- Mayor of London and Foresight urge companies with ‘seed of green idea’ to come forward –
Foresight Group, the UK’s leading sustainable asset manager, has secured £70 million for waste investment to support the London Green Fund, which aims to invest in recycling and renewable energy projects in the capital.
Launched by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, The Foresight Environmental Fund as it will be known, opened for proposals in March, and is set to turn London into a world leader in the waste and recycling sector. In total, Foresight is seeking to raise up to £200 million, having already secured a £35 million commitment from the London Green Fund*, and a further £35 million has been lined up from local authority pension funds and a range of other investors.
Foresight’s fund, part of the London Green Fund*, was launched at a Low Carbon Capital event on Monday 21st March. It supports the Mayor's commitment to work with the City to secure London's pre-eminence as the world's leading low carbon financial centre. His vision is to use London’s financial expertise to capitalise on the opportunities for green investments and create wealth for London and the UK, though the transition to a low carbon economy.
The Foresight Environmental Fund directly supports this vision by financing small-scale waste-to-energy and recycling plants which promote sustainable and carbon neutral economic growth. The fund’s investment programme has the potential to divert large volumes of municipal, commercial and other waste from landfill each year, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The investment will also create new sustainable jobs in areas of London that need regeneration.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “A century ago London was cashing in on carbon, but I am determined we now harness the wealth of investment opportunities coming from the shift away from the use of increasingly costly fossil fuels. The prize is not only better environmental stewardship and cash savings, but the injection of billions of pounds into the city’s economy and tens of thousands of high quality jobs. In addition, the move towards energy efficient transport, homes and workplaces will deliver a better quality of life.
“London’s existing lead as a low carbon financial centre means we are well placed to grab more than our fair share of the global market in associated goods, services and skills. This multi-million pound fund to provide greener waste and recycling facilities is a great example of the type of innovative thinking that will stimulate low carbon economic growth for the capital.”
Matt Taylor, Partner, Foresight Group, said: “We have identified a number of projects already for the fund but are actively encouraging other waste and recycling companies to come to us with proposals. We believe that recycling and recovery are one of the most sustainable sectors of London’s industry and these projects can become firmly embedded in London’s economy, by generating secure local employment and long term financial and environmental benefits.”
LWARB (the London Waste and Recycling Board) has been a major contributor to the London Green Fund providing £18 million of the initial £35million used to set up the Foresight Environmental Fund. James Cleverly, Chair of LWARB, said: “LWARB are delighted to have been pivotal in establishing the waste and recycling element of the London Green Fund. This new and exciting fund will give a massive boost to London’s low carbon economy.”
Foresight Group is a private equity fund manager specialising in sustainable investment. Its environmental infrastructure team has invested £60 million in innovative UK waste infrastructure over the last 4 years. These projects include Closed Loop Recycling, London’s first food grade plastic bottle recycling facility.
* The London Green Fund is a £100 million holding fund, managed by the European Investment Bank with contributions from the London Development Agency, the London Waste and Recycling Board, and the European Regional Development Fund. The London Green Fund is part of the European Investment Bank and the European Commission's Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) initiative.
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Notes to Editors
The European Commission's Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) is an initiative developed by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, in collaboration with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). Under new procedures, Member States are being given the option of using some of their EU grant funding, their so-called Structural Funds, to make repayable investments in projects forming part of an integrated plan for sustainable urban development. These investments, which may take the form of equity, loans and/or guarantees, are delivered to projects via Urban Development Funds and, if required, Holding Funds.
Foresight Environmental Fund
The Foresight Environmental Fund will provide investment for projects that will help utilise the massive value of London’s waste through infrastructure such as power plants to convert waste biomass to clean energy and facilities for recycling waste products such as food and plastics. For example, London produces 2.6m tons of organic waste a year, which could generate revenues of around £170 million a year. The city produces an estimated 280,000 tons of plastics, much of which has ended up in landfill. But many forms of plastic are of high commercial value which could be worth £140 million a year. This represents a solid and sustainable investment opportunity to also help the city become energy efficient and cut carbon output. It is estimated that the fund's investment into waste infrastructure could generate at least 100 low carbon jobs, save 28,000 tons of carbon and divert 245,000 tons of waste from increasingly costly landfill sites.
About Foresight Group
Foresight is an independent alternative asset manager, which focuses primarily on investments in unquoted UK and European companies and projects and offers investors exclusive access to attractive income and growth opportunities.
Foresight manages in excess of £300 million across a number of funds, including Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).
Investments made by Foresight in the environmental infrastructure sector have included Crumb Rubber, a tyre recycling company; Vertal, a food waste recycling company; 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, which generates renewable electricity from biomass; and Land Energy, a producer of wood pellets for sustainable heating in homes and schools.
Foresight is also a leading investor in renewable energy from solar PV and has financed projects with total investment of over £150 million in mainland Europe and the UK. In 2010 Foresight launched the UK’s first solar VCT fund, which has already attracted subscriptions of over £20 million from private investors.