How Macquarie's Climate Intelligence Unit is furthering its leadership in the transition to a low-carbon economy
Dario Traum, Head of Macquarie’s Climate Intelligence Unit, talks to us about his experience working on climate solutions and the ways he is supporting Macquarie further its leadership in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
In 2021, Macquarie established the Climate Intelligence Unit (CIU) as a means of supporting the group’s engagement, co-ordination and commercial activity across climate solutions.
After 18 months at Macquarie, Dario explains the rationale behind creating the CIU, "it’s hard to keep up with the pace of transformations that climate change, and the policy and technological response to it, bring day after day. Even more so at the scale of a global business like Macquarie, which has a large footprint in infrastructure, energy and commodities. Wanting to keep up with all of this change has led to more and more cross-group collaboration over the years, informally at first, and now more formally with the decision to create our cross-group Climate Solutions Taskforce and the CIU to support it."
With sustainability a pressing issue for communities and businesses across the world, companies are increasingly investing in their capability in-house. The CIU acts as a central advisory and insights function supporting Macquarie’s leadership with actionable intelligence. Macquarie, through the engagement of the Group’s CEO Shemara Wikramanayake, is involved in major external climate initiatives like the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero or the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative, and the CIU is responsible for delivering our contributions to these initiative on an ongoing basis.
The CIU’s main ‘clients’ are business leads working across Macquarie’s operating groups, that may be investing in the deployment of climate solutions, supporting clients achieve their decarbonisation goals, or helping scale up low-carbon commodity supply chains.
"Whilst there is tremendous diversity with the work done across Macquarie, there are also some key transition trends and market developments that impact all of us," Dario explains. "What we can do as a central source of information and, crucially, interpretation, is to create a common understanding of strategic market developments across the business, giving us the opportunity to explore a cross-group response, for example through our cross-group senior leaders’ Climate Solutions Taskforce, as well as helping each division come up with their own solutions."
A strong culture across regions
The team currently comprises of three employees who work closely with other subject matter experts located across Macquarie’s operating groups and international offices. Two members of the team are based in London, with Dario in Paris, and they are working to grow their footprint into more regions.
Macquarie is an international business by nature, and we all improved our skills of collaborating digitally over the pandemic."
"Still, it’s great to have our team be able to interact with colleagues in person in different regions, and I’ve been lucky that Macquarie's development in Europe has led to Paris becoming one of our regional hubs, with a new office and growing team."
French-German Dario was born and raised in Paris by German parents. He moved abroad, studying for a year in China and then the UK - rounding out his education with a Master’s back in France.
His professional career began working for the German government in Berlin, and then in London, where he worked for a leading energy transition research provider.
"It was a great way to kick off my career as there was a lot to learn on all the solutions that need to be deployed to decarbonise our economy. After eight years in the role, I was itching to get into the realm of the practical—I was interested in working with companies that build or finance projects, and with policymakers that make the decisions that drive the transition to net zero."
When asked about what guidance he would give to those starting to navigate their way through a career in this space, he offers, "In a rapidly moving world, my advice is not to rush things. It takes time to extract all the value a company, its people and a role can give you. That approach helped me see the dotted line that linked my previous job to this opportunity at Macquarie, and the good relationships I’ve kept at my old company are valuable to my new role."
Space for different backgrounds and skillsets
Dario’s description of joining Macquarie echoes the experience of many of his colleagues.
“I don't have a classic profile for the financial industry. I studied environmental sciences and economics in my undergraduate degree, almost by mistake. I thought the energy transition would be a key focus of the curriculum, but I actually spent a lot of my first years in ecology classes learning about environmental balances and how different species of animals coexist.
By the time I was studying for my Masters, I understood the value of taking a multi-disciplinary approach to solving complex societal problems, and that studying engineering was far from the only way for me to get involved in the energy transition."
"Macquarie is a great example of that, as we put a lot of value on attracting different profiles and perspectives."
By nature, Dario is future focused, “the fact is that the world is broadly committed to the ambitious goal of reaching a more-or-less decarbonised economy by around the middle of this century. With that consensus secured, we’ve now shifted to the incredibly exciting if challenging phase of figuring out how to deliver this, rapidly and in a way that is inclusive.
"The next 50 years are going to keep everyone busy and to be honest, I feel lucky that I will get to see this bit of human history play out. Yes, it’s a daunting and difficult journey, but there are many people working on trying to fix this, and Macquarie is a great place to do that."