Fri, 16 Oct 2020
THE first local government climate bond scheme in the UK to help West Berkshire invest in a greener future has hit its £1m target.
West Berkshire Council launched the green bond in July, offering people the chance to invest in green schemes for a minimum of £5 with returns of 1.2 per cent per year over a five-year term.
The Community Municipal Investment (CMI) closed after reaching its £1m target five days early.
The scheme attracted 640 investors, with West Berkshire residents raising 22 per cent of the funds – an average investment of £3,500.
Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen) said: “I’m very pleased that this innovative way of funding the delivery of our Environment Strategy has had such a strong uptake from local people.
“Not only is it saving the council money, but it has allowed local people to get directly involved with our plans to reach net zero in the next decade.”
The CMI was developed by ethical investment platform Abundance to offer an accessible, low-risk way for people to support green infrastructure in their area by investing directly with the council.
West Berkshire declared a climate emergency last year, following this up with an Environment Strategy with a target of making the district net zero carbon by 2030.
The green bond is one of the first deliverables of its strategy.
Solar panels funded by the CMI have been installed on five buildings across the district, including Aldermaston Primary School and The Willink School, leisure and care facilities and the council’s Market Street offices.
Money raised from the bond will also go towards funding projects with the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) to protect and enhance the natural environment; updating traffic lights to LED; and cycleways to promote sustainable transport.
Abundance Investment co-founder and managing director Bruce Davis said: “We’re excited that the UK’s first Community Municipal Investment has had such a positive response – we have more in the pipeline and fully expect these will become as well known and integral to people’s investment portfolios as National Savings and Investments is now.
“Our CMIs offer investors the ability to invest for a low risk and receive a fixed return while knowing their money is working hard to accelerate the UK’s progress to net zero.”