A new law that would make it easier for cooperatives and community associations to raise investment for environmental projects has been tabled in Parliament. The Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill – dubbed the Green Share Bill – is a private members’ bill introduced today by Labour MP for Cardiff North, Anna McMorrin.
Currently cooperatives and mutuals cannot raise money by issuing transferable shares. Instead their capital comes from retained earnings or reserves built up over time, and various forms of withdrawable capital or debt. McMorrin argues the restrictions mean cooperatives finding it harder to raise money to invest, innovate, and grow their businesses, compared to private entities.
The Green Share Bill should make it easier for cooperatives and mutuals to raise investment to fund the retrofitting of existing housing association homes or the construction of zero-carbon new build housing stock, she said. Similarly, the approach could help enable the expansion of renewable energy cooperatives or the community ownership of water utilities.
The legislation would also place a duty on capital to be used to invest in environmentally sustainable projects. “My green share bill is an opportunity to use investment for the common good,” McMorrin said. “To effect real change from the ground up, not only for the benefit of our communities, but to help tackle the single most important issue our planet faces for our future generations.