Published: 13 March 2023
Westminster City Council, in partnership with ethical crowdfunding platform Abundance Investment, has launched Westminster Green Investment, a new scheme which gives residents a chance to invest in sustainable projects and green initiatives within the local community to support the council’s Fairer Environment target of becoming a net zero Council by 2030 and a net zero city by 2040.
The Westminster Green Investment is aiming to raise up to £1 million in the first round, to help fund a range of green projects within the local community to make it a greener, cleaner and healthier place for everyone to live.
The money raised will be used to make a real difference and help fund a range of energy efficiency measures for council owned buildings or community owned sites, such as schools and community centres. Examples of green projects include:
- Installation of solar PV
- Glazing upgrades
- Draught proofing
- Light emitting diode (LED) lighting replacements
- Cooling improvements
- Heat pump technology
- Electronically commutated (EC) fan replacements
- Pipework insultation.
Residents and businesses will be able to invest from as little as £5 and will earn returns of 4.2% interest a year, across five years. The investment pays regular instalments of capital and interest every six months. Each payment will include interest and a portion of investors' original investment.
Investors will also have the option to donate back their interest to fund additional green initiatives. The investment can also be held in an Innovative Finance ISA, which offers tax free returns. The Westminster Green Investment is being launched, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The council recently published its Green Finance Framework, a voluntary standard which sets out how the council intends to manage its green projects in the future. This means that funds raised from the Westminster Green Investment can only be used to help deliver eligible green projects from within this framework.
Cllr David Boothroyd, Cabinet Member for Finance and Council Reform at Westminster City Council said:
“The City of Westminster has some of the highest carbon emissions in the country by local authority area and we need to find ways to reduce city-wide emissions by 91,000 tonnes a year if we’re to meet our goal of being a net zero city by 2040.
The council is committed to taking action on climate change – we declared a climate emergency in 2019 and have already introduced measures to reduce our own emissions including improving 450 council homes with energy efficiency measures, running climate education workshops in primary schools, installing energy conservation measures in over 60 council buildings and launching the council’s Environmental Justice Measure and Sustainable City Charter.
We want to support residents and local businesses to make a positive impact in their neighbourhoods, by reducing their climate impact and improving the local environment and this new Westminster Green Investment scheme is one way that can help us reach our goal. Residents can invest as little as £5 to make a difference in supporting sustainable projects in their local area to create a cleaner, greener and fairer Westminster for everyone.”
Karl Harder, Joint Managing Director, Abundance Investment said:
“Westminster’s Green Investment provides residents with the chance to show their support for their local council taking action on the climate emergency and earn a financial return that is relatively low risk. The fact that Westminster have signed up to the new Green Finance Framework aligns what they are doing with the UK Government Green Gilt and Green NS&I Bond programmes, and is an important step towards Green Council investments becoming a more widespread and regular part of any investor’s portfolio.”
Capital at risk. Investments are long term and may not be readily realisable. This content has been approved as a financial promotion by Abundance who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (525432).
Holding investments in an IFISA does not reduce the risk of the investment or protect you from losses. You can still lose all your money. It only means that any potential gains from your investment will be tax free. The tax treatment of your investment will depend on your individual circumstances and may change in the future.
This investment, which is a loan, is Green Loan Principles compliant Westminster Green Investment is the first council investment to be issued under a Green Finance Framework. This is a voluntary standard which sets out how Westminster City Council intends to manage its green local authority securities in the future, and outlines how they will meet the Green Loan Principles. This assures investors that funds raised can only be used to help them deliver on eligible green projects from within this framework, and Abundance will monitor the use of funds across the investment term to ensure the principles are being adhered to.
For more information and details on how to invest in the Westminster Green Investment.
The launch of the Westminster Green Investment is one of many steps the council is taking to address the climate emergency.