Magazine

Sustainable finance: What role can crowdfunding play in the European Green Deal?
From the industry

Jul 23, 2020
ECN-Crowdcamp Panel: Why is sustainability important for the alternative finance sector? with Nuno Brito Jorge, Christin Friedrich, Filipe Portela moderated by Ron Given and Oliver Gajda

There is currently no way around sustainable financial investments - fortunately. Because they pave the way to a clean and cycle-oriented economy, which is the declared goal of the "European Green Deal". The fact that digital forms of financing such as crowdfunding can contribute to this is increasingly becoming the focus of the financial world. This is because they offer financing solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout Europe and also enable private investors to use their capital in an entrepreneurial manner for sustainable innovations. 

For example, the 5th CrowdCamp of the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), which took place from 10 to 12 June 2020 in cooperation with the consulting firm Deloitte, was also held under the motto "Sustainable Finance". Instead of a face-to-face meeting in Prague, the Corona event was converted into an online format without further ado. 

The focus was on the following topics:

  • Opportunities: A European Vision on Sustainable Finance and the European Green Deal
  • The Challenge: Making Crowdfunding Sustainable
  • The Investor’s Perspective: Sustainability, Transparency and Investor Protection

All participants, including representatives of European institutions such as the EU Commission, EU Parliament or European Investment Fund (EIF) as well as platform operators and sustainability specialists, agreed: Sustainable investments are not the future, but the present. And with success, as Martin Špolz, for example, as one of the representatives of the European Commission, stated in his keynote speech: "There is ample evidence that investments that pursued sustainability aspects performed much better than other investments during the crisis. Private investors in particular can benefit from this via crowdfunding platforms, as the entry amounts here are usually lower than for conventional (ESG) investments, which are generally aimed at a professional investor base. 

EVEN IN THE CRISIS, PLATFORMS SHOW POWER

Conversely, this again emphasizes the importance of platforms for companies that provide access to sustainable investment vehicles. This in turn provides companies with another way of financing their sustainable activities. This was also demonstrated during the Corona pandemic. Reward-based crowdfunding platforms in particular were able to provide uncomplicated relief in the event of short-term liquidity bottlenecks. 

"As Innovestment, we are very pleased to be able to help shape this future together with our partners," says Christin Friedrich, ECN CEO and, as Managing Director of Innovestment, representative of the German platforms. "We see that crowdfunding platforms are essential for the objective of providing more private capital for sustainable goals. Especially considering that an estimated 390 billion euros in investment is needed to achieve the EU Commission's ESG targets".

According to various studies, German savings and call money accounts alone account for around 1,500 billion euros. "This shows that the potential exists for the successful implementation of ESG targets," says Friedrich. "Crowdfunding is an important element in leveraging this potential, especially since crowdfunding and sustainable investments form a great symbiosis, as private individuals can thus contribute directly to the achievement of ESG targets". 

You can read the detailed event report in our guest article on crowdfunding.de.

All speakers and panellists in alphabetical order:
  • Zsolt Balogh, Director Project Finance and Sales, solar-konzept International GmbH, Düsseldorf
  • Coenraad de Vries, Co-founder OnePlanetCrowd, Amsterdam
  • Daniel Farchy, Equity Investment Officer /Infrastructure Funds and Climate Action division  European Investment Bank (EIB), Luxemburg
  • Luís Fonseca, Partner Mustard Seed Maze, Lisbon
  • Christin Friedrich, Managing Director Innovestment GmbH, Berlin, and Chairwoman of the ECN, Brussels
  • Oliver Gajda, Executive Director ECN, Brussels 
  • Arnaud Gillin, Partner Innpact , Luxembourg
  • Ron Given, CE Senior Legal Counsel of Deloitte, Prague
  • Jan Willem Grandia, CFO OnePlanetCrowd, Amsterdam
  • Nuno Brito Jorge, CEO GoParity, Barcelona
  • Ondřej Kovařík, Member of the European Parliament, inter alia in the "Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs", Brussels
  • Heather Langsner, Consultant Flatworld Partners
  • Filipe Portela, Managing Partner COREangel, Lisbon
  • Perrine Pouget, European Investment Fund (EIF), Luxembourg
  • Ira Saul Rubenstein, Partner Traficon Advisors, Prague 
  • Rafał Rudzk Partner Associate Deloitte Sustainability Consulting Central Europe, Warschau
  • Eva Sadoun, CEO and Co-founder Lita.co, Paris
  • Elena Ethel "Elly" Schlein, Vice-President of the North Italian Region of Emilia Romagna
  • Olivier Schulbaum, Co-founder Goteo, Barcelona
  • Martin Špolz, Head of the Sustainable Finance Unit in the Financial Services Directorate General of the European Commission, Brussels Pasi Vänttinen, Fund Manager GreenMorrow, Helsinki
bhp