Reacting to the announcement of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s green finance taskforce today, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The creation of a new taskforce on green finance is a very positive move forward and we are delighted to have been asked to assist the work of the taskforce. Investment needs in the green economy are ever-growing, with the Committee on Climate Change estimating the total annual investment needed to meet the UK’s fifth carbon budget at approximately £22bn . Meeting domestic and international policy commitments on climate change and the environment will therefore require a significant amount of affordable private finance. With growing strengths in areas such as offshore wind and electric car manufacturing, the UK now faces a unique opportunity to broaden its competitive advantage in the low carbon economy by establishing itself as a world leader in the provision of green finance."
Nick Molho added: "The Aldersgate Group has been looking at ways of increasing private investment in green infrastructure through our work with the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). We look forward to using our findings to support the UK government in developing a green finance strategy to underpin the forthcoming Clean Growth Strategy and the Industrial Strategy.”
 Committee on Climate Change (November 2015) Advice on the fifth carbon budget. £22bn figure based on 1% of £2.23tn GDP in 2015 (US$2.86tn) World Bank national accounts data http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD
Reacting to today’s announcement of Macquarie’s completed purchase of the Green Investment Bank (GIB), renamed the Green Investment Group (GIG), Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said:
“Following the successful completion of the sale of the GIB today, we call on the new Green Investment Group (GIG) to honour their commitment to support investment in the UK’s renewable energy infrastructure. The GIG is ideally placed to lead private sector investment in UK green infrastructure projects and help deliver key government policy commitments such as those that will be set out in the upcoming Clean Growth Plan.”
Nick Molho added: “Delivering the government’s ambitions under the Clean Growth Plan and 25 Year Environment Plan will require supporting novel technologies and business models which may initially struggle to access finance. Now that the sale of the GIB is complete and given that the UK’s access to funds from the European Investment Bank is likely to be more restricted after Brexit, the government needs to develop a clear finance strategy in the near future. This strategy should aim to crowd in private sector investment in the new technologies and business models the UK will need to deliver on its environmental commitments and build a thriving low carbon economy.”
Reacting to the publication today of the Progress Report from the Committee on Climate Change, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said:
“If the UK is to significantly cut its emissions and modernise its buildings, energy and transport infrastructure in the next 15 years, the private sector must urgently understand the scale of the UK’s ambitions and the market arrangements under which it can invest in that infrastructure. Greater clarity is particularly needed on the policies that will drive emissions reductions in domestic and commercial buildings.”
“The EU referendum and recent General Election have resulted in some understandable delay in developing such a plan for businesses and investors. However, if low carbon infrastructure is to be delivered on time, at the lowest possible cost and in a way that grows UK supply chains, the government must deliver on the Minister’s intention to publish the Clean Growth Plan when Parliament returns from the summer recess.”
Reacting to the key findings of the Progress Report on the UK’s adaptation to climate change, Nick Molho added:
“The limited progress being made to tackle the degradation of the UK’s natural environment and better protect its infrastructure from the impacts of climate change is concerning. In the coming year, we need to see a concerted effort across government departments to develop a detailed National Adaptation Plan and 25 Year Environment Plan. These plans must attract much greater investment to improve the state of key natural resources such as coastal wetlands, peatlands and soil and ensure the UK’s infrastructure and economy are resilient in the face of more extreme weather events.”
Reacting to the publication today of the final recommendations by the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said:
“The publication of the TCFD’s industry-led recommendations cements the importance within the investment and business communities of disclosing the physical, regulatory and commercial risks linked to climate change. There is growing recognition that understanding how this information may impact company or asset performance is essential to enable businesses to make sensible long-term strategic decisions and to give investors the information they need to shift their investments towards more resilient and lower carbon business models.”
Nick Molho added: “These recommendations on standardised voluntary disclosure will act as an influential guide for investors and businesses across the economy. However, in light of the urgency of tackling climate change, mandatory regulations remain essential to ensure that climate-related disclosure is widely adopted in the near future and is consistent and comparable between companies of a same sector. Given the UK’s aim to become a hub for green finance, the government should take note of the ambition of these recommendations and strengthen the breadth and scope of its own mandatory carbon reporting regulations in line with the industry standard.”
Reacting to today’s announcement that Macquarie will be the new owner of the Green Investment Bank (GIB), Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said:
“The GIB has added real value to the UK green infrastructure market through a focus on funding novel green infrastructure projects and crowding in additional private sector investment. We are pleased to see that Macquarie has committed to investing £3bn over three years to grow the GIB’s activities. This is a promising start – particularly combined with its recognition of the skills and expertise of GIB employees in both London and Scotland.
We call on Macquarie to honour these commitments and ensure the GIB plays its part in financing the green infrastructure that will be essential to delivering the UK’s climate and environmental policy objectives in the years ahead. Going forward, we also expect the GIB to continue to engage with stakeholders and report transparently on the impact of its green investments.”
Nick Molho added: “Now that the GIB has been fully privatised and the UK can expect to receive less funding from the European Investment Bank post Brexit, the government must ensure that it has a clear strategy in place to attract private finance to deliver its environmental and low carbon policy objectives. Projects involving new technologies and business models will be required to deliver the UK’s Clean Growth Plan and 25 Year Environment Plan. Targeted government support will be essential to make these projects attractive to private investors such as pension funds.”
Reacting to the Green Investment Bank’s completion of its offshore wind fund, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said:
“The completion of the Green Investment Bank’s offshore wind fund shows that the GIB has played an important role in increasing private sector investment in offshore wind and critically, attracting new kinds of investors to the sector such as local authority pension funds. If privatisation of the GIB goes ahead, the government will have to ensure that it has a clear strategy in place to attract private sector investment in the novel green infrastructure projects that the UK needs to decarbonise its economy.”
Civil society and business groups have set 5 tests against which any prospective buyers of the Green Investment Bank will be assessed, calling on them to commit to measures that will ensure it continues to act and invest in the public interest.
The Green Investment Bank ‘Public Interest Prospectus’, launched today, sets out the 5 tests which any prospective owners must pass.
Prospective buyers of the GIB should commit to:
Nick Molho, Executive Director of Aldersgate Group said: “What has made the Green Investment Bank unique to date hasn’t just been its focus on green infrastructure but the fact that it has been a step ahead of the market, by supporting projects that weren’t attracting sufficient levels of private sector investment. This focus on supporting novel projects, such as complex NHS energy efficiency schemes and offshore wind projects using cutting-edge technology, has allowed the bank to make a real difference by supporting innovation, accelerating cost reductions and delivering supply chain benefits to the UK.
It is in the interest of both the future owners of the GIB and the UK public that funded its creation for the bank to retain its market strength in these areas and to continue to provide genuine added value to the UK’s green finance sector.”
Karla Hill of ClientEarth said: “The GIB is a unique institution, integral to supporting the UK’s cost-effective transition to a low-carbon economy. In the coming years we will need investment in our most important green projects – which is why we have to protect the GIB and its special character now.”
Sepi Golzari-Munro, Head of the UK Programme at E3G said: “To stand any chance of winning civil society and business support, any new investors must commit to maintaining the GIB’s integrity as a single, functioning institution and to deploying at least £4bn of new GIB capital in the UK’s low carbon economy over the next three years. Nothing less will do. “
Angela Francis, Economist at Green Alliance said: “If the GIB can continue to provide first of a kind finance to green projects it will remain a powerful institution, but if this sale leads to the bank losing its distinctive leadership role in market, it will be written up as an experiment that failed”
Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK said: “If Government abandons giving the Green Investment Bank the clarity of purpose that made it such a special institution, then the investors who take it over will need to step up to the plate.”
Reacting to the announcement on the start of the sale process for the Green Investment Bank (GIB), the Aldersgate Group welcomed the government’s rethink to create a special share in the GIB but reiterated that maintaining the GIB’s focus on novel projects under its future ownership was key to its long-term value added and success.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “What has made the GIB unique to date has been its ability to be a step ahead of the market by supporting projects that weren’t getting sufficient support from mainstream private investors such as complex energy efficiency projects and offshore wind farms using new technologies. This focus on projects that are both green and novel has allowed the GIB to help tackle important market failures in the area of green infrastructure. Identifying investors with a clear plan and commitment to maintain this current focus must be an important part of the GIB sale process.”
Following the announcement made by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid this morning, the Aldersgate Group stresses that any reforms to the Green Investment Bank must ensure that its public mission to reduce risk for investors in low carbon and environmental projects remains firmly in place. In addition, the government must retain a significant and sufficient shareholding in the Bank to convince the market that it remains firmly behind its mission.
The Aldersgate Group, whose business members represent a wide range of economic sectors and a collective turnover in excess of £300bn, is strongly supportive of the positive impacts that the Green Investment Bank (GIB) has had in reducing the cost of capital, increasing the quality of projects and mitigating policy risks for its mandated areas of investment
From significant co-investments in efficient street lighting to major offshore wind projects, the GIB has played an important role in reducing the risk profile of some low carbon projects that were harder to finance and has already mobilised over £5bn of investment in the UK’s low carbon economy.
The right level of private ownership in the GIB should be agreed through transparent analysis and in-depth consultation with the finance community to determine the optimum level of government shareholding that continues to maximise private finance's willingness to invest in the green economy throughout the lifetime of this parliament and beyond.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The injection of private capital into the Green Investment Bank could be a positive development but only if the Bank’s public mission to drive investments in low carbon projects perceived as riskier is fully maintained and the government retains at least a significant shareholding, allowing it to demonstrate a meaningful stake in the continued success of the Bank.
Failure to provide such reassurance would, just a week after retrospective policy changes on onshore wind, send negative signals to low carbon investors, threatening inward investment flows and undermining the low carbon sector’s important contribution to the UK’s continued economic recovery.”
Nick Molho added: “With a few months to go ahead of the climate change summit in Paris, it is also critical that the UK’s positive leadership in these negotiations does not become undermined by a perception abroad that the government is diluting its domestic commitments and abandoning its own stake in the future growth of the UK’s low carbon economy. Retaining at least a significant holding in the Green Investment Bank and making rapid decisions in key areas such as the future of the levy control framework will be key here.”
The Aldersgate Group also reiterated some of the key recommendations from its recent cross-industry report on the future of the Green Investment Bank, highlighting the importance going forward for the Bank to have greater flexibility in leveraging private finance and in investing across a broader range of environmental projects such as those aimed at improving the state of the UK’s natural capital.
The Aldersgate Group launches a new report today (28th October), at a high profile event in central London with Secretary of State Vince Cable to mark the GIB’s first two years of operation.
The report highlights the GIB’s impressive achievements but urges the next Government to increase the power and remit of the GIB to ensure it provides the necessary support to the UK’s growing green economy.
All contributors congratulate the GIB’s achievements and welcome the cross-party support that has provided it with firm foundations. In its short lifespan the Bank has demonstrated that investment in green infrastructure can be profitable, has drawn in new sources of private sector capital and contributed to the UK’s position as one of the world’s most attractive destinations for private sector green investment.
Peter Young, Chair of the Aldersgate Group and one of the editors of the report said: “The GIB’s achievements are all the more remarkable considering the restrictions within which it has operated. The government must now broaden the Bank’s remit into new sectors and grant it the ability to borrow, by issuing new products such as green bonds and ISAs. This will widen its impact, increase its leverage and allow the general public to invest in the clean, green industrial revolution that is essential to secure our future wealth and wellbeing.”
Andrew Raingold, the Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has told the Environmental Audit Committee that the Government is "running out of options" to deliver on its pledge to be the greenest government ever "if there is less Government spending available (and) if there is less appetite to regulate". He said that greater leadership was required to drive "sensible" fiscal reform and "best value" public procurement.
As an oral witness to the Committee's inquiry on An Environmental Scorecard, Mr Raingold said: "A priority for the next Government should be sensible fiscal reform which seeks to raise taxes on damaging activities like pollution and reduce taxes on beneficial activities like work. The Office for National Statistics shows that the proportion of environmental taxation has fallen during this Parliament. If this trend were reversed over the next five years and delivered in a smart way, there would be benefits for growth, jobs and wellbeing."
The report gives the Government a ‘red card’ for its efforts to reduce health-damaging air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding in a scorecard assessment of its green policies during this Parliament.
Crowdfunding, a method of investment which unlocks capital for individuals to invest in a clean energy future, is already delivering financial benefits for both business and civil society. Vivienne Westwood, speaking at a recent Aldersgate Group event, stated that: "What's good for the planet is good for the economy", and crowdfunding is evidence of this intrinsic link. This event was in partnership with the Trillion Fund which is the first organisation to capitalise on crowdfunding for renewable energy projects. For more information, click here.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: "The Aldersgate Group and our business members are delighted to partner with Trillion Fund and explore new financing opportunities to invest directly in renewable technologies at scale. This provides everyone with a way to make high returns from their savings at the same time as building a better future."
Responding to the Government announcement that every new regulation that imposes a new financial burden on firms must be offset by reductions in red tape that will save double those costs, Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, has argued that such arbitrary targets can lead to perverse outcomes for business.
He said: "There is no analysis of the quality of regulation or the need for Impact Assessments to better take into account the full externalities on the environment or society. As a result this quest for monetary savings risks losing the purpose of best value regulation to correct market failures and provide fair competition."
The Aldersgate Group has published its consultation response to the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs' inquiry into the guidance for companies listed on the London Stock Exchange to report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This announcement was strongly welcomed by the business community and must pave the way to extend the requirements to all large companies in due course.
The document sets out critical next steps to introduce the regulations. This includes when the regulations should come into effect, what emissions should be disclosed, suggested methodology, interaction with other reporting schemes (such as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme) and the review period.
To read the Defra consultation, click here. To read the Aldersgate Group consultation response, click on the adjacent attachment.
Two AG members, Caroline Lucas MP and Tim Yeo MP, put down an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to permit the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to borrow from the capital markets before June 2015, subject to state aid approval. While this did not succeed, BIS Minister Matthew Hancock MP said during the Commons debate that the Government has "been very clear about our commitment to allow borrowing and will look at how best to bring that clarity".
This follows a letter that was signed by Andrew Raingold, AG's Executive Director, to the Deputy Prime Minister which calls for the Liberal Democrats to implement the policy positions adopted at their party conference on decarbonising the UK's power grid and earlier borrowing powers for the GIB. In addition, the state aid approval for the GIB has been approved by the European Commission.
Speaking at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that the Green Investment Bank (GIB) must strengthen the measures for the green mandate in legislation. He noted that "investment in fossil fuel infrastructure that was more efficient than industry standards would meet the current requirements for green purposes" and it should be strengthened with reference to the Climate Change Act and explicitly ruling out dirty technologies. The Aldersgate Group is also calling for the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to include an amendment on borrowing to provide greater certainty to investors and this was raised a number of times during the Second Reading in Parliament last week.
The AG welcomes a new report by the Environmental Audit Committee which calls for green investment to play a key role in the UK's economic recovery. Its publication on the green economy strongly reflects the AG's position and references the AG's evidence fifteen times in the report. This includes recommendations on the need for a comprehensive green economy vision and framework, a smarter approach to regulation, a more strategic approach to skills, a new mindset for procurement to drive innovation and principles for policy certainty.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group and an oral witness to the inquiry, said: "The committee warn that the Government's deregulation agenda is stalling the green economy. There is significant scope for a pro-business, outcome based approach to regulatory reform and a more strategic approach to assert leadership in the green economy race."
To read the report, click here.
In an article in the Guardian, Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Defra, has set out her vision for greening the economy in the run up to Rio+20. She says that "I'll take my seat alongside British business leaders at the Aldersgate Rio+20 Business Summit where we'll debate the opportunities and the challenges of transforming our whole economy to one geared towards long-term green growth".
To read the article, click here.
Responding to the Queen's speech, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: "It is welcome that the Green Investment Bank will be on the parliamentary programme this year as it can be a vital engine for growth. Powers to borrow must be enshrined in legislation, for the institution to maximise its potential to benefit the economy and provide certainty to investors."
See coverage in Environmental Finance here.
The Aldersgate Group, an alliance of businesses and environmental groups, backed by public opinion, has called on the Government to ensure large companies report annual information on their greenhouse gas emissions.
The Aldersgate Group has written to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, to push for a positive decision on mandatory carbon reporting and has published a Populus poll which finds that more than 75 percent of 2,044 adults surveyed across the United Kingdom said large businesses should be required to report carbon emissions.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It is exceptional for a policy to have such widespread support from business, civil society and the general public. This reflects the need for greater corporate transparency on environmental and social impacts. The public expects companies to report more than just profits and bonuses.”