Investor: Climate Greatest Challenge And Investment Opportunity Of Our Age
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
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“I firmly believe that wealth means very little in a planet that is dying, ” says Ibrahim AlHusseini, 45, founder and CEO of FullCycle, an investment firm that seeks to reverse climate change profitably.
AlHusseini, an immigrant to the United States who grew up in Saudi Arabia, points out that immigrants have contributed to the U.S. economy, noting that Steve Jobs’ father was an immigrant as is Google founder Sergey Brin. AlHusseini says his perspective as an immigrant helps him to appreciate American capitalism’s meritocracy. Similarly, he gained his appreciation for nature scuba diving near his hometown of Jeddah.
FullCycle, which launched in 2018 and has made a single investment in Synova Power, a company that is scaling proven waste to energy technology. The company’s process converts solid municipal waste to syngas, which can be used as fuel.
Ibrahim AlHusseini CREDIT: FULLCYCLE
Synova represents the sort of investment the fund hopes to make, investing in proven technologies ready to scale with the potential to prevent, offset or sequester gigatons of carbon. In terms of financial returns, FullCycle targets double-digit unlevered IRRs, typically with stable, contracted revenues.
“We believe that ‘now is better than new’ – which is why we invest in technologies that are ready to be deployed immediately,” AlHusseini notes. “In short, we see restoring the climate as the greatest investment opportunity of our lifetime.”
Two principles guide AlHusseini’s work, he says. First, “I firmly believe that wealth means very little in a planet that is dying.” Second, “I also believe that working together, we can solve the biggest problems facing our society.”
Noting that it is too late to avoid or prevent climate change, we must work quickly to reverse it, AlHusseini says.
Lorene Arey, founder of the Clara Fund, is an investor in FullCycle and describes herself as “a huge fan!”
She says, “FullCycle is reversing climate change by accelerating the deployment of climate-restoring technologies.”
“It’s exciting to invest in an opportunity like FullCycle that can turn our climate crisis around,” she concludes.
Adam Rockefeller Growald, a trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund, also invested in FullCycle and now sits on the advisory board. “Ibrahim AlHusseini has long been a renowned impact investor, and when he launched FullCycle, I recognized that the model was going to be a unique and effective way to leverage market incentives for large-scale climate restoration.”
AlHusseini had early career success, launching a nutraceutical business from his dorm at the University of Washington. Later, he was an early investor in Tesla. (Full disclosure: I own shares in Tesla.)
Growald notes, “The reality of climate disruption has inspired a lot of innovation, and there are many promising technologies being developed. But the climate crisis can’t wait for new tech to become commercially viable: we need solutions that work *now* and are capable of carbon abatement on a massive scale. FullCycle has identified climate-critical technologies that are market-ready, and is intelligently channeling the capital necessary to accelerate the deployment of those technologies worldwide.”
AlHusseini says this effort will ultimately require massive amounts of capital. He says the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, better known by its acronym IPCC, has estimated that annual investments of $2.4 trillion will be required to limit warming to just 2 degrees C. While some naysayers suggest this is simply impossible, AlHusseini sees an opportunity—one that he plans to exploit in his quest to reverse climate change.
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