Exclusive: U.N. climate czar Carney in new bid to get private equity onboard

Bank of England governor Mark Carney speaks during a news conference at the Bank of England in London, December 1, 2015.REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo
  • To meet with executives on Wednesday
  • Blackstone, KKR, BC Partners among those slated to attend
  • Comes as few private houses sign up to GFANZ

NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) - United Nations climate envoy Mark Carney plans to meet with major private equity firms in London on Wednesday, courting a corner of the financial world that has been reluctant to join his initiative, according to people familiar with the matter.

Most major buyout firms have refused to join Carney's Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), a coalition of assets managers, banks and insurance firms representing $130 trillion in assets.

Some of the private equity firms point to other climate initiatives they have adopted. They argue privately that their business of constantly buying and selling companies makes it difficult to give a firm commitment to achieve GFANZ's main goal of reducing carbon emissions in their investment portfolio to zero on a net basis by 2050, in line with the Paris climate treaty.

Carney, a former governor of the Bank of England who launched GFANZ last year, is scheduled to meet in London on May 11 with senior executives from some the world's biggest private equity firms, including Blackstone Inc (BX.N), BC Partners and KKR (KKR.N), the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the meeting is confidential. A spokesperson for KKR was not immediately available to comment.

Some 164 private equity firms have joined the Initiative Climate International (iC International), an association of buyout firms that "seek to better understand and manage the risks associated with climate change", according to its website.

iC International calls on its members "to contribute" to helping the world meet the objective of the Paris agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, but unlike GFANZ it sets no binding goals.

GFANZ has said it plans to release a series of frameworks, white papers and other guidance to help its members reach their climate goals as it prepares for the next U.N. climate summit, in Egypt in November.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Simon Jessop in London, editing by Ed Osmond

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