Islington could be first London council to launch community investment fund for green projects

An ultra low emission street in Islington. Photograph: Julia Gregory

Residents will be able to invest in green projects with Islington set to launch a community investment fund that is aiming to raise £1m.

It is the first London council to set up a Community Municipal Investment and follows in the footsteps of Warrington and West Berkshire councils.

The move comes ahead of the global COP26 climate conference where world leaders face tough decisions to avert climate disaster.

Last month, Islington’s full council approved changes to Islington’s treasury management strategy to allow it to launch the fund.

Cllr Satnam Gill said: “We can make it available to all our residents in Islington who can the get involved in our net zero strategy. This will allow people to invest as little as £5 towards bonds, which we will use to pay for electric vehicles, electric charging points, solar panels.”

It was an idea outlined in the council’s ‘Vision 2030: Creating a Net Zero Carbon Islington by 2030’ plan.

Cllr Rowena Champion, who has responsibility for the environment, pledged that alongside seeking funds from government and the Greater London Authority, the council “will also explore alternative funding opportunities, such as community municipal bonds and crowdfunding”.

The fund will be run in partnership with crowdfunding platform Abundance Investment.

It will be the first UK fund which is eligible to be part of an innovative finance ISA.

Residents will earn interest from Islington Council every six months and will get their initial investment back after five years.

Their money might go towards the School Streets programme, improving air quality, electric vehicle charging stations, making waste and recycling carbon neutral, or other green ventures such as projects installing LED lights in public buildings to cut carbon and electricity bills.

The council declared a climate emergency in 2019.

Cllr Champion said: “We owe it to present and future generations to act now, before it’s too late.

“We all have a part to play in addressing this and, by launching London’s first Community Municipal Investment, we’re giving people across Islington the opportunity to contribute towards local, national and global efforts to cut emissions and air pollution.”

Green councillor Caroline Russell said: “This is a really constructive and positive thing.”

The scheme has to get the green light from Islington’s executive on 14 October.

Residents will have to register their interest via  Abundance Investment.