Foresight Group (Foresight), the asset management group that is pioneering environmental infrastructure investing in the UK, is delighted to have contributed to the report, "Towards the Circular Economy”, www.thecirculareconomy.org, launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The report explores "circular” business models and identifies an economic opportunity of up to US$630 billion (£404 billion).
As well as the potential savings that the UK economy could make by re-evaluating the current waste infrastructure (estimated to be up to $697 million annually by keeping food waste out of British landfills), at its core, a circular economy aims to ‘design out’ waste. Products are designed for disassembly and reuse and a clear distinction is made between non-toxic consumables that can be safely returned to the biosphere and used as "food” and durables, such as engines or computers, that are designed for reuse from the start.
Since 2007, Foresight has invested more than £60 million in innovative UK waste infrastructure and has established a leading position in the waste and environmental sector, with a portfolio of recycling, biomass and waste to energy companies.
Foresight manages the £60 million Foresight Environmental Fund (FEF), a fund supported by the London Green Fund, launched by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in early 2011, and a key part of London’s drive towards becoming a world leading low carbon city. FEF directly supports this vision by financing waste management and recycling facilities which promote sustainable and carbon neutral economic growth. The fund’s investment programme has the potential to divert over 1.4 million tonnes of municipal, commercial and other waste from landfill each year, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million tonnes CO2e. The investment will also create hundreds of new jobs in London.
Andrew Page, Partner and Head of Environmental Infrastructure at Foresight commented: "Foresight has been focusing on sustainable investment in the UK, and we were delighted to have helped the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on providing input to the report. It is clear that the current "take-make-dispose” industrial model presents economic and environmental risks and we feel the economic and business rationale for a transition to the circular economy as outlined in this report speaks for itself. We are working hard with our portfolio companies and our investors who are dedicated to improving the environmental infrastructure within the UK and as such are overcoming many of the challenges set out in this groundbreaking report.”
Jamie Butterworth, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation added "In drafting the report, we have drawn on the input and expertise of a wide range of academic and business leaders, and we are grateful to Andrew Page and his environmental team at Foresight for their insights to the challenges for the UK market in particular and for their technological know how.”
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Notes to Editors
About Foresight Group
Foresight is an independent alternative asset manager, which focuses on investments in unquoted UK and European companies or projects and offers investors exclusive access to attractive income and growth opportunities.
Foresight has in excess of £600 million assets under management across a number of funds, including Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).
In the solar sector, Foresight’s solar funds have already invested in more than £300 million of operating PV assets in Italy, UK and Spain.
Other investments made by Foresight in the environmental infrastructure sector have included 2K Manufacturing, which manufactures a plywood substitute from waste plastics; Closed Loop Recycling, the UK’s first recycler of waste plastic bottles back into food packaging material; O-Gen UK, which generates renewable electricity from biomass.
Foresight is the manager of the most successful VCT of all time, Foresight VCT, which has returned more than 100% of the fund to investors in dividend payments since launch in 1997. Foresight VCT was the best performing VCT in 2011 with a growth in its share price of 51% (Source AIC).
About Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The Foundation was formed in 2010 to inspire a generation to rethink, redesign and build a positive future. The Foundation believes that the circular economy provides a coherent framework for systems level re-design and as such offers us an opportunity to harness innovation and creativity to enable a positive, restorative economy.
The Foundation is a UK charity supported by a group of ‘Founding Partners’ - B&Q, BT, Cisco, National Grid and Renault. Each of these organisations has been instrumental in the initial formation of the Foundation, the instigation of this report and continues to support its activities in education, communications and working as a business catalyst.
McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, provided the overall project management, developed the fact base and delivered the analytics for the report.
In addition to a number of leading academic and industry experts, an extended group of organisations provided input and expertise. They included Foresight Group, Caterpillar, Cyberpac, Desso, EPEA, ISE, Marks & Spencer, Product-Life Institute, Ricoh, Turntoo, and Vestas.