Our approach to Just Transition finance

The scale of change required for net zero will depend on sustained, collective action across our society.

  • Eco money icon

    The role of investment

    The transition to an environmentally sustainable society is the defining challenge of the 21st century. In the UK alone, an estimated £1.4 trillion investment is needed to get to net zero emissions by 2050.

    The UK’s social investment sector has grown rapidly over the last decade to play a crucial role in connecting government, private capital, enterprises and communities to tackle entrenched social issues.

  • Planet hands icon

    Our role so far

    Close to a third of Big Society Capital’s investments have had dual environmental and social impact goals – what we’d class as ‘Just Transition Investments’.

    We see rapid growth under this theme and are keen to collaborate with partners managers who are also looking at solutions/ business models for investing in a Just Transition.

Decarbonising social and affordable housing

57% of England’s population live in 15m homes rated EP D or worse, resulting in fuel poverty for over 3 million households. Housing association are a crucial part of the solution, but struggle with funding and an immature supply chain. Public funding of up to £6bn is available, but private capital must step in to meet the £104bn required to upgrade 2.7m social and affordable homes to EPC C.

AgilityEco is a leading provider of fuel poverty, energy efficiency and low-carbon services across the UK.

Case study

Social sector and small and medium enterprise (SME) net zero

Social organisations are well-placed to deliver net zero services and generate new revenue streams, however they often struggle to access capital. More broadly £2.5bn of loan requests to fund commercial solar and batteries were not completed or rejected in 2023.  We are exploring finance solutions for retrofitting community buildings, installing solar generation and energy storage, and energy saving advice and services for SMEs, as well as exploring ways they can scale up local net zero provision.

The Energy Resilience fund aims to support 100 organisations to access financial and technical support to install energy saving measures or renewable energy generation technology.

Case study
Net zero istock

Green, community led infrastructure

Community energy schemes generate 12 times the local economic value of commercial energy and have funded fuel poverty work yielding a 9:1 social return on investment. However, community energy generates only 0.5% of the UK’s electricity. With the right capital investment, the community energy sector has capacity to grow twentyfold in ten years. We are exploring investment opportunities that build on BSC’s work financing close to half of the community sector to date.

CORE Partners (“CORE”) is a partnership between Power to Change and Big Society Capital which originally invested in eight solar farms with a combined capacity of c. 40MW. Last year the solar assets where transferred to into community ownership via a junior loan and community shares.

A collective journey to net-zero

The concept of a Just Transition, referring to a transition to a world of net zero carbon that is inclusive and beneficial to society, has gained momentum over the last ten years, becoming a priority for Governments, social organisations, businesses and investors. 

Find out more about Just Transition and the role of social investment:

Read more

Looking ahead

We are looking for ideas and insights in all these areas, and also seeking feedback on other issues that the social investment market should be prioritising.

Please get in touch with the team if you would like to find out more, share your thoughts, or explore ways to partner with us.