More support needed for London’s green start-ups

A climate tech hub created thanks to a £1.45million cash injection from Lambeth Council is already 97% full, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Panels in the workspace have been crafted using waste beetroot and orange peel (credit Sustainable Ventures)
Panels in the workspace have been crafted using waste beetroot and orange peel (credit Sustainable Ventures)

The company behind Europe’s largest climate tech hub has urged greater investment from London’s councils in green start-ups.

The hub consists of a vast shared workspace for sustainable businesses in County Hall, opposite the Houses of Parliament.

Run by Sustainable Ventures, a company providing expert advice and grant support to green technology start-ups and entrepreneurs, the facility was created thanks to a £1.45million cash injection from Lambeth Council. It opened in July 2023 and is already at 97% capacity.

The company says that the workspace – which also benefitted from £3.4m from Big Issue Invest – has now become the largest climate tech cluster in Europe.

Among the more than 100 start-ups hosted at the facility are Earthshot Prize 2023 finalist ENSO, who make electric vehicle tyres which shed fewer harmful particles during travel, and Packamama, who make flat wine bottles which pack more efficiently to save energy.

The workspace was visited in October last year by the Prince of Wales, who called it “amazing, and shows if we put our minds to something what we can discover”.

Sustainable Ventures’ managing partner, Andrew Wordsworth, said: “Lambeth Council is the gold standard of climate tech partnerships – we’ve created impact faster thanks to them.

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“I’d urge all other councils to look at the example set by Lambeth: develop a sustainability strategy and create green jobs.”

The facility has itself been crafted using several sustainable materials, including the use of lamp shades made from discarded coffee cups and panels made from waste beetroot and orange peel.

Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, Lambeth’s cabinet member for inclusive economy and equalities, said: “The partnership between Lambeth Council and Sustainable Ventures has created lots of opportunities in the borough and really highlights Lambeth’s commitment to fostering climate tech innovation and sustainable solutions.

“Sustainable Ventures is the perfect partner to deliver on this, being Europe’s largest climate tech hub… Through our support we greatly increase the opportunity for growth of these start-ups – and as a result bring more investment and job opportunities into the borough.”

Lambeth was the first borough in London to declare a climate emergency, doing so in January 2019. The vast majority of the capital’s councils have since followed.

The council has set itself several goals as it aims to become a ‘net zero compatible’ organisation by 2030. This includes every council home in the borough having its loft insulated by the end of the decade, and for 100% of the energy consumed by council-owned and operated buildings to be generated from renewable sources.

At a London-wide level, mayor Sadiq Khan launched a Green Finance Fund last year, which will lend up to £500m to projects that help the capital meet its net zero ambitions. One scheme to have benefitted from the funding is the installation of a ‘solar membrane’ on the roof of the London Stadium in the Olympic Park.

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