AIB launches green fund for small firms across island of Ireland

AIB launches green fund for small firms across island of Ireland
AIB has launched a green small business fund of up to €75m (£64m) with investment management firm, Foresight Group in London.

The Irish lender is to provide €30m (£26m) towards the AIB Foresight SME Impact Fund to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) helping Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy, it said in a statement on Monday.

The fund is open to firms in Northern Ireland as well as the Republic.

The two firms aim to raise up to €75m for the fund, which would make equity investments of €2m (£1.7m) to €5m (£4m) per project.

Foresight, a specialist in green investment, manages more than 300 sustainable assets globally and generates power from more than three gigawatts of green energy assets. In 2021, its private equity funds created more than 500 high-quality, sustainable jobs across the UK.

Foresight partner James Livingston revealed the firm was looking to open an office in Dublin and support Irish SMEs across the whole decarbonisation agenda.

“Energy generation is just the start of the low carbon journey, and we need to change the way we live, work, what we consume and how we travel,” he said.

“We will seek to invest across the spectrum of the low carbon agenda, from companies enabling the circular economy, to advanced technology which supports smart cities, from enlightened consumer businesses taking market share from more environmentally damaging competitors, to the services companies that enable the transition to happen.

“We look forward to announcing further progress on the partnership shortly.”

AIB’s managing director of capital markets, Cathy Bryce, said the lender aims to make green and transition lending account for 70% of new lending by 2030.

“AIB is committed to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our customers to do the same,” she said.

“As well as taking action through lending, AIB is ensuring equity has a key role to play in backing the green businesses of the future.

“That is why we are delighted to be partnering with Foresight, whose strong environmental, social and governance focus will be invaluable to small companies with big ambitions to play a role in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.’’