Founding Directors, Society Rules and Business Plan
Our vision and values
The founding directors of Ecodynamic believe that the biodynamic, organic, low carbon, sustainable community can both invest profitably in renewable energy, pay member investors fair returns and generate a surplus for reinvestment in energy, food and grassroots projects for community benefit. Our community benefit society structure comes from the long established co-op tradition.
Our founding team has significant experience in low carbon energy, finance, investment banking, social business, administration and community investment. We are committed to the seven co-operative principles of Voluntary and Open Membership; Democratic Member Control; Member Economic Participation; Autonomy and Independence; Education, Training and Information; Co-operation among Co-operatives; and Concern for Community.
Robin Evans, BSc (BIF), Chair. Treasurer of Tablehurst & Plaw Hatch Farm Cooperative; works as a financial risk manager for an international investment bank. Prior to this hemanaged a wide range of portfolios across multiple asset classes for German, Swiss and US financial institutions. He studied Biodynamic Agriculture at Emerson College in 2008. He is a director of the Biodynamic Land Trust . Robin lives on a farm in East Sussex where he and his partner have established the International Foundation for Equine Assisted Learning.
Martin Large, MSc, is a director of Stroud Common Wealth, founded in 1999 to develop co-operatives, small businesses and community land trusts (CLTs). He provided technical assistance to the Fordhall Farm community buyout in 2005-6, set up Gloucestershire Land for People CLT, and was the chair of the CLT National Demonstration Project 2007-9. Martin is also a founding director of the Biodynamic Land Trust, and facilitates co-operative, land, capital and asset developments. Martin is a director of Hawthorn Press, founded in 1981.
James Mansfield, MEng. Operations and development. Renewable energy consultant & Director of Generation Community. James founded the Green Exchange Network (GEN) in 2010 to focus on alternative financing models for low carbon community energy projects. He has conducted commercial research and feasibility studies for clean power generation across the UK and worked on utility wind farm operations. He holds a first class, M.Eng Renewable Energy from Exeter University and loves cross country running and rock climbing.
Helen Appleyard BA(Hons) FCA Society Secretary. A Chartered Accountant with experience in a wide range of organisational and legal structures.
Our Community Benefit Society Legal Structure and Rules
Ecodynamic is constituted as a community benefit society (CBS). Formerly known as an industrial and provident society (IPS), the CBS is a traditional legal form for democratic social enterprises such as The Co-operative, agricultural co-ops and many of the 5,500+ co-operative and mutual enterprises in the UK which are owned by 12 million people with a combined annual turnover of over £33 billion.
Recently, since the successful Fordhall Farm community buyout in 2006 by 8500 members investing over £800,000 there has been renewed interest in the use of the CBS legal form, because of both the growth of co-ops and the fact that community share offers enable communities to invest in themselves. Societies have the additional advantage of member democracy; they are owned and controlled by members on a one-member-one-vote basis, rather than the one-share-one-vote basis of the share ownership company model. So members can vote for the directors at Annual General Meetings. Organisations can also become members, again with one vote. For more information, see www.communityshares.org.uk
Ecodynamic Community Benefit Society Limited is registered with the Financial Services Authority, with the registered number 31937R. The society’s registered office is Painswick Inn Project, Gloucester Street, Stroud, GL5 1QG. The society’s object is, ‘to improve the health, resilience and well-being of the biodynamic, organic, low-carbon, sustainable community by providing an opportunity for public spirited people and organisations to invest in their community with the expectation of social, cultural and environmental benefits with the possibility of a modest financial return.’
Business Plan for Ecodynamic Community Benefit Society Limited
Ecodynamic has been founded to support the biodynamic, organic, low carbon community. Ecodynamic will acquire and manage a portfolio of renewable energy assets, through community share issues and project finance. Surplus profits will be reinvested back into biodynamic, organic and sustainable community initiatives. The society will be run democratically drawing on the seven core principles of the cooperative movement; voluntary membership, democracy, economic inclusion, independence, education, cooperation and concern for community.
Ecodynamic will pioneer an innovative model of how communities can invest in themselves for long-term environmental and social benefit. The society empowers our communities to promote and develop sustainable, viable practices within the core themes of:
- Land access
To achieve our vision, we aim to:
- Develop renewable energy projects using local installers
- Raise investment capital via share offers to our biodynamic, organic, low carbon community – locally & nationally
- Secure long term income streams via the Feed in Tariff Scheme
The Society will take a low-risk approach to investment and intends to only raise member share capital as required for specific project acquisitions and developments. This should enable the Society to preserve net asset value and pay a fair rate of interest on shares once all the funds required are invested in a specific project.
Ecodynamic plans to expand its portfolio of assets to ensure a robust revenue stream, enabling the society to provide long term support to its community. The primary focus of project acquisitions will only target renewable energy technologies with commercial track record to minimise development and operational risks. Projects to be considered for acquisition will be:
- Post planning, with full land lease and network connection offers
- Where the developer and principle contractor have strong track record
- Where the society is able to make a tangible local benefit
The society may also aid and lead the development of community projects if risks are deemed reasonable, and where the financial liabilities will not undermine the society’s core finances. All acquisition proposals will be evaluated, in-depth by the management team, who may elect a third party consultant to conduct due diligence if the project is deemed of sufficient scale or risk.
Money, except for working capital, will only be raised for projects earmarked as ‘investment-ready’ with the intention that a short lead time to generation and revenue phases will ensure an efficient use of investor-members capital.
The first acquisition, Croft West turbine is intended to be operational by April 2013, and will be the foundation of the society’s assets. Upon completion of Croft West, the society will begin reviewing additional projects which maybe suitable for acquisition. It is the intention that a second wind turbine, ranging from 250kW-500kW is acquired within a twelve month period from completion of the Croft West project. Here is the full Business Plan in two pdf’s: