The Interview - Dec 2022 - Andre Barlian

November 9, 2023

Andre Barlian, Co-Head of Investments at EarthCare Group.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself, what you do and what motivates your work.

I am an investment professional with over 15 years of experience in the banking and asset management industry, now leading the investment arm of a single-family office in Hong Kong, focusing on climate impact. What captivates me about the impact investing community is its willingness to collaborate and work together to achieve certain goals for the greater good, instead of solely focusing on the financial gain. I truly enjoy my interactions with the founders and other impact investors to help solve the environmental problems we are currently facing. What motivates me the most is the ability to play a role in helping climate impact start-ups get off the ground, by providing them with not only access to capital, but also capacity and capabilities through our advisory support.

2. You are originally from Indonesia, are you seeing a growing number of start-ups solving for sustainability and climate challenges in that regionality? If so, what trends and problems are they mostly solving for?

Yes. There is an increasing number of start-ups in Indonesia devoted to solving sustainability challenges. One growing area that I have observed is on improving the efficiency of electricity usage in commercial/industrial buildings. For several reasons, this business model is still very much underdeveloped in Indonesia. I am also seeing more start-ups in the country getting involved in decarbonizing the mobility and transport sector, with the objective to increase the number of electric vehicles through infrastructure building. Another area that is growing is the waste management space.

3. Given the multitude of complex sustainability challenges across industries, what innovations have you seen which have the highest potential for global impact?

The technology that converts municipal waste to clean fuel and chemicals has strong potential for meaningful impact on a global scale. Termed “waste-to-value technology”, this could help reduce the amount of municipal waste that goes to the landfill and incineration plants, therefore reducing the methane emission and the carbon intensity associated with landfill and incinerators. The output of the processed waste can be used to produce a multitude of clean fuels, e.g., ethanol, renewable diesel, bio jet fuel, methanol, and clean hydrogen, which will help to decarbonize the mobility and transport sector tremendously.

4. What are the key challenges when investing into impact technologies and innovations?

Apart from catalytic capital and human resources support, many of the start-ups developing impact technologies will need the support of the government, which may come in the form of supportive regulations and policies. Many of these technologies are priced at a premium compared to the existing solutions, and without support from the government, these start-ups will have a hard time scaling up their businesses. These start-ups can run the risk of depleting their cash runway without establishing a single project. Another challenge when investing in impact technologies is to properly assess the timeline for the technology to reach a final mature stage and start delivering impact. This timeline needs to match the urgency of the current crisis.