Gresham House’s sustainable infrastructure strategy has secured an £80m (€93.2m) investment from Bedfordshire Pension Fund and Staffordshire Pension Fund to help accelerate the deployment of profitable, real asset-based solutions to the environmental and societal challenges facing the UK.
This interim close brings the total capital raised for Sustainable Infrastructure (BSIF) and its side-car funds to more than £400m. Final close is expected by the end of the third quarter of the year with strong interest from other local government pension schemes (LGPS) and institutional investors.
BSIF’s place-based impact investment approach ensures that these funds will gain greater exposure to innovative sustainable infrastructure, from vertical farming in Staffordshire to habitat banks delivering biodiversity net gain across the regions. The investments will also drive positive social impact, including the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband to hard-to-reach communities, creating over £600m of economic, social and environmental benefits for these regions.
The BSIF strategy aims to invest in the most appropriate solutions to regional challenges, delivering the potential for “robust investor returns” and “empowering local communities”.
BSIF’s investments have already helped to create 2,000 new careers, with the target to create 5,000 new jobs by 2025/26. Other benefits include connecting more than 175,000 homes and businesses to full-fibre broadband, growing leafy greens using up to 98% less water and up to 1,900x less carbon than imported field-grown crops and creating thousands of hectares of new biodiversity habitats.
Doug McMurdo, chair of Bedfordshire Pension Fund, said: “We are committed to creating positive environmental and social change for communities here in the East of England, which already plays host to a wide range of renewable energy infrastructure - our region is already playing a key role in the UK’s transition to net zero. The scale of infrastructure investment required presents compelling opportunities to help develop the critical assets that will improve lives and deliver lasting local economic and environmental benefits.
”This commitment will help us build on the region’s reputation as a green leader, incorporating industry-leading sustainable infrastructure assets into the mix.”
Mike Sutherland, chair of Staffordshire Pension Committee, added: “We are working hard to address the climate emergency and aid nature recovery throughout our region, home to some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK.
”BSIF’s highly differentiated and diversified portfolio is designed not only to deliver strong financial returns but aligns well with Staffordshire’s commitment to sustainable investment. We view this allocation as complementary to our core infrastructure exposure and allows us to meet our commitment to place-based impact investment here in the UK.”
Peter Bachmann, managing director of sustainable infrastructure at Gresham House, said: “The LGPS sector plays a vital role in driving the kind of change required to create a world that people actually want to retire into, by actively seeking investment opportunities that deliver positive environmental and social impact alongside compelling risk-adjusted financial returns.
“The support from the Bedfordshire and Staffordshire Pension Funds, and our other institutional investors, is empowering us to continue directing capital into areas where real asset-based solutions can have the biggest impact. We look forward to developing new place-based investment solutions for their regions’ challenges, creating even greater benefits for their members and local communities.
“By focusing on greenfield, mid-market (sub-£50 million) platform opportunities, Gresham House’s Sustainable Infrastructure team prioritises underfunded sectors that offer the potential for strong returns and certain further deal-flow, while providing hands-on support to the entrepreneurs and technologies making a tangible difference for people and planet.”
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