Securing climate investment for Bristol

We were delighted to host the 3Ci Regional Net Zero Investment Forum at City Hall earlier this month. With Global Goals Week underway, it’s an apt time to reflect on the event and our wider progress.

3Ci, Cities Commission for Climate Investment, is a partnership between Connected Places Catapult, Core Cities UK, London Councils, and other local authorities across the UK. It aims to support local authorities to secure the necessary long-term finance for achieving net zero.

Mayor Marvin Rees stands on stage, holding a microphone. Behind him, a banner reads 3Ci Cities Commission For Climate Investment
Mayor Marvin Rees

Tackling the climate crisis is a priority for Bristol and climate action is becoming more integrated within city economic recovery plans across the region. However, despite this heightened activity, the investment case for local net zero programmes and interventions is not widely developed. 

The barriers to investment are not just in the availability of finance, but more in the ability to create robust business cases and investment models. Bringing the business cases of cities and local authorities together will generate greater scale, volume, and predictability, creating a more attractive and substantial proposition for investors. Together, we have hundreds of billions of pounds of projects in need of investment, from large scale battery/solar energy to new and improved transport networks.

While we have already secured some £424 million initial private investment in Bristol’s City Leap clean energy programme, decarbonising Bristol’s economy will take around £9.5 billion so there is clearly more to do.

This regional investment forum was an early step in bringing together local government, businesses and investors to help accelerate financial flows into local net zero projects. Other similar regional events are happening in Glasgow and Birmingham this month, with a national Net Zero Summit taking place in October.

Denise Murray (centre) sits, holding a microphone. Around her, other attendees are out of focus.
Denise Murray

Our Bristol event included a discussion between Professor Greg Clark, the chair of 3Ci, and myself,  on how cities can work together to facilitate net zero finance. There were also panels with experts discussing opportunities and challenges across the region, including Denise Murray, Bristol City Council’s Director of Finance; and an overview of our approach to climate investment from Stephen Peacock, Bristol City Council’s Executive Director for Growth and Regeneration.

Local authorities and other partnerships then presented net zero projects to the attendees, including a panel of investors who gave their views on how the projects could be shaped into compelling net zero investment opportunities.

Stephen Peacock stands, speaking, at a podium. The podium sign reads: 3Ci Cities Commission for Climate Investment: Regional Net Zero Investment Forum
Stephen Peacock