BCG senior partner Axel Reinaud launches start-up NetZero

13 January 2021 3 min. read

Managing Director and Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Paris Axel Reinaud has broken off to launch his own venture NetZero – set up to help corporates cut down on carbon emissions.

An INSEAD graduate specialised in Economics, Reinaud spent more than two decades at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – starting out as a consultant back in 1997, and subsequently climbing the ranks to Project Leader, Principal, Partner, and most recently Managing Director and Senior Partner.

Now, after 23 years at the strategy consulting firm, Reinaud leaves to follow his passion. “BCG is a place that I love and that I loved and it is a little hard to leave. But the climate emergency and the subject of carbon sequestration, which has interested me for thirty years and on which I have an extensive personal network, meant that the call for adventure was too strong,” he told French platform Consultor.

Axel Reinaud, Founder, NetZero

His new venture NetZero is an innovative model to help corporates cut down their emissions using carbon sequestration – a process where carbon is removed from the atmosphere naturally or artificially. In NetZero’s case, carbon will be extracted from agricultural waste in developing countries, and channeled into sustainable soil amendment and green energy.

High volumes of emissions will be offset as a result, creating carbon credits – permits that allow companies to a certain threshold of greenhouse emissions. Reinaud’s plan is to generate these credits in developing countries – starting with Cameroon – and sell them to climate-conscious corporates in the developed world.

The net zero movement

And the demand for carbon credits is high, given the status of climate change as a risk. Paris Climate Accord deadlines are approaching and environmental, social and governance (ESG) pressure is growing by the day. Businesses in Europe and around the world are responding by cutting down their emissions footprint.

“2021 is to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions what 1995 was to the internet,” said Reinaud. Besides being the name of his firm ‘net zero’ is also an emissions target being set by a growing number of businesses, with the goal of producing zero carbon emissions by the end of this decade.

Examples include digital services firm Capgemini – which plans to reach net zero by 2030 – or fellow consultancy Sopra Steria, which has committed to the same goal by 2028. For net zero ambitions, any emissions that are produced must be offset by carbon reducing activities elsewhere – creating a solid market for Reinaud and NetZero’s carbon credits.

Reinaud’s former employer BCG is taking things even a step further, having recently unveiled its ambitions to become climate positive by 2030.

In October last year, another former partner at BCG in France – Jérôme Hervé – left the firm’s partnership for an entrepreneurial venture.