Stern to advise on UK’s £3bn Green Investment Bank

Lord Stern, who produced a landmark report on climate change, is part of a group of nine advisors appointed by the government to help 3i’s Sir Adrian Montague set up the UK’s Green Investment Bank.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable unveiled a group of nine advisors who will join Sir Adrian Montague, chairman of 3i Group, to counsel ministers on the establishment of the country’s Green Investment Bank (GIB).

Among the appointees is Lord Stern of Brentford, a professor of economics and government at the London School of Economics and chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Stern is best known for publishing the influential Stern Review, a report on climate change commissioned by the British government that drew worldwide attention to the issue.

Other members of the advisory group include Simon Brooks, UK vice president of the European Investment Bank; John Burnham, former managing director and global head of infrastructure at Citigroup; David Gregson, chairman of Phoenix Equity Partners; Melville Haggard, managing director at Quartermain Advisers; Dima Rifai, managing partner at Paradigm Change Capital Partners; Penny Sheperd, chief executive of UKSIF; James Smith, former chairman of Shell UK; and Bob Wigley, chairman of Yell Group.

“I’m very pleased that we have secured such an excellent mix of people”, business secretary Vince Cable said in a statement. “The group has wide-ranging credentials relating to energy and other environmentally important industries, hands-on financing experience and a deep understanding of infrastructure projects. We also have people with a background of starting up new credit institutions and managing a development bank,” Cable added.

The group’s first meeting is scheduled for September 6.

Britain’s GIB has been allocated £3 billion (€3.4 billion; $4.9 billion) in the budget for this year, which will serve as the bank’s initial capital until 2015. The bank will start investing in April 2012, when the new institution is expected to be deemed compliant with state aid rules by the European Commission.

“This initial £3 billion capital should enable the bank to catalyse an additional £15 billion of investment in green infrastructure,” Nick Clegg, the UK’s deputy prime minister, said earlier this year. The bank will target relatively high-risk projects and will prioritise certain sectors, such as offshore wind, industrial energy, efficiency and waste.

From 2015 or 2016 onwards, “and once debt is falling as a percentage of GDP [gross domestic product]”, the GIB will “have borrowing powers which will allow it to scale up its operations significantly at a time when the financing need is greatest,” Cable said in a previous speech.

Cable told Parliament earlier this year that the bank will have a staff of between 50 and 100 people in the early stages of its life and could be located in London, Edinburgh or Bristol.

The UK has set itself the legally binding target of reducing its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2025.