Environmental Market Opportunities
Center for Environmental Markets
We recognize that many critical environmental issues cannot be solved through voluntary action alone and that establishing partnerships and ecosystems that bring together key public and private sector stakeholders is important.
In 2006, we launched the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets to undertake partnerships with corporations, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. Since then, we have established numerous partnerships that have facilitated independent research, the development of new environmental tools, and high-level convenings that have informed climate policy, valuation of forest ecosystems, energy and resource efficiency, renewables in underserved markets, and water risk.
As we look forward, the Center will continue to advance partnerships that synergistically bring together the core competencies of the public and private sectors to help catalyze much-needed capital flows towards environmentally beneficial solutions.
Through these partnerships, we will also facilitate case studies and independent research that inform public policy options. We will share our findings through publications, research papers and convenings, as well as through targeted outreach.
Our ongoing partnership is focused on providing access to off-grid energy in rural India. The project is a component of the “Bijli—Clean Energy for All” program which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the lives of rural households in India by deploying renewable energy technologies in places where grid infrastructure is unavailable. TCG has been working on a pilot project to explore innovative business models in the off-grid energy sector in India that have the greatest potential to achieve scale and attract private sector investment. As part of this partnership, we produced the report, The Business Case for Off-Grid Energy in India, which identified access to debt capital as one of the primary unmet needs for renewable energy businesses to scale up. Informed by this research, we're working with The Climate Group and other capital providers to pilot a financing vehicle which enables the access to lower cost debt.
We continue to collaborate with The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Center for Sustainable Hydropower, which is focused on identifying innovative financing structures and implementing hydropower opportunities to promote sustainable development globally. We are working with TNC to develop the Center’s Financial Solutions arm and harness innovative ways to finance hydropower that create both economic and conservation value. For additional information on this work, please see TNC's white paper, The Power of Rivers: Finding balance between energy and conservation in hydropower development, which addresses the global expansion of hydropower dams and the need to find development scenarios that provide energy, but also work for communities and nature.
Energy and Resource Efficiency
In major urban areas such as New York, buildings can account for as much as 80 percent of a city’s total energy consumption. Through a partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), we worked on a project that addresses energy consumption in commercial buildings by focusing on tenant demand for high-performing, energy-efficient space. The partnership conducted 10 pilot projects that showcase that a collaborative approach between building owners and occupants can optimize the performance of commercial office building energy consumption and the work environment. The lessons learned from these pilot projects have helped create new tools and inform policy for energy efficiency measures. In 2015, NRDC also expanded its work to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in affordable multifamily housing properties. The findings of this work included the development of a suite of resources to help affordable multifamily housing developers and owners maximize cost-saving energy efficiency and clean energy opportunities. Additional information can be found here.
The Closed Loop Fund is an innovative investment vehicle that seeks to increase recycling rates across the U.S. The partnership seeks to demonstrate that with added recycling infrastructure, increased awareness and communications and community incentive programs, there can be a measurable increase in recycling rates and job creation opportunities. This may have the potential to be funded through innovative financing structures that rely on the value created by avoiding landfill disposal fees and the sale of commodities. To test these concepts, CLF is piloting several projects focused on the multifamily affordable housing sector in New York and New Jersey. Findings from these pilots are expected to inform affordable housing developers and owners on establishing robust cost-effective recycling programs within their buildings.
Climate and Health
THE GOLD STANDARD FOUNDATION
We facilitated the Gold Standard Foundation’s development of a new standard that quantifies and verifies impacts of climate initiatives towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The methodology focuses on the health and environmental benefits delivered by technologies that promote cleaner forms of cooking and heating solutions in developing communities around the world. The first of its kind approach seeks to use Averted Disability Adjusted Life Years (ADALYs) as an impact metric to measure the health outcomes, while also contributing to addressing air pollution and climate action.
We have worked closely with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and GE as a founding member of the WRI Aqueduct Alliance, a partnership that brings together leading companies to address water risk through a global water risk mapping tool. In 2016, WRI released a series of reports which analyzed and assessed baseline water risks for corporations and governments using the web-based interactive mapping platform.
Climate and Weather Risk Solutions
Given the increasing focus on resiliency measures by policymakers and the need for greater investment in this field, we partnered with other private-sector leaders on an initiative called the RE.bound Program. The initiative seeks to design a new catastrophe bond-like product that would realize the potential benefits from infrastructure improvements that have greater resiliency measures and monetize the associated physical and financial risk reductions. In addition to traditional grey infrastructure solutions, improved resiliency measures can include seawalls and green stormwater infrastructure. By identifying the financial value from enhanced resiliency, the partnership seeks to promote greater investment.
- In 2015, we joined the RE100 Initiative, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, committing to 100% renewable energy use by 2020. We will look to share best practices with partner companies in supporting the renewable energy market.
- Since 2014, we have been members of the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), whose mission is to lead the banking industry in collectively directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development.
- Since 2014, we have been members of the advisory board for the World Resources Institute’s Corporate Consultative Group, a partnership of forward-thinking companies interested in understanding sustainability issues that affect the corporate community.
- We have been a member of the Advisory Board of the Natural Capital Project, a non-governmental organization that uses a science-based approach and software tools to quantify and value services provided by natural systems for key decision makers.