28 February 2016: The Independent reports on a further supporter for the use of Green Bonds to help fund green infrastructure.“Councils should use bonds to fund much needed green infrastructure projects such as renewable energy and flood defences, according to the Lord Mayor of London.” Two quick things to note here: first, the Lord Mayor of London is not the Mayor of London – but Leader of the Corporation of the City of London (one of London’s 33 boroughs) – a one year post largely undertaking ceremonial and social duties. Secondly, The Independent is actually quoting a former Lord Mayor – Sir Roger Gifford was appointed that post in 2012-13. The latest incumbent can seen here.
The Independent continues: “Sir Roger Gifford said there was tremendous scope for the country to follow the lead of the US and Swede, where municipalities have raised billions of pounds for green projects by selling bonds to the public. ..The city of Gothenburg launched its own green bond for a project and were flooded with calls from local people wanting to get involved,” said Sir Roger, an experienced financier who heads the UK division of Sweden’s SEB Bank, which managed the Gothenburg green bond. “I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen in Leeds, or Bradford, or wherever.” Gothenburg’s two green bonds have helped fund a number of projects across the city including water, biogas, district heating, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
“Sir Roger added: “There is great potential for the UK to follow the Scandinavian or North America models. Mostly obviously for wind, but also for wave, solar and biofuel power – all those forms of renewable energy are perfect for this kind of climate-friendly financing. Waste management, water management, better water grids, better electricity grids, sustainable transport, sustainable housing – all of them are also excellent, as is air-pollution prevention. His comments came as Swindon became the first council in the UK to issue a solar bond, a renewable energy bond, or a bond of any type to the public for more than a century.”“
Interestingly Sir Roger is also chairman of the recently launched Green Finance Initiative, launched on 16 January of this year “which aims to make London the world leader in green finance” – see full City of London press release here.