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BGF appoints Baroness Brown as chair of newly-created Clean Growth Advisory Board

BGF News 07.01.2021

BGF has announced the creation of a specialist advisory board to accelerate its investment activity in companies engaged in carbon reduction and the energy transition. The advisory board will be chaired by Baroness Brown of Cambridge, one of the UK’s leading specialists in the field of climate change and carbon reduction.

BGF has already committed £225 million to cleantech and clean growth investments and has a team of 12 specialists across its regional network focused on the sector. Investments include a diverse range of businesses, such as those that develop hydrogen fuel cells, maintain wind turbines, recycle organic waste, and apply energy efficient practices in building and construction. Recent examples are Cambridge Energy Partners, a manufacturer of re-deployable solar systems, and, a meat substitute manufacturer.

Mike Sibson, investor at BGF who is leading the Clean Growth initiative, said: “We are seeing the cost of energy from renewables falling well below fossil fuels, and one of our most recent investments in Cambridge Energy Partners is an excellent example of an innovative UK company which is driving adoption through new and ingenious technology.”

Julia King (Baroness Brown of Cambridge) is an engineer, whose academic career at the University of Cambridge led to senior business and engineering roles at Rolls-Royce. She is an independent member of the House of Lords, chair of the Carbon Trust and chair of the adaptation subcommittee of the UK Committee on Climate Change.

Under Baroness Brown’s leadership, the board will advise BGF on high-level sector trends and government policy, contribute to BGF’s investment strategy, and offer guidance on sub-sector trends and opportunities, so that BGF is better equipped to accelerate its investment and support the clean growth companies in which it invests.

Stephen Welton, executive chairman of BGF said: “A significant element of the UK’s economic recovery is the imperative to build a green recovery, and BGF is determined to play its part in this. BGF is already a large investor having backed over 20 companies in the field of cleantech and clean growth, but has ambitions to do far more, leveraging its unique regional footprint of 16 local offices and its position as the UK’s largest investor in the Growth Economy.

“An immediate objective is to ramp investment from currently 10% of all BGF does to 20%, recognising that in time every business will have to have a very clear way to address climate change. Collectively that will make a difference. The advisory board will play a key role in our mission to become a major contributor to the UK’s net zero goals through the provision of equity capital to a wide range ambitious and innovative companies, and we are delighted to have Baroness Brown on board to help lead our strategic thinking in this area,”

Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge and Chair of the BGF clean growth board, said: “The change to a net zero economy will not be easy and all elements of our society and economy need to contribute powerfully to enable the UK to reach its targets.  Backing the brightest businesses and those with innovative technologies and solutions is a vital part of the eco-system.  Substantial commitment is required from funding providers, and I am delighted to be joining BGF to Chair its Advisory Board.  BGF has already demonstrated its desire to support the many businesses which are contributing to our net zero targets, and I am looking forward to helping them to accelerate their activity in this area.”

This year marks a decade of growth for BGF, which has invested over £2.5 billion in more than 400 growth economy companies since it was set up in 2011. Today it is the most active growth capital investor in the UK, making more than an investment a week.

To celebrate a decade in business, BGF, in partnership with The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC), a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, has announced it will plant 10 trees for every new business it backs in 2021 and for every follow-on investment that it makes into an existing portfolio company. Given rapid growth in the last few months that it could see over 1,000 trees being planted this year.