Five Minutes With… Courtney Lowrance, Head of EMEA Sustainability & Corporate Transitions Group (SCT) Citi

Courtney Lowrance
Citi is a global bank, connecting millions of people across the world, by responsibly providing financial services that enable growth and economic progress. Courtney Lowrance leads Citi’s Sustainable Banking and Corporate Transitions team for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. She will be appearing on the Sustainable Financing Panel at the World Bioeconomy Forum (WCBEF) virtual event to be broadcast live from Ruka, Finland on 10th September 2020. Courtney Lowrance spoke to the WCBEF about Citi’s role in the post Covid-19 world and the investment opportunities in the circular bioeconomy.

What is the appetite of the financial community to invest in new ventures taking place in the circular bioeconomy, particularly in the wake of Covid-19 and its impact on the global financial situation?

While COVID-19 has disrupted the global economy, recent studies indicate that investor interest in ESG themes, including the circular bioeconomy, remains strong and has even increased. This is supported by the renewed commitment from the European Commission to a Green Deal, providing the financial community more certainty that future policy and regulation will support the circular bioeconomy. Additionally, the pandemic reminds us that financial markets are not isolated from environmental and social challenges. As we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic, the most attractive businesses will be those that play a role in transitioning the economy to a more circular, sustainable, and resource efficient one.

In a nutshell, what type of enterprises are you looking at when it comes to circular bioeconomy investment opportunities?

The businesses that are most exciting are those that have the potential to scale through growth in new markets. For example, the demand for bio-plastics is expected to grow as governments enact policies to curb pollution and GHG emissions. Innovative construction and building materials are particularly promising because of the recycling potential and ability to retain value. Finally, enterprises which can demonstrate efficient, synergistic resource use with strong cooperation across the value chain will have a competitive advantage.

The World Bioeconomy Forum has a diverse range of high-level speakers and panellists, what are you hoping to achieve by taking part in the event, and what are your hopes for the future of the circular bioeconomy?     

The circular bioeconomy offers solutions to multiple environmental and social challenges, providing an opportunity to reorient consumption and production patterns within the limits of the planet. Sustainable business models are key enablers of this transition, and the Forum provides a perfect platform to discuss innovation in products, processes, and partnerships across the value chain. 


The Sustainable Financing Panel discussion at the event will also include: Felipe Ortega Schlingmann, Deputy Advisor, European Investment Bank (EIB), Joško Bobanović, manager of the Sofinnova Industrial Biotechnology Fund, and David Brand, CEO New Forests Asset Management. Panel will be moderated by Michael Nettersheim, founding partner at the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, formerly responsible for bioeconomy related investments at BASF Venture Capital. 

Five Minutes With… is a series of interviews being run by the WCBEF to highlight some of the high-level speakers and panellists taking part in the event this year. To view the whole full day programme and register for the event please visit http://www.wcbef.com/