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Foresight partner expects privatised GIB to retain focus

A leading investor in the waste sector has said privatisation of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) may well change the nature of the bank but not its environmental focus.

Nigel Aitchison, partner at Foresight and head of its environmental division, told MRW that the establishment of the GIB four years ago was “a stepping stone towards a privatisation of some sort”.

Aitchison was speaking ahead of the formal invitation from business secretary Sajid Javid on 2 March for private sector investors to register their interest.

Earlier, Javid pledged that a ’special share’ would be held by an independent company and it would have to give consent if the GIB wanted to change its sustainability focus.

The Environmental Audit Committee had previously argued that ministers had not produced convincing enough evidence that a privatised GIB would better achieve its aims.

Aitchison said it would be interesting to see who invested: “It will change over time, it’s bound to. The focus won’t change, I think, away from green investments, but they will broaden their horizons into other sectors and other geographies over time.”

In his MRW Big Interview, Aitchison also addresses criticism that GIB funds managed by Foresight have favoured energy-from-waste schemes rather than promoting recycling or ventures higher up the waste hierarchy.

“The issue is that we are a commercial entity and we have to make a commercial view. We’re not soft money. We were never given a mandate that looked anything like soft money and nor was the GIB,” he said.

The full interview is in the coming issue of MRW and will be live on the MRW website from Friday.

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