Nathan Goode: Green bank needs city business case

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FOR the Green Investment Bank to have a bigger footprint in the Capital, there must be a good business case, argues Nathan Goode

When the Green Investment Bank was created, the level of public interest in this once-in-a-generation institution was understandably high.

It was only natural with the government pledging to spend billions of pounds of public money on large scale green projects.

The campaign to bring the bank to Scotland’s capital succeeded thanks to an unprecedented collaboration.

But understandably, having won the competition, the next concern was how substantial this presence would be – would Edinburgh be anything more than a post box for the Green Investment Bank?

Edinburgh has thrived for many years as a complementary financial centre to London, and, thanks to the vision of the Green Investment Bank’s senior management team, this has to come to the fore once again.

The recent decision to locate the energy efficiency team in Edinburgh shows the bank has real substance here.

The GIB has recently been accused of using the Scottish capital as a “back office”.

However, anyone who knows the bank will see that this description of the Edinburgh operation is simply incorrect.

The bank has to stay plugged into the huge pools of capital that are crucial for the growth of the low-carbon sector, and these are in London. We also have to remember that this is an organisation that is designed to serve the entire UK.

The best way to argue for a bigger footprint for the bank in Edinburgh is to give it a business reason to be here.

And the Scottish Government, with the collaboration of a number of local authorities, have been doing just that, helping to create a large pipeline of investable Scottish projects.

I am confident that, as the pipeline matures, it will create the business case for a larger bank presence in Edinburgh.

• Nathan Goode is head of energy, environment and sustainability at Grant Thornton UK LLP