Environment

Big Issue Invest joins multi-million pound partnership to support green jobs

The Big Issue’s investment arm aims to create space for 4,000 green jobs and 1,000 businesses by 2025.

County Hall, new home of Sustainable Ventures in London. Photograph : Kitty Wheeler Shaw

The Big Issue is playing a leading role in the UK’s environmental future with a new multi-million pound partnership to support green jobs and business in the capital.

Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of The Big Issue Group, has joined forces with Lambeth Council and tech investor Sustainable Ventures to open a new innovation hub for climate technology and green businesses at London’s County Hall.

The £5 million partnership aims to create space and mentoring for 4,000 green jobs and 1,000 businesses by 2025.

“We have supported Sustainable Ventures as they have grown, with early loans to their previous workspace,” said Danyal Sattar, chief executive of Big Issue Invest “This is a major investment for us at Big Issue Invest. As CEO, I’m pleased that we were able to match the scale of their ambition with our latest investment. The green economy creates jobs and our investment is supporting that employment creation, at just the right time for recovery.”

The County Hall plan will be a “blueprint for further workspaces” in other cities, according to Sustainable Ventures, “supporting the spread of green jobs and delivering on the levelling-up agenda”.

The third and fifth floors of the iconic building, situated on the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament, have sat empty for 35 years. The new plans mean thousands of green entrepreneurs and companies will be a stone’s throw from the heart of government. 

James Byrne, partner of Sustainable Ventures said, “The politicians haven’t done nearly enough, the next decade of delivery is crucial. The only way forward is to demonstrate larger green job growth giving the government greater scope to go further, faster, by supporting startups to scale their commercial success”.

The Environmental Audit Committee warned in October that the government’s “inconsistent” approach to developing green businesses has resulted in missed opportunities, and criticised ministers for failing to define what a green job is, despite promises of investment.

As the world moves away from fossil fuels, there are concerns that workers in fossil fuel-reliant industries will not receive adequate support. Research from think tank Class in November found the British public was overwhelmingly in favour of more government action to help fossil fuel workers transition to green jobs.

“Addressing climate change is not about whether the public want it or not, it’s actually about whether politicians want to do it or not. In that respect, the inaction so far is a political failure,” said Class director Ellie Mae O’Hagan at the time. 

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