We are putting the spotlight on the judges tasked with finding the 2023 Future 40: Climate Change Champions

We spoke with one of our Future 40: Climate Change Champions judges Eva Morales, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder of HyveGeo, who shared her insights on responsible and sustainable investment in private markets.

Introducing Eva Morales

Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder, HyveGeo

Eva is an entrepreneur, sustainability consultant and trainer. She is Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder of HyveGeo, a climate tech start-up focused on carbon dioxide removal, and Hyve Forum, a think tank bridging academic research for climate action. She is also the founder of Circular Advisors, a consultancy that champions a circular economy vision for businesses and society. Eva combines private and non-profit sector experience in sustainability strategies and international development programmes. She is also a programme leader for the Circular Economy and Sustainability Strategies executive education programme at Cambridge Judge Business School.

What do you see as private markets’ role in combating climate change?

The urgency of reaching net zero by 2050 demands a systemic change for a transformative and just economic transition in alignment with The Paris Agreement objectives. While solutions are at hand, unlocking the necessary capital is crucial to accelerate the energy transition, and reduce and remove emissions. 

Private markets are the nexus where existing solutions and technologies, especially in the realm of clean energy and negative emissions technologies, can find the financial backing to achieve economies of scale. Furthermore, through proactive stewardship, private market investors can ensure portfolio companies integrate and adopt carbon-neutral pathways. 

Additionally, these markets can drive a broader shift towards responsible investing by setting rigorous and measurable ESG targets. Thus, playing a critical role in influencing not just through investment choices, but also in managing assets and portfolio companies transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

How have changes in attitude towards climate change in recent years impacted private markets investment?

What has been observed over the past few years is the growing awareness and concern over climate change impacting private market investment decisions. Increasingly we are seeing a transformative shift with an emphasis on ESG factors in investment strategies, viewing it not just as a risk management tool, but as a catalyst for value creation and impact. 

Arguably, the investment landscape is evolving towards responsible and sustainable practices, pushing sectors that do not meet ESG criteria to the periphery. Hand in hand with this, investors are increasingly supporting efforts and directing capital in alignment with the UN SDGs, promoting environmental stewardship and social impact. However, given the substantial investment needed for climate mitigation to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, and close the current financial gap, we need to stretch the level of ambition. One approach is aligning executive compensation to environmental and social outcomes to drive behavioural change and embed regenerative cultures within organisations and across portfolios.

What will make submissions stand out among the entries for the Future 40 Climate Change Champions?

Standout submissions will exhibit a depth of commitment to ESG principles in alignment with science-based targets and the SDGs. This involves the thorough integration of environmental stewardship and social impact into investment and portfolio management, supported by comprehensive policies with ESG provisions. Some approaches could be providing ESG training to portfolio companies and employees. 

Submissions should also display clear and ambitious targets; both short and long-term actionable strategies that are measurable and meaningful. A transparent communication approach aligned to globally recognised reporting standards will provide a sound and strong submission that demonstrates the culture of sustainability within the firm and the investment portfolio.