Crowdfunding can be an exciting way to get involved with funding environmental businesses with the hope of getting something back. The following platforms offer equity stakes in early-stage businesses in return for cash, often in the form of an an annual yield – like an interest rate.
Crowdfunding is higher risk than other types of investment, meaning you probably shouldn’t stake your pension on it, but there’s always the chance you’ll pick a winner for yourself and for the environment.
Triodos launched its peer-to-peer crowd-funding site, Triodos Crowdfunding, in February 2018, becoming the first bank to do so. The pioneering sustainable bank has already raised more than £167 million for more than 70 impact projects across 43 organisations.
The website features a handpicked selection of environmental and social impact projects from solar projects to wood recycling initiatives to local breweries. There is currently a six per cent sustainable bond offer by sustainable veterinary enterprise Animal Trust Vets CIC. The money raised will fund the organisation’s growth and enable more pet owners, particularly those with a low income, to access affordable care for their animals.
Triodos also has its own Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), helping you to keep gains tax free – as well as Good.
Investing doesn’t get more grass-roots impact than the projects funded by Ethex. Together with its sister platform Energise Africa – a pioneering project providing solar panels for rural communities throughout Africa – Ethex has funnelled more than £100 million into 200+ environmental and social impact projects through 25,000 investors.
The site regularly features new offers. Currently it has a shares offer with homelessness charity Greater Change with a forecast three to 10 per cent return, and a 15-year unsecured bond offer with community energy organisation Heart of England with a forecast four per cent return.
Like Triodos, Ethex offers an IFISA for eligible bonds.
Crowdcube has helped hundreds of well-known companies secure investment, including Nutmeg, Mindful Chef and Moneybox. Crowdcube also supports a range of renewable energy and small social start-ups – from innovative plastic recycling firms to apps helping businesses reduce waste and energy efficient AI on farms. Fund the future here.
One current offer is to buy shares in Devon-based EMotive, for the development of an all-electric off road vehicle.
Abundance is focussed on raising capital for larger-scale renewable energy infrastructure, having raised around £121.4 million for 49 projects since 2012, which have also paid out more than £38.5 million in returns for faithful investors. The platform features a range of projects – from biomass reactors to wind farms to tidal wave projects with many targeting annual returns in excess of five per cent.
Timeframes vary, however projects can be very long term – up to 20 years, for example. Like all of the above options, only long term investors dedicated to doing good with their money should apply.
It is currently offering a five-year investment with electric vehicle company Iduna 2, to help it expand its charging infrastructure across the North West.
Or you could back Islington Council to build a cleaner, greener, healthier community. The five-year investment offers 1.55 per cent fixed interest per year.