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Climate Action Bond to be launched in Lewisham

New community investment scheme aims to generate £1m for local projects to help tackle the Climate Emergency.

A new Climate Action Bond is set to be launched by Lewisham Council next year, enabling local residents and businesses to invest in projects which will support the borough’s mission to become net-zero by 2030.

The bond is a type of Community Municipal Investment – an investment model which allows residents to invest their money in projects that benefit the local community and receive a return on their investment. Lewisham is one of the first councils in the country to launch this type of community investment scheme.

The Lewisham Climate Action Bond aims to generate £1m of investment for projects such as retrofitting local buildings to improve energy efficiency and installing more cycle hangars and electric vehicle charging points.

Launching in 2023, residents will be able to invest directly via a Financial Conduct Authority-registered online platform, with the minimum investment expected to be as little as £5. Investors will receive a return on their investment via regular interest payments at a rate that is equal to or slightly less than the standard rate of interest the Council would have to pay to borrow the money. This reduces the cost of borrowing for the Council and generates additional investment for projects to tackle the Climate Emergency, as well as providing a secure and low-cost investment opportunity for residents which delivers a positive return.

Following approval at a meeting of Mayor and Cabinet last night, Lewisham will sign the Green Finance Institute’s Local Climate Bond pledge and begin work to launch its Climate Action Bond next year. More information about how to invest will be shared with local residents and potential investors in 2023, with the bond expected to launch at the start of the new financial year.

The announcement reflects Lewisham’s role as a leading local authority in this area of work, having become one of the first local authorities in London to declare a Climate Emergency in 2019. Since then, all Council buildings have switched over to 100% renewable energy, Lewisham’s waste and recycling vehicles have been upgraded to comply with the highest standards of emissions, more than 25,000 trees have been planted in the borough and over 100 bike hangars and 100 electric vehicle charging points have been installed throughout Lewisham.

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “Today we’ve agreed our first steps for our new Lewisham Climate Action Bond. We’ll be raising £1m for local projects like retrofitting and insulating local buildings, installing more cycle hangars, using energy from the ground for heating instead of gas. All this helps Lewisham reach our goal of having net-zero carbon emissions. We’re joining the UK’s leading councils in launching this sort of community investment scheme. I hope it shows how serious we take our responsibilities and how we’re looking at different ways to meet the challenge.”

Cllr Amanda de Ryk, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy, said:
“With local government continuing to face considerable financial pressures, we have to be innovative when it comes to boosting investment in tackling the Climate Emergency. With people able to invest from just £5, our Lewisham Climate Action Bond is a secure, low-cost way for residents to invest their money and make a positive difference in the community.”

Cllr Louise Krupski, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Action, said: “Since declaring a Climate Emergency in 2019, we have made significant progress in reducing carbon emissions in Lewisham, as part of our mission to make the borough net-zero by 2030. The Lewisham Climate Action Bond will play a crucial role in boosting investment in projects which will tackle the Climate Emergency and benefit local people.”

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