C40 Voices: James Alexander, Head of Finance & Economic Development Initiative, on Toronto’s Innovative Investment in Urban Climate Solutions
Sharing good practice in city green funds is one areas of focus for C40’s Sustainable Infrastructure Finance Network. Following webinars featuring the cities of Amsterdam, London and New York, the Network recently hosted Julia Langer, Chief Executive of Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF). Julia presented the Fund’s fascinating work of using a small endowment to create, demonstrate and de-risk new financial products and financing strategies in order to mobilize private capital for sustainable infrastructure, and help Toronto achieve its ambitious emission reduction targets.
TAF has come a long way since the sale of surplus city-owned property in the late 1980’s, of which $23m was placed into a fund with the mission of advancing local solutions to climate change and air pollution. The revolving nature of the Fund has enabled investment of over $60m in over 30 projects since inception; $60m in energy savings for the city has been achieved with just three of those investments.
In recent years, the Fund has deepened its commitment to and leadership in impact investing. TAF’s theory of change (see diagram) developed by Julia and her team involves: identifying the sources of GHG emissions in Toronto (mostly in buildings); focusing on under-developed opportunities —> Read More Here