Campaign for Local Climate Bonds

The Green Finance Institute and Abundance Investment, supported by UK100, Local Partnerships and Innovate UK, have launched a national campaign to help local authorities issue a type of municipal finance investment – Local Climate Bonds, a cost-effective way for them to fund hundreds of green local projects in the run-up to and beyond the critically important COP26 summit in November.

The campaign will target all 404 local authorities in the UK, of which over 70% have declared a climate emergency, helping them bring to market this retail investment product, highlighting the benefits of Local Climate Bonds, build a community of knowledge sharing, and provide access to green finance and municipal investment experts.

Local Climate Bonds, a type of ‘community municipal investment’, allow local authorities to raise capital to fund specific initiatives in their neighbourhoods, from wind farms to solar panel installations, rewilding and electric vehicle plans, and investors can invest from as little as £5 through a crowdfunding model. Abundance has calculated that these bonds could raise as much as £3 billion if issued by the 343 local authorities in England.

Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive, Green Finance Institute, said: “We need to mobilise significant investment to meet our decarbonisation objectives; Local Climate Bonds are an important part of this target and of the growth of green finance in the UK. This campaign will support councils to access cost-effective financing to deliver place-based transition projects for inclusive, resilient, net zero communities, and provide local residents with an attractive opportunity to invest in the long-term future of their communities.”

Karl Harder, co-founder and Managing Director, Abundance Investment, said: “We are very pleased that so many councils are recognising the strong connection between their citizens and financing the infrastructure we need to get to a net zero future. Warrington and West Berkshire are leading the way in empowering local action on climate change – we hope that many more will follow their great example.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “It is a critical time for councils to harness the expertise and the local knowledge they have to help their residents meet the net zero carbon challenge, sharing best practice and championing progress. The Local Climate Bonds’ way of funding decarbonisation projects all over the UK will also support thousands of good green jobs, including in retrofitting our homes, moving away from fossil fuel transport and improving natural biodiversity. The newly-formed Greater Manchester Retrofitting Taskforce will be considering innovative financing options such as these.”

Local Climate Bonds have so far been piloted by West Berkshire and Warrington councils in 2019 and 2020, raising £2 million in total used to fund projects including solar panels, habitat restoration, tree planting and LED lighting.

Ross Mackinnon, West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for Finance and Economic Development, said: “The delivery of the bond has been a real success for us and has enabled the Council to not only achieve an engaging way of utilising a cheaper form of borrowing for our net zero ambitions, but we’ve also leveraged in further donations to our successful wildflower verges projects to enhance biodiversity in the local area.”

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