How two former Goldman Sachs traders built the No. 1 US coal exporting business

  • Two ex-Goldman bankers have made their fortune betting on a non-renewable resource, Bloomberg reported.

  • Peter Bradley and Spencer Sloan have built a $1 billion commodities firm over the last eight years.

  • Javelin Global Commodities is now the No. 1 US coal exporter despite the environmental concerns associated with the fuel.

Two former Goldman Sachs traders have built the largest coal-exporting business in America, despite a global push to move away from the controversial fossil fuel.

Peter Bradley and Spencer Sloan, both left the investment bank right before it offloaded the last of its coal assets - and over the last eight years, they have built a company that's now valued at more than $1 billion.

Javelin Global Commodities has grown to become the No. 1 exporter of American coal, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar to the company.

Their business plan is profitable and controversial – based on the strategy that demand for coal will remain high even in spite of environmental concerns and an attempted ban on the fuel.

The geopolitical fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine eighteen months ago forced Europe to slash its reliance on Moscow for energy – and Javelin have been well-positioned to plug the gap. The International Energy Agency has said that coal demand stands at an all-time high, regardless of its damage to the environment.

Javelin posted record profits last year, according to Bloomberg's sources – beating the $194 million the firm made in 2021, the outlet reported.

Its remarkable growth has seen the firm begin competing with commodities giants Trafigura and Glencore.

Javelin accounted for just under 20% of all coal shipped from the US in 2022 – which amounts to 12.7 million tons of the commodity, according to Riverside Shipping data.

Its rise comes as the world seeks to move away from the most polluting of non-renewables – and Javelin has faced protests for its role in the expansion.

"Coal is climate priority number one: If we don't reduce emissions from coal by 50% this decade we have no chance of maintaining global warming below 2C," Joseph Curtin, managing director at the Rockefeller Centre, told Bloomberg. "It's pretty disheartening that vast fortunes are still being made in activities that are driving dangerous, and potentially catastrophic, global warming."

Read the original article on Business Insider