Dylan Penna ‘15 Fulfills Career Goals and His Concern for Planet Earth

 

In January 2022, Dylan Penna ‘15 was hired by the Amsterdam-based Louis Dreyfus Company as a Carbon Originator.  Dreyfus’s trading of carbon credits is a new initiative for the company, and he is the first United States-based employee of its Carbon Solutions Platform for Decarbonization Efforts. 

Penna has benefitted from 16 years of Catholic Education going from St. Rita School, Hamden, to ND, to Villanova where he majored in Economics.  “I was well prepared for each stage of my education.  From St. Rita School, I was placed in Notre Dame’s Moreau Honors Program, and I took AP classes in my junior and senior years.  In my junior year, coach Jason Shea’s Economics course got me thinking about majoring in Economics.  While I found my classes at Villanova challenging, the study skills, habits, and techniques that I learned at ND proved most useful and gave me an edge over many of my classmates. Another take-away from my ND experience was Mr. Izzo’s strong recommendation to be more than an 8:10 to 2:30 student. My high school community engagement experiences carried over to college.  I realized the value of community engagement when I discussed my resume with potential employers.”

A summer internship helped solidify his career track.  At BNP Paribas, an international banking group, his experience in sales and trading helped him decide where he wanted to focus his attention and find a job.  He had this advice for any college student who lands an internship, “It’s all about what you can learn; not about what you know.  In hindsight, my internship was an ego trip because I thought I already knew it all. When I got my first job as a junior trader, I realized I did know a lot, but I had much more to learn.” 

Structuring, signing, and executing deals for Dreyfus is now Penna’s full-time job.  A September 2021 press release from Dreyfus headquarters in Amsterdam announced the carbon solutions initiative:

Louis Dreyfus Company B.V. (LDC) announced today the creation of a dedicated Carbon Solutions team and platform (business line) to lead its decarbonization efforts. This new development accelerates the Group’s trajectory toward its global goals and targets, in line with its commitment to sustainable business.

This new addition to LDC’s portfolio of activities is the next step in our efforts to drive emissions reductions and carbon removal enhancements in food and agricultural supply chains, helping to meet the ambitious climate targets set by the international community,” said the Group’s Chairperson, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. “I am confident that this step will facilitate and accelerate our transition to a low-carbon future while generating sustainable business opportunities.”

Dreyfus’ concentration in the agriculture/food industry puts it in the category of companies that are challenged to set and meet ambitious emissions reduction goals.  Farming activities and the production and transportation of food products result in the emission of carbon and methane. This is where Penna’s concern for planet earth interfaces with his job as a carbon originator. 

Carbon is treated as a commodity like any other product such as soybeans, corn, or oil.  As a carbon originator, Penna goes into the supply side of the carbon market to build relationships with companies whose projects will take carbon out of the atmosphere, resulting in carbon credits.  When a project meets LDC’s high-quality carbon reduction standards, he negotiates financing from Dreyfus in exchange for the project’s carbon credits. Reaching agreement, he structures the purchase, closes the deal, and puts LDC further along in its commitment to a low-carbon future.  A recent example is the purchase of credits from a U.S.-based non-profit organization that manages carbon offset acquisition programs and projects.  The organization’s carbon credits resulted from the purchase of an endangered forest on which it placed an easement and worked to ensure sustainable growth. 

Penna concluded: “I am grateful for my value-centered Catholic education.  It’s satisfying to find a job where my skills are valued, and my values are respected.”