Internship Reference: MANNGO01

Company Description:

A Manchester based Community Interest Company that delivers projects and advocacy to create a low carbon future. Its founders and associates have wide and substantial experience in community engagement, coaching, project delivery and advocacy.

Internship Position:

Carbon Offset Investment Project

Internship Description:

The Background:

In reducing their carbon footprint , organisations and individuals sometimes wish to spend money to “offset” their carbon emissions. This involves funding an activity that absorbs or saves more carbon than is generated or emitted by the activity they wish to offset. Usually this spending is a “one-off expense” buying something like tree-planting. However the transparency of the chosen offset activity and its long term governance (trees will typically need to remain in the ground for 100 years to achieve their “rated” carbon absorption) has undermined confidence in this approach.

There are existing schemes investment schemes in the UK and Europe, where citizens or organisations can invest (usually by buying shares) in community renewables schemes where the investment funds the installation of renewable energy generation technology (typically solar panels) on a school or community building. The technology generates renewable electricity “saving” carbon, and the income from selling the electricity generated is shared between the school or community building and the investor. A surplus is generated that after a fixed term will ultimately repay the investor their original investment. Investors can typically withdraw early and have their investment repaid early leaving more of the income to accrue for the community organisation.

The Premise:

Cooler would like to investigate the practicality of creating an investment fund where organisations made an investment (equivalent to the cost of the carbon they wished to offset) which funded local community renewables but whose income and repayment was returned to the fund for further reinvestment in similar schemes.

The fund would grow both from regular offset contributions and from income earned by existing schemes.

In this way one-time written-off offset contributions instead become ongoing investments recycling repeatedly saving carbon many times the amount of the original emission being offset.

The Project:

  1. To examine and understand existing organisations working in this space, and existing financial models of offset schemes, community renewable funds and for-profit investment schemes in the UK and beyond.
  2. To research and examine the type and scale of financial model that would support an investment structure such as the one proposed;
  3. To research and examine the different financial relationships and legal structures required between investor, fund and project, that would meet statutory and regulatory requirements in the UK and EU.
  4. Sketch out a plan for a pilot project that could be trialled in the UK to test the effectiveness of

Internship Requirements:

  • Interested in a low-carbon future
  • Grasp of financial forecasting and planning
  • Ability to create financial models