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Earth Finance Will Tackle Net-Zero Transitions With Strategy, Investments, And Tech

It’s one thing to set net-zero goals. It’s another to achieve them. Thanks to companies like Earth Finance, this task can be streamlined with the right strategy, investments, and technologies.

The newly launched corporate strategy and climate investing firm aims to help businesses transition for the next generation. And that includes optimizing return on investment while aligning with their climate goals. 

The three Seattle-based founders come from different but complementary backgrounds. Bryan Weeks, CEO, was a long-time executive in the finance industry, including at Russell Investments. Garrett Kephart, the President, has been involved in growth-focused climate action and sustainability for over 20 years. 

Reuven Carlyle, Chief Sustainability Officer, served for over 14 years as a Washington State Legislator. During this time, he passed globally recognized state-level climate legislation such as cap and invest carbon pricing, clean fuel standard, and clean energy. Earth Finance announced its launch in February after securing $14 million in funding from private investors.

Photo Courtesy Earth Finance 

“I have the privilege of being on a few boards of big companies – they all want to move on this path of how do we do better recognizing where the world is going and how this energy and decarbonization transition is going to happen,” Weeks told Market Values. “And they’re all in. They’re partially all in because their big partners and their suppliers are pushing them to say, ‘we need you to do better.’”

He also pointed out, “one of the interesting things that we don’t talk about enough is that there’s a self-governance within the industry that’s outside of the politics. But I think it’s a really great thing, and that’s why it creates opportunities for an entity like ours.”

Despite its relatively short existence, the company already counts six large corporate clients. Those come from retail, renewable energy, agribusiness, asset management, and biochemical industries.

Earth Finance plans to tackle the corporate transition via three routes: strategy, investing, and technology. 

Photo Courtesy Earth Finance 

“The first step of all of this, our most mature business is strategy consulting on the companies’ views of 2030, 2040, and 2050 transition,” said Weeks. “And we’ve assembled a team that are best in class of what they do.”

The next step is investment. “How do you invest?” noted Weeks. “This is the opacity of the industry that we would love to be a part of improving.”

Once the climate goal for a company is set, the big question becomes, “How do you execute?” Weeks explained that you would start from a series of business threads, such as power purchase agreements, micro-grants, tax benefits, carbon offsets, and removals. His goal is that Earth Finance could clarify all of these elements so that the corporate board can decide how best to invest.

“What a board doesn’t want to do, is get to 2030 and assume that they’ve made a mistake,” he added. “Our investment (strategy) is about putting the right underwriting, due diligence, and investment programs in place to make that work.”

The third part is the technology piece: “Technology has to support it all.” This includes everything from the regulatory and accounting requirements in various regions, states, and countries to technology that helps analyze, account, and create value for the actions that are undertaken.

Photo Courtesy Pixabay 

All this goes hand in hand with a deliberate focus on a return on investment in combination with ESG.

“It’s all about corporate allocation and how are they going to make those allocations when a version of every penny matters, and how do you do that?” said Weeks. “And so much that’s happened in net zero ends up being a vision, but it’s not based necessarily in finance, it’s not based in ‘how do you advance your company.”

This is where Earth Finance comes in.

“We believe accelerated climate action, sustainability, and deep decarbonization are fully consistent with revenue growth and fiduciary financial management,” said Carlyle in the announcement. “We believe that it’s possible to decarbonize our global economy in financially prudent ways that contribute to community equity, resiliency, and market success.”


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