutions firm South Pole, which develops and implements emission reduction projects and strategies for organisations and governments.

GenZero is also working with Climate Impact X, a global carbon marketplace and exchange co-founded by Temasek, which aims to establish a credible carbon trading infrastructure based in Asia.

In addition, GenZero has made an investment in Perennial, a US-based early-stage start-up using artificial intelligence and remote sensing to accurately quantify soil organic carbon sequestration on agricultural lands.

GenZero also announced its board of directors will be chaired by Sunny Verghese, co-founder and Group CEO of Olam, and former Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The other members of the board include Goh Swee Chen, President, Global Compact Network Singapore; Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, Temasek International; Ruth Nussbaum, Group Director, Proforest and Alan Thompson, Operating Partner, Temasek International.

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