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Episode 26: Erin Robert

On this episode, CEO Thomas Byrne and VP Zoe Berkery sit down with Erin Robert. Erin is Head of Capital Strategies and Executive Director at J.P. Morgan & Chase Sustainable Finance. This episode covers a number of topics including green bonds, corporate sustainability, and J.P. Morgan’s effort to transform into a clean energy advisor and financer.

At J.P. Morgan, Erin leads the firm’s client engagement efforts in the sustainability space and partners across business lines to enhance clean energy. Prior to Executive Director, Erin spent 10 years in various roles across J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank. Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts from The College of the Holy Cross.

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Transcript

Jon Powers:

Welcome to experts Only Podcast, sponsored by Clean Capital. You can learn more at cleancapital.com. I’m your host, Jon Powers. Each week, we explore the intersection of energy, innovation, and finance with leaders across the industry. Thank you so much for joining us.

Tom Byrne:

Welcome to Clean Capital’s Experts Only Podcast. I’m Tom Byrne, guest hosting again this week for Jon Powers, and I’m joined by our Clean Capital colleague, Zoe Berkery. Zoe and I speak with Erin Robert, head of capital strategies at JP Morgan Chase Sustainable Finance. We cover a number of topics, including green bonds, corporate sustainability, and JP Morgan’s efforts to transform into a clean energy advisor and financier. She’s a great guest with tons of insights we’re sure you will enjoy.

Tom Byrne:

Erin Robert, head of capital strategies at JP Morgan Sustainable Finance. Thank you for joining us on Clean Capital’s Experts Only Podcasts.

Erin Robert:

Thanks for having me.

Tom Byrne:

It’s really exciting to have you. Typically, what we like to do is just start with a little background on where you came from, what you’ve been doing for your career and how you ended up in the clean energy space. So maybe starting off with that.

Erin Robert:

Beautiful. Well, maybe I’ll start with my college experience. So I was actually a political science major and a huge American government nerd, for lack of a better way to describe it. So in college, I went to Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and I did a semester in Washington, DC, and I interned at the White House and worked on social security reform in the Bush administration. Fascinating experience. And just what a privilege to walk into that building every day. And I came away from that experience thinking, “This is like fire and belly moment. This is what I want to do with my life.” But then I was kind of confronted with the fact that I wasn’t the strongest quantitative person at that moment in time. So decided like, “Hey, why don’t I take a look on Wall Street and see what happens in finance?” And was fortunate enough to do a couple of internships and ended up working in JP Morgan’s public finance department. And I started in 2006.

Erin Robert:

What that group does is works with cities, states, municipalities to help them finance their operations. And I started working with municipal utilities, doing long dated natural gas prepayments and really helping utilities get the fuel they need to run their operations day to day. And I started working pretty closely with our commodities team, saw what they were doing, thought that was pretty interesting, and moved over to that team. And actually spent eight years in JP Morgan commodities, working with all sorts of energy companies, ranging from oil and gas companies to renewable companies and really understanding the ins and outs of the energy markets. And about two years ago, this job opened up and I found myself over here.

Tom Byrne:

And what exactly is this job? What are you doing at JP Morgan right now?

Erin Robert:

So right now, I head up what we call capital strategies and really it’s an initiative that was intended to integrate into our businesses more sustainability products and coverage across our investment bank, our commercial bank, our wealth management and asset management teams. With the notion that it’s great if someone sitting in corporate responsibility cares about environmental and social issues, but it’s way better if people within the lines of business are thinking about ways to do it within their day jobs, that’ll bring scale to that space. And I’d say I was fortunate enough to be able to do that at JP Morgan and in part because of the ability to move around firm, which has been really neat. And having the background that I have, I think, has brought a different perspective into this role than someone who’s grown up in corporate responsibility. So coming at it from the business perspective, I think, is a unique vantage point.

Erin Robert:

The other thing I’d add too is after you sit in one seat for a decade, you start wondering like, “Hey, do I have any other… Do I have any transferable skill sets here?” And so sitting, working with our commodities team for a while was wonderful. Got to cover really interesting clients and work with great people, but it was actually an experience I had going outside of JP Morgan that prompted my interest to move around. We have something we call the Service Corps where we take people offline or take our executives offline for three weeks, partner them with some of our non-profit teams within different areas that JP Morgan does business.

Erin Robert:

And basically, you work on a project that is a strategic priority for them for three weeks. And so I was able to spend three weeks on the ground in Detroit with a non-profit called Michigan Community Resources. They provide legal and technical assistance to other non-profits within the city. And we worked with them developing a marketing strategy to bring businesses to some of Detroit’s hardest hit neighborhoods. And that, for me, was just such a wake up call. It was really for two reasons. First, it was just a great reminder of, “Hey, you had this fire and belly zeal for all things policy.” Really trying to make a difference. And then also it was a good reminder of, okay, maybe I do have some transferable skill sets after kind of pushing the metaphorical red button every day, all day for 10 years. And that was a great moment for me where I kind of raised my hand and said, “Hey, I want to take a look around the firm.” And so that kind of led me to this role.

Tom Byrne:

And is this more about JP Morgan’s sustainability efforts or is this about your role about servicing clients that you have about how they can do better on a sustainability and an ESG front?

Erin Robert:

Both, emphatically. And so, part of what we do is try to wear two hats. And the first is, look, we’re obviously a large firm and that’s from our real estate holdings to our number of employees, to the number of clients that we touch. And when we think about the types of impact we can have, we think about that holistically. It’s how do we get our employee base excited? And whether you’re an investment banker or a teller in a Chase branch, we all have something to contribute in this story. And making sure that we’re giving people the opportunity to do so, one, within their day job. What they bring home, how they think about the person they bring to work every day, right?

Tom Byrne:

Yeah.

Erin Robert:

What do they have to add to this conversation? But it’s also about bringing scale and different analytical rigor to the space. And when we think about the services that we offer for our clients, whether it’s financing or risk management strategies, there’s an environmental, social governance overlay to all of those conversations. And denominating it for the client in a way that makes sense to them is a skill set, I think, that we can bring and add a different dimension to our client conversations.

Zoe Berkery:

So on that path of talking about JP Morgan’s advising corporations on some of the ESG solutions, I think it’d be interesting to look at that a little bit more. And I think also for our listeners defining what ESG is and what that advising looks like. But second to that, also the Trump administration had us pull out of the Paris Agreement about a year ago, but many large corporations, Facebook, Walmart, Microsoft, Google, and as well as JP Morgan still have incredibly ambitious renewables goals. Some of them, like JP Morgan, committing to 100%. So what is the motivation behind that?

Erin Robert:

Great question. And really, I think what this question gets at is how do you make sustainability relevant for all different clients, whether it’s high net worth individuals, corporations, or broader institutional investor clients? And that’s precisely what we’re trying to do. So when I think about what investors are interested in nowadays, and whether that’s because demographics are shifting, right? We’re seeing an increasing proportion of investors who are younger, right? As we think about the millennial movement. Investors are increasingly female. And when you think about those demographic shifts, that is implications for what investors care about. And we’ve been seeing within all our lines of business, increasing interest in environmental, social, and governance investing. So to your point, what does that actually mean? Well, the way I think about it is it’s defining scarcity in a different way for investors.

Erin Robert:

So whether it’s investors who are worried about the risks that climate change could have on their… For example, if you have a portfolio of mortgages in low lying areas, well, climate change brings new risk to that when you think about rising sea levels. And then when you think about the social implications of supply chain, right? When you think about who are the people who are contributing to the products that we are purchasing. Ensuring that those people are safe, that there is no human slavery within that supply chain, it’s not just the right thing to do, it also ensures the stability of the supply chain. And from a governance standpoint, I think this is probably the most well understood. We want to invest in areas where we believe that our investment itself will be secure, that there’s no levels of corruption and things like that.

Erin Robert:

And so I look at ESG in some ways as a way to talk about moral issues within an investor grounded context. And so, for those investors, some of them are really focused on the moral imperative. Some of them are saying like, “I don’t want to invest in companies that… I don’t want to invest in tobacco companies. I don’t want to invest in alcohol companies.” Right? And so they say, “Exclude those companies from my portfolio.” And it’s fairly easy to do. What we’re seeing an increasing interest in for some of our institutional investor clients is, “Maybe I can use these variables as a way to generate outperformance alpha in my investment portfolio.” And so our job has really been to work within our existing lines of business and coverage areas to meet investors where they are and explain these concepts to them in ways that resonate with them.

Erin Robert:

There’s a gentleman who sits in London from our equity quant research team. And without going on you, he just published a paper that talks about how you do this. How do you flag what the most relevant variables are in a given sector for environmental social governance matters? And then, how do you apply it in a way that could potentially generate our performance? And this is a really different conversation than, I think, where ESG investing has been historically. This is really about bringing the same level of analytical rigor to a quant investing strategy. To an area that may not have had that before. And we’re so excited to see that evolution with that particular client base.

Erin Robert:

And then, when we think about our corporate clients, it’s a different dialogue for them. And it’s some balance of risk management from our reputational risk through to I want to make sure my supply chain is secure, to identifying opportunities for them. And so for them greening their environmental footprint may not just be a marketing angle. It’s certainly not for JP Morgan. It’s about long term price certainty. And if you’re able to add renewable energy to the grids that you’re purchasing power from, all the better. And then it’s also, too, about aligning your businesses with the transition to a lower carbon economy.

Erin Robert:

So we’re seeing this very much as an opportunity to be very strategic as we work with our clients to think about areas that they care about. And the best part about this is it’s not limited to renewable energy companies. This is a conversation that all clients can participate in, and whether you are a consumer goods company or a paper and packaging company, all of these issues are touching some part of your business. And for us to have the opportunity, and frankly, the privilege of having that conversation is a really cool place to be.

Zoe Berkery:

That’s great. Thank you. Does JP Morgan feel a sort of competition with some of the other competitors and other firms in the same space to be extra ambitious in this area?

Erin Robert:

Absolutely we do. And this is an area, frankly, where competition is… everybody wins because of this competition. We’ve all started calling it, affectionally, the sustainability arms race, which is who’s got the biggest commitment, who’s doing the most in the space, who’s greening their footprint. And look, I just tip of the hat to our competitors because we’re all making each other better in the space. And we’re all thinking of new products, new coverage models, and new ways of making sustainability relevant to our client bases. So I’d say, our sustainability commitments, we’ve committed to facilitate 200 billion of clean financing by 2025 and to purchase renewable energy to power 100% of the firm’s needs by 2020. So I’ll still say tip of the hat to our competitors. Some have bigger numbers. Ours is the biggest average annual number, if anyone.

Zoe Berkery:

It matters.

Erin Robert:

But we’re so excited to see that. And I think it’s really cool that we’ve all jumped in to the deep end of the pool on this.

Tom Byrne:

Along those lines, for a number of years, there was a feeling it was a marketing and a headline capturing exercise as opposed to some underlying business rationale. So are we at the point where it’s now, this is a necessary step for big institutions like JP Morgan Chase for their own future? There’s a business rationale to invest deeply in clean energy and also ESG type stuff.

Erin Robert:

I think this is expected of all of us from clients, shareholders, stakeholders. They want to see us as leaders in… The private sector has a role to play here. We all recognize that. And if we can bring our voice to this conversation and the products that we’re good at, we have the opportunity to really transform this market. And so I’d say for these commitments, certainly there’s some element of we want to talk to the world about the initiatives that we’re doing. This an easy way for us to denominate what can sometimes be difficult concepts to understand, and whether that’s virtual power purchase agreement, that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue for a lot of people. And so this is a way for our bankers to go to market and talk about this coherent story where it requires a lot of fragmented activity.

Erin Robert:

The sustainability marketplace is huge, right? It’s covering renewable energy companies. It’s also covering, as I mentioned, paper and packaging companies. How are you changing all those boxes that we’re getting from Amazon Prime, right? They’re working very hard on ensuring that those are streamlined, right? How are they being recycled? How are we building the facilities that enable the recycling of more materials? What are we doing about ocean plastics? And then through to what are we doing from a community development standpoint? All of these types of products have a role to play in this conversation. And so it’s a neat way of aggregating all those activities into one commitment.

Tom Byrne:

And JP Morgan, taking a leadership role in many of the other bigger banks, hopefully has a trickle down effect on regional banks and other institutions. Because we talk to regional banks all the time and they still have spent on the sidelines of lending to clean energy projects and things like that. So sort of mainstreaming it is similarly important for the influence that the big banks have on the smaller players.

Erin Robert:

Without a doubt.

Tom Byrne:

Yeah. So do you view there being a moral rationale for you guys to be given your name and some of the competitors to leading the way on this stuff?

Erin Robert:

Yeah. And you’ve heard Jamie talk about this on, frankly, every investor call. We have a role to play in ensuring that the communities that we operate are strong. And it’s not just good business, it’s the right thing to do. And sustainability is just one part of that.

Tom Byrne:

Yeah.

Zoe Berkery:

What other product offerings are available to your clients in this space?

Erin Robert:

Yeah. So when we think about the broad coverage efforts, I think the most common product that you hear is green bonds. Those are probably the ones that jump off the page. And maybe I’ll spend a little bit of time talking about those. So what I find most elegant about green bonds is their simplicity. And it’s kind of funny, when you talk to folks in traditional debt capital markets roles, they raise their eyebrows the first time they hear like, “So what is a green bond? I mean, it’s just a… it’s a bond. Right?” And so I laugh because I’m like, “Yes, but that’s kind of the point, right?” So it is a bond that has specified use of proceeds that will be used for a green purpose. And most issuers issue a green bond in accordance with the Green Bond Principles.

Erin Robert:

And here, I’ll give a shout out to my colleague, Marilyn Ceci, who was one of the co-authors of the Green Bond Principles and currently sits on the advisory council. And so that, I think, is an underappreciated concept, right? When you develop a new product, having standardized market practices and kind of agreed upon principles, it’s really important. And that’s where I think a JP Morgan can really be helpful as we think about developing this market. And why I say it’s elegant, because it’s simple. It’s because investors know what they’re buying. Ultimately, this enables an investor universe to have an easy way to purchase a security that is already baked in that it is green and it is used for green purpose.

Erin Robert:

And I mentioned before, investors really care about these issues, right? And they’re looking for ways to put their money where their mouth is. What’s tough is if you don’t have a way to easily flag what counts as sustainable. And this is an issue where you’ve got a well-understood product and you have, for lack of better word, a hashtag. You’ve got a sustainability hashtag built into the product. And that, I think, is unique because it is simple. There’s, I think, a tendency in this market to pursue innovative forms of finance because we’re doing something new, right? You’re really focusing on baking in environmental and social issues into an investment decision making process. So I think there’s a bias to think, “Well, I should be really innovative in the way I look at this,” but in point of fact, that might be a bridge too far for some investors. So again, if we can meet people where they are and bring them along the journey, well, that’s how you bring scale to this space.

Zoe Berkery:

Absolutely.

Tom Byrne:

So practically speaking, a green bond is nothing more than a normal debt instrument that’s comparable to some other infrastructure debt. But it takes this added step of going to climate bonds initiative or one of these other platforms that validate its ESG or environmental backing. And it gets the stamp of approval, effectively. Is that basically what it is for our listeners?

Erin Robert:

Exactly. So ultimately, it’s a done instrument for really any particular use of proceeds, whether it’s infrastructure or whether it’s I’m going to use this to finance a recycling initiative at my company because it can be used for such a broad use. But within those use of proceeds, you’re making a pledge. And you’re saying that I am going to use this for a purpose that has been approved by the Green Bond Principles. And so, that ultimately means that the bonds that are issued, if they’re done in accordance with these accepted principles and kind of gets that hashtag.

Erin Robert:

And then you have an emerging group of folks who are emerging as raters or really they call it second party opinion providers, who are saying that, “Yes, I’ve reviewed their description of use proceeds. This is in accordance with the Green Bond Principles.” And then issuers are also agreeing to report on how the money is being spent. And that also helps investors who are really looking for more disclosure around companies’ green policies and broader sustainability strategies. And it’s helpful because it’s more information and it’s presented in a way that’s digestible for them.

Tom Byrne:

And one of the big challenges for clean energy, we still feel at Clean Capital to this day, is getting institutional investors to put money into it. There’s a desire out there, at least an increasing desire, we see from institutional investors to play in the space, but they don’t really know much about it. Is green bonds really just a way to kind of hold people’s hands into clean energy investing to get them started?

Erin Robert:

It is. It’s such a great analogy. I’ll just use it. It’s a gateway drug into clean energy.

Tom Byrne:

We’ve used that analogy before. It’s funny to hear it from someone else.

Erin Robert:

But it really is great, right? Because you’re holding their hand, to use your metaphor, as they’re learning what could be for them a new sector. So at least you’re not putting them in a space where they have to learn a new sector and a new product type. So here, it’s a very traditional product and it makes it a lot easier for them to represent. As I think about our asset manager clients, well they’re getting a lot of demand from their asset owner clients. We’re saying, “Hey, I want to put money into green things.” This is a really easy way for them to do it in a way that allows them to demonstrate that their money is making an impact. And the fact that issuers are reporting on the impact of these projects, means that investors are really able to see what that impact of their dollar is having.

Tom Byrne:

What’s in it for issuers?

Erin Robert:

Great question. So we generally see a couple of different motivations for our corporate clients. One is to communicate their sustainability strategy in a very analytical or very technical way. And so we’ve seen some of our corporate clients issue green bonds to talk about the projects that they’re financing through that green bond. And I think Apple is a great example of that. Others are looking for… Or they’re looking at this marketplace and they’re seeing this evolving investor type, this sustainable investor, ESG investor. And they’re like, “Hmm, they’re not buying my traditional bonds. I wonder why that is.” And so, by looking at a green bond, this may be a new way of reaching this evolving investor base. And it’s also, I think, causing corporates to think about, “Okay, well, what else can I be doing to reach this new ESG investor? What are they looking for and how do I bring best ESG practices into my operations?”

Tom Byrne:

Do you have any stats on how big this market is right now, where it’s going, where it’s been and where it’s going for the next five years or so?

Erin Robert:

Great question. I mean, the growth of this market is the real story. The market is still quite small, to be perfectly Frank. We just topped 300 billion at the end of 2017. But to talk about the aggregate issuance in 2017 versus 2013, which is when we really saw some incredible pickup, 2013 total issuance size was 11.5 billion. So last year, total issuance was 115 billion. That’s literally a tenfold increase. And I think year to date, we’re probably at about 48 billion. So look, it’s still small, but the growth is really impressive.

Tom Byrne:

Is this going to be the pathway for big financings and clean energy, or is this just going to be a supplemental vehicle to raise debt?

Erin Robert:

Yeah, it’s a great question. And I think it really gets to is this a way for non pure play green finance corporates to position their sustainability strategies? Or does it get bigger? We’ve seen some kind of clean energy companies not issue a green bond because they’re like, “Come on, guys. You know I’m green.” So I think this is a good way for diversified companies to… It’s an interesting strategy for them to communicate some of the projects that they’re working on. Again, the fact that it is such a standard product makes it really appealing to investors and I think the demand story tells itself.

Erin Robert:

And so, as investors are really looking for greater diversification across issuer types, whether it’s sovereigns, corporates, you name it. Geography because they still have to abide by their traditional risk management practices. You can only buy so much country level debt, for example. And so I think there’s going to be continued growth, particularly, as we’re really encouraged by the demand story.

Tom Byrne:

With the last couple minutes, let’s go back to what some of what JP Morgan’s doing in terms of its own targets. You guys have this big target of, I think, by 2020 or 2021, 100% renewals.

Erin Robert:

Yeah. By 2020. Tick tock, tick tock.

Tom Byrne:

And how are you guys doing on that?

Erin Robert:

Well. I mean, it’s a big goal, I’ll be honest. I mean, I’d be lying if I said I weren’t a little bit uncomfortable, but that was kind of the point of our goal. We wanted to do something that really stretched ourselves. And I have to say, our real estate team has been pounding the pavement, trying to get these done. And it’s really their inspiration that we’ve been following. They did a virtual PPA, a power purchase agreement, with a wind farm, called the Buckthorn Wind Project in Texas. And basically, they partnered with our commodities team. And this is where I think some of the innovative financial structuring can be really helpful. So basically, they said, “Hey, I’ve got demand for about 50% of this 100 megawatt wind farm. So what happens to the other 50%?” And our commodity team was like, “Hey, we got that. We’ll purchase the rest of it.” And then with the idea of we’ll sell this to some of our corporate clients who are interested in greening their renewable footprint.

Erin Robert:

And so did that in November of 2016. And what’s neat about that is it’s covering 75% of our Texas power consumption. And because of our participation, we were able to help a new wind project on a grid that we purchased power from come to life. And that’s what we are really excited about. Like I said before, it’s using our financial product expertise, market expertise, married with our size, right? I mean, we’re a big corporate, we’ve got operations in 60 countries, cover 75 million square feet of buildings. And when you stitch those two things together, we can really have an impact in bringing new renewable projects to the grid.

Zoe Berkery:

Are you focused mostly on wind or are you technology agnostic with other solar?

Erin Robert:

We’re actually looking at putting solar installations in some of our branches throughout the US, which has been really cool to see. So we’ve got a little vertical integration going on. So we’re piloting that at about 23 branches throughout the country, starting with California and New Jersey. And then we’re also looking at installing solar arrays at some of our commercial buildings too, in Ohio and Plano and Arizona. And then we’re also testing fuel salt technology at our MetroTech center in Brooklyn. So there’s a lot of activity. And frankly, we see the different types of technology as a pretty critical path to managing this transition to a lower carbon economy. We’re also looking at energy efficiency measures. We partnered with Current, powered by GE. Purchased 1.4 million LED light bulbs that we are currently in the process of installing at branches and commercial centers across the country. For those of you wondering, it does take 600 JP Morgan employees to install 1.4 million light bulbs.

Tom Byrne:

We’ve been waiting for that joke.

Erin Robert:

Oh, yeah. Oh, there it’s.

Zoe Berkery:

What are some of the other barriers you might see towards other smaller companies, doing similar efforts as JP Morgan?

Erin Robert:

Such a great question. And on energy efficiency in particular, I think it’s a pretty known problem, right? It’s a lot of fragmented activity. It’s smaller capital expenditures. And then sometimes you don’t have alignment in terms of who’s going to spend the CapEx versus who would reap the benefits from that. So that’s something I think that we’re confronting as well. And like I mentioned, our commodities team is managing some of the risk associated with the power that we’ve purchased, right? And the idea is if we can help aggregate demand for that, then we can sell to companies who may not themselves have enough demand to purchase utility scale, whether it’s solar or wind. And so that’s where JP Morgan Chase, as a large diversified financial institution, can use some of that scale to help smaller companies participate in this transition.

Tom Byrne:

Definitely. When do you think we’re going to get to the point where banks and investors are actually divesting from fossil fuels, as opposed to all these wonderful sustainability efforts that a lot are embracing now? But I think the next iteration is, when is money going to actually come out of fossil fuels?

Erin Robert:

It’s a great question. And frankly, when we get… We get it pretty frequently. First, I’d say we’re in a period of extreme transition as we think about how energy is produced, consumed, delivered throughout the US. And so, we’re really moving from an extremely heavily fossil fuel intensive economy through to one that is relying less on carbon. But I don’t want to understate how great of a transition that is. I mean, today fossil fuels are supplying the majority of the world’s energy usage. Literally 85% as at 2016. That’s a huge number. And so I think we all have a tendency to focus on renewable power, right? That’s such a great story. We’ve seen an incredible growth and installed capacity globally, right? You hear about solar farms throughout Germany. Installing wind through various geographies in the US is actually at parody with not gas fire generation.

Erin Robert:

And those are great stories. The problem is we don’t talk a lot about some of the fossil fuel intensive industries that are not as easy to electrify or shift to renewables, like the transportation sector. And so, just from you and I driving around, electric cars, we’re seeing that as an evolving technology that’s getting increased penetration. But what we don’t hear a lot about is road freight. How do you actually shift the technology that’s required? And that’s, I think, the question that the market really needs to focus on. How do we get to a point where the technology that needs to exist to diversify away from fossil fuels is a reality. And it’s not just a question of not financing fossil fuels. It’s a question of increasing jobs and workforce training in STEM fields.

Erin Robert:

It’s for those who lost their jobs in the oil downturn. It’s retraining them to work on solar panel installations. And it’s everything from getting more women into STEM fields. And that really gets to a much bigger shift in technology. And that’s where I’m happy to say that I think JP Morgan does a great job picking up holistically what do communities need to prepare people for the jobs that will exist in the future. And whether that’s from a community development stand standpoint to a workforce standpoint, ensuring that small businesses like those who are focused on the technologies that we’re going to need to transition away from fossil fuels, that they’re getting the capital that they need. And so a decarbonized economy is what we’re all working toward.

Erin Robert:

It’s not going to happen overnight, and we’re talking about a decades long shift. And so we want to make sure that we’re participating in the financings that need to happen to make sure the technology that needs to be there gets the money that it needs. And that’s really what we’re tackling with this 200 billion clean financing commitment. It’s ensuring that the technology that has to exist, and whether that’s battery storage, whether that’s fuel cells, and, frankly, technologies that don’t yet exist, that we’re prepared for the types of technology that needs to exist to be more reliant on renewable technology.

Tom Byrne:

So then, looking forward to 10 years from now, what does it look like? What’s JP Morgan doing in clean energy? Is it a lion’s share of the infrastructure portfolio? Maybe you could forecast for our listeners where you think we’re headed.

Erin Robert:

Forgive me, while I take out my crystal ball. So look, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think, as we think about what our business starts… Look, our businesses are going to reflect that shift to a lower carbon economy. And it’s not just infrastructure, right? It’s the technology that is yet to exist. It’s different types of fuels for long haul trucking which, again, it’s not something that we think about as necessary as we shift away. It’s not just renewable power, it’s ensuring that we have different types of fuels for jet fuel, right?

Tom Byrne:

Yeah.

Erin Robert:

No one today is going to raise their hand to fly on a biofuel powered plane, right?

Zoe Berkery:

Yes.

Erin Robert:

So that’s the type of technology that we’re excited about and we expect to see as this shift happens

Tom Byrne:

That’s great. So any particular points as we wrap up that you want to communicate to our investor… Or listeners, excuse me. From JP Morgan, or any nuggets that you have to share with them?

Erin Robert:

Yeah. I’d say for those interested in the sustainability space, we need more science-focused folks, frankly. We need people who are developing the technology that’s going to need to occur. Candidly, JP Morgan’s not necessarily going to be the innovation behind the clean tech revolution. We’re going to innovate around financial products and offerings. And we’re looking for that technology to finance. And we’re evolving our business to make sure that we’re ready for it. And so, from our standpoint, that’s what gets us excited and that’s what prompted our commitment to clean finance. And as we see new companies emerge, who are really looking at these problems, and seeing like, “Ah.” Until and unless we have a technology that addresses whether that’s public transportation, which is pretty fossil intensive, and that as we see shifts into electric vehicles, those are the types of things that get us really excited. And get us excited about our role in this conversation.

Tom Byrne:

And on that note, we’ll wrap up. Erin, thank you for joining Clean Capital’s Experts Only Podcast. We greatly appreciate it.

Erin Robert:

Thank you guys.

Tom Byrne:

It was fun. Awesome.

Tom Byrne:

Thank you, Erin, for a wonderful conversation and thank you to Lauren Glickman and Emily Connor, our producers. You can find out more information on Clean Capital at cleancapital.com. If there are topics you’d like to hear about, let us know there. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Clean Capital’s Experts Only Podcast.

Jon Powers:

Thanks for listening in today’s conversation. Find more episodes on cleancapital.com, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and leave us a five star review. We look forward to continuing our conversation on energy, innovation, and finance with you.