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 £187 million for more than 81 impact projects across 51 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 an opportunity to invest in sustainable baby products business Mama Bamboo. Minimum investment is £66. Mama Bamboo was the first UK nappy and wipe brand to be B-Corp certified and has been voted “Best for the World – Environment” by B-Corp for the last two consecutive years, meaning it is one of the top 5 per cent of all B-Corps globally for environmental impact.
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 grassroots 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 20,000 investors.
The site regularly features new offers. Currently you can invest in Aero Space Kinross through a fixed rate, unsecured bond offer over seven years. Minimum investment is £1,000 with a forecast return of five per cent.
Aero Space Kinross is creating an immersive new visitor attraction and education hub themed on flight and space exploration in the heart of Scotland, generating new, positive opportunities for the local area.
Like Triodos, Ethex offers an IFISA for eligible bonds.
Investing through Crowdcube enables you to diversify your investment portfolio, by investing in businesses that aren’t yet publicly traded, through an equity investment or bond.
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 WET Global, which supply sustainable and safe mineralised clean tech water systems to sports clients such as Premier League football clubs, rugby clubs plus major drinks bottlers. It says it is helping to reduce sugar in drinks, antibiotics in meat, and plastic waste.
Abundance is focussed on raising capital for larger-scale renewable energy infrastructure, having raised around £121.4 million for 50+ 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 – targeting returns of four to 15 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.
Abundance also offers an IFISA.
Risk warning: Crowdfunding is considered a higher risk than other types of investments. When you invest, your capital is at risk. Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest.