By Marcus Leach

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today declared 'open for business' an innovative fund totalling at least £70 million which will finance low carbon waste and recycling infrastructure.

This will help make London a world leader in finding new ways to exploit the cash value of waste, use it to generate green energy whilst creating jobs and developing valuable exportable skills.

Addressing an influential audience of senior financiers at the London Stock Exchange, the Mayor announced that Foresight Group, a leading sustainable asset manager, will manage the waste and recycling fund on behalf of and as part of the London Green Fund.

The Foresight Environmental Fund as it will be known, includes £35 million investment from the London Green Fund which Foresight has doubled with commitments for a further £35 million from local authority pension funds and a range of other investors; Foresight seeks to leverage in an overall total of £200 million from pension funds and other private sector investors. The London Green Fund is a trailblazing initiative — the first UK fund to combine European, public and private finance to invest in environmental infrastructure.

“A century ago London was cashing in on carbon, but I am determined we now harness the wealth of investment opportunities coming from the shift away from the use of increasingly costly fossil fuels,” Johnson said.

“The prize is not only better environmental stewardship and cash savings, but the injection of billions of pounds into the city’s economy and tens of thousands of high quality jobs. In addition, the move towards energy efficient transport, homes and workplaces will deliver a better quality of life.

“London’s existing lead as a low carbon financial centre means we are well placed to grab more than our fair share of the global market in associated goods, services and skills.This multi-million pound fund to provide greener waste and recycling facilities is a great example of the type of innovative thinking that will stimulate low carbon economic growth for the capital.”

The London Green Fund forms one of the initiatives the Mayor has introduced to harness the opportunities coming from a low carbon economy — other projects are cutting emissions from homes, workplaces and transport.

London is well placed to become a world leader in both low carbon financing and in the creation of new jobs, skills and enterprise to cash in on the need to become more energy efficient. An Ernst and Young report commissioned by the Mayor shows that if London can secure just one per cent of forecast global spend on low carbon goods and services, then it could deliver nearly £4 billion to our economy through to 2025.