General Atlantic raises $3.5 bln to invest in climate change fight

  • Fund to target climate-focused growth companies
  • Has invested $826 mln since launch
  • Comes as U.N. warns private finance needs to scale

LONDON/NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Private equity firm General Atlantic's BeyondNetZero said it has secured $3.5 billion to back companies that can help in the world's fight against global warming.

General Atlantic raised $2.6 billion from institutional investors including sovereign wealth funds and multinational companies for an inaugural fund. An additional $900 million will come from existing General Atlantic funds, BeyondNetZero Chairman John Browne told Reuters.

"The world is falling behind in the amount of investment that is needed to be made to get anywhere close to two degrees in terms of temperature rise," said Browne, a former BP (BP.L) boss, referring to global efforts to cap global warming.

"There is an imperative to get the scale of investments and the speed of investments up and for us that's important. We're in the business of scaling and adopting at the right moment."

Launched in 2021, BeyondNetZero aims to invest up to $200 million in individual companies that can help cut emissions, particularly in decarbonisation, resource conservation, energy efficiency and emissions management, he said.

At November's COP27 climate talks in Egypt, getting more private sector money to work was a key topic, with a report warning developing countries would need $1 trillion a year in public and private investment by 2030.

Annual clean energy investment globally, meanwhile, will need to more than triple by 2030 to around $4 trillion to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency said.

The new BeyondNetZero fund has so far spent $826 million to acquire stakes in five companies including vertical farmer 80 Acres Farms, commercial recycling and waste removal firm RoadRunner Recycling, and sustainability ratings firm EcoVadis.

BeyondNetZero has developed a pipeline of about 1,000 companies and up to 10% of those businesses are larger, without conceptual risk and have a growth rate in double-digits, Chief Executive Lance Uggla said.

"We're focused on backing entrepreneurs that are growing their companies substantially in each of the four spaces that we cover," Uggla said.

New York-based General Atlantic has $73 billion in assets under management spread across technology, life sciences, healthcare, financial services, consumer and climate.

Reporting by Simon Jessop in London and Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Alexander Smith

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