Every year in September this week is known as Climate Change Week 2020, with that in mind, today’s Behind the Idea features Clim8, known for being the only digital investment platform to help consumers invest in companies 100% focused on tackling the climate crisis.
CEO and founder Duncan Grierson is a cleantech and sustainability entrepreneur and venture investor and has previously built several cleantech companies in biofuels, plastics recycling, batteries, smart composites. While he has previously raised over $100m in venture capital for his other companies, his focus is now on Clim8, a company with a big mission.
What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally?
There are many Fintech apps launching into the market, almost on a daily basis. However, no-one has focused on the biggest of all our problems, one that affects every single person in the world, climate change. Our innovation comes via a state of the art, beautiful app that helps users to make a positive impact on climate change in an easy manner and making the best of their savings.
How has this changed over the past few years?
Many individuals have changed their lifestyles in recent years, by reducing how much they fly, reducing meat consumption and cutting back on fast fashion. But there is another way to have an impact, by investing in sustainable companies. For those climate “champions” that took the step and became vegan, stopped eating meat or are strict with their recycling habits, knowing that their savings can have an even bigger impact is the icing on the cake.
Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?
The COVID pandemic arrived at a potentially critical moment for us: we had grown the team to 10 people in an office in Hammersmith and were about to launch a crowdfunding campaign. But we adapted very quickly, successfully transitioned into a fully remote operation, further grown the team to a strong group of 18 and we have raised £2 million in seed funding. And we have just launched an amazing app in beta!
What Fintech ideas have been implemented?
The Clim8 mission is to move billions of pounds of investments into companies that can have a positive impact on our climate. That means out of fossil fuels and into clean energy and truly green, sustainable companies. There is an opportunity for a FinTech platform focused on climate change to achieve explosive growth.
What benefits have these brought?
Our product offers a richer sustainability offering than generalist investment platforms. We believe that to truly make a difference, you need active investment. Passive ETF tracker funds are not good enough. Unfortunately, some of these funds are what we call “greenwash” and contributing to harmful industries.
Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?
Transparency on the destination and use of individuals’ savings is a big challenge. We want to be clean and play fair with the planet and our customers.
Can these challenges be aided by Fintech?
Absolutely. Fintech enables solutions for smooth onboarding, information sharing and education. We have seen new financial products in FX, current accounts, mortgages and insurance going through a massive transformation over the last few years. It is now time for sustainable investing. And this is good, not only for the individuals’ finances but for the whole of the planet.
The world is changing rapidly and so are consumers. There is an increasing demand for sustainable products and services. Established businesses and governments across the world are taking the steps but not at the pace required. We need to move faster to save the planet from climate change catastrophe. Sustainable investment can have a big impact and also become an important Fintech stream.