Goldman Sachs expands sustainability efforts with new investing team

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Goldman Sachs Group is starting a group focused on investment opportunities in clean energy, waste and other sustainability industries, joining several major banks in making climate commitments in recent weeks.

Ken Pontarelli will return to the firm as a partner to lead the team, which will fall under the merchant banking division, according to a memo division head Julian Salisbury sent to employees Thursday. Pontarelli left Goldman in 2017 and founded an investment firm called Mission Driven Capital Partners.

Goldman is also bringing on Letitia Webster and Jeff Possick from Pontarelli’s old firm as managing directors on the team, according to a separate memo. Webster was a partner and chief sustainability officer, and Possick was a partner who led investments in the food, waste and water sectors. Vikas Agrawal, head of Goldman’s alternative-energy investing group, will also join the team.

The firm said the new group is part of a 10-year commitment pledging sustainable financing, investing and advisory activities totaling $750 billion.

Several banks have been announcing actions addressing climate change in recent weeks. JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday it would set emissions targets for each industry in its financing portfolio. Morgan Stanley last month said it would eliminate net emissions from financing by 2050. And dozens of other banks including HSBC Holdings and Societe Generale have committed to goals specific to asset classes for their portfolios.

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