Financing Climate Action Insights

By Laetitia Pancrazi

Featured image of Post: Financing Climate Action Insights

In August, Useful Projects held its Financing Climate Action roundtable with our insight panel members:

  • Alison Knight, Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Elliot Smith, Commercial Manager Energy Infrastructure and Regeneration, Peterborough Council
  • Mary Aladegbola, Energy Manager, London Borough of Hackney
  • Matthew Essex, Corporate Director of Regeneration and Culture, London Borough of Redbridge
  • Sarah Cary, Executive Director for Place, London Borough of Enfield

We shared some of the information gathered through our Financing Climate Action survey such as:

  • The majority of respondents have used tools to report on their carbon footprints and to assess climate change impacts. These tools have been useful in informing decision-making processes, delivering carbon savings and unlocking funding.
  • Other green finance tools and mechanisms were not used as widely, which offers some opportunities. Similarly, innovative delivery models were used by a few organisations with adversity to risk-taking cited as a key barrier.
  • Overall, the majority of respondents agreed that the main barriers to financing climate action were a lack of specialist in-house skills and internal capacity as well as the lack of continuity and consistency of external grants to fund larger-scale projects.

To complement these findings, we asked our panellists three questions:

  • How can local authorities build internal capacity and skills for financing climate action?
  • How can local authorities unlock financing for low-carbon infrastructure projects?
  • How can local authorities best collaborate to support financing climate action?

Our panellists have shared a lot of knowledge and expertise with us. Some of our take-away points include:

  • The panellists agreed that local authorities need to expand their capacity to develop holistic business cases. These need to take into account the total value created by delivering climate action.
  • We also discussed opportunities and challenges in financing zero-carbon infrastructure. Retrofitting existing buildings, especially councils’ housing stocks, was identified by all panellists as a tremendous challenge.
  • We also talked about collaborative approaches to deliver climate actions. There is a lot of intent in working together and governance frameworks have been set up to promote collaborative endeavours. Yet, this intent does not always translate into on the ground action. Local authorities are still re-inventing the wheel rather than sharing knowledge and expertise.

Insight report

We are thankful for the insights and expertise our panellists, interviewees and survey respondents have shared with us over the course of the past two months. The insights we have gathered from the survey as well as solutions to unlocking financing are summarised in our Financing Climate Action Insight Report.

Find out more about how we are accelerating the transition to zero carbon

Useful Projects put people and business at the heart of practical plans to tackle climate change. We build the value case, bringing your internal and external stakeholders on board to accelerate the delivery of high-impact outcomes. For more information on our GET SET ZERØ service offer for local authorities, see

If you are interested in learning more about this new service line and/or research project, or in getting an advance copy of the insight report, please contact




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