As part of the integration of our investments with our mission, we allocate up to 10% of our endowment to investments that generate particularly strong social and environmental returns, and from which we are prepared to accept a higher level of risk or a lower level of financial return than the market norm, especially for those social investments that are closely aligned to our thematic programme aims.
As one of our current thematic programmes, we are actively seeking social investment opportunities in community energy.
Current investments include:
- Awel Coop is a 4.7MW two wind turbine project that is wholly owned, controlled by and benefits the local community. The community, 20 miles north of Swansea, is an area of high social deprivation. Over the project’s lifetime, it is expected that £3 million will be given to Awl Aman Tawe Charity to alleviate local fuel poverty. The Foundation invested £100,000 in its community share offer.
- Thrive Renewables acquires existing and develops new renewable energy projects. Our investment was used in the acquisition of two projects with a view to migrating ownership to the local community; a 3.2MW solar array in the Midlands and a 6.9MW three wind turbine scheme in North West England. The Foundation invested £100,000 in a bond offer.
- The Community Share Underwriting Fund supports share offers for the development or purchase of community assets, including community energy projects. The Foundation invested £100,000 as a loan.
As part of Community Energy Fortnight 2017, we organised a ‘seeing is believing’ tour for other social impact investors and grant makers, highlighting the social, environmental and local economic benefits of community energy. Read more about it here.
In September 2017, we became the third partner to join Snowball LLP, a ground-breaking new 100% impact investment fund.
Founded by Panahpur and the Golden Bottle Trust, Snowball’s mission is to build mass participation in impact investing and to establish it as a mainstream investment option. The intention is that other pioneering foundations, charities and like-minded investors will join the LLP as partners until the fund is large enough to launch as an Impact Investment Trust open to the public.
Snowball will apply a social and environmental impact lens to all of its investment analysis, reporting and decision making. Current high impact investments that would not be found in mainstream funds include micro-finance in the developing world, housing for the homeless in the UK, and UK renewable energy projects that are co-operatively owned by the local community.
Portfolio analysis: ‘impact intensity’ of all investments using the Snowball Bull’s Eye methodology