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Blog Post 29 July 2021

Re-focusing finance on greener outcomes

The UK Government’s Green Finance Strategy recognises the role of finance in delivering domestic and global climate objectives. Energy Saving Trust is already on board

Although it cannot by itself deliver the transition, green finance is key to securing our sustainable, low carbon future. If we want to tackle the climate emergency – in line with Energy Saving Trust’s core mission – we must target finance at greener outcomes, from low carbon homes and electric vehicles to shares in clean-tech companies and renewable energy infrastructure.

A prospective partnership with the philanthropist Quadrature Climate Foundation is taking Energy Saving Trust into the realm of consumer finance for electric vehicles.

With an eye on a comparable scheme already operating successfully in Scotland, Energy Saving Trust is conducting a feasibility study on behalf of Quadrature for a project offering interest-free loans for electric vehicles to consumers and businesses in an English city. Project works include defining the scope and reach of the scheme, selecting a city using relevant criteria, and creating a marketing plan.

Tim Anderson, group head of transport, said: “This is an exciting opportunity in a key growth area for us. It’s actually quite a disruptive project in the sense that it puts us in the same room as the established consumer finance sector – the major players, in other words.”

The tie-in with Quadrature is part of Energy Saving Trust’s focus on finance as an instrument for accelerating the decarbonisation journey. Similar conversations with the Green Finance Institute aim to help consumers and businesses in situations where finance is a barrier to green choices.

Explains Tim: “These important new partnerships are all about helping as many people as we can, regardless of wealth or income, to overcome the barriers to electric vehicle adoption. The theme here is fair transition. What we’re saying is – electric vehicles shouldn’t be the preserve of the rich.”

Energy Saving Trust’s aim is to help create financial products that make it easier to buy or lease an electric vehicle. “The goal,” says Tim, “is to get petrol and diesel vehicles off our roads as soon as possible without impinging on travel freedoms. We intend to use all the tools in the box.”

Banking on low carbon homes for today and tomorrow

Energy Saving Trust is working with Lloyds Banking Group and leading estate agent Countrywide to drive improvements in home energy efficiency.

The Home Energy Saving Tool designed by Energy Saving Trust for Lloyds allows customers to receive tailored energy advice and create an action plan for energy efficient upgrades. The plan includes an indication of savings achieved in terms of energy usage and fuel costs, along with the potential carbon emission reductions.

The Lloyds tool uses Energy Saving Trust’s Dynamic Engine, a powerful and flexible interface that helps organisations get closer to their customers’ needs.

As a member of the Green Financial Institute’s Coalition for Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Energy Saving Trust actively supports the development of new, green financial products targeting homes. A further venture with Countrywide allows the estate agent’s partner Santander to offer mortgage customers bespoke advice on, for example, boosting their Energy Performance Certificate score.

For Inga Jirgensone, Energy Saving Trust’s group head of business development, partnerships of this kind signal a strong appetite for growth on both sides of the relationship. “There’s a great deal of interest coming from financial institutions because they’re looking to engage with customers in more meaningful ways. And, of course, we too are looking to offer more of what we do best.”

In discussions with a range of financial institutions, Energy Saving Trust’s priority as always is to increase impact. Says Inga: “For me, it’s very exciting to see these levels of interest from industry. We’ve been leading on energy efficiency for years. But when more companies come on board with their markets and audiences, impact increases dramatically. That’s what we want to see.”

Last updated: 29 July 2021