Impact investing — financing the economy of the future
31. March 2022
1. How do you determine whether startups’ business model has a positive impact on the planet and the potential for strong growth at the same time?
To do this, we examine the business model’s economic prospects for success: the size of the market, the regulatory environment, the competitive environment, scalability. These factors must convince us 100 percent. We also make it a point to get to know the founding team and get an idea of their experience and goals.
2. How do you define Planet A’s USP?
Our USP lies in the scientific evaluation of sustainability. For this purpose, we have brought two experienced scientists on board. With the help of their analyses, we can make well-founded statements about whether a company’s innovation is really part of the solution. As a consequence, we only finance companies that have positive effects in at least one of the following four areas: Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, saving of resources, waste prevention, protection of biodiversity. We calculate these positive effects in the so-called life cycle analyses. Here we include all resources, material flows and emissions that occur throughout the life cycle of a product or service. From the extraction of raw materials to transport and end of life. For this purpose, data from the companies are used, globally used databases as well as scientific studies. Our experts compare the results with values of reference products or services. In this way, we are able to accurately determine how high the ecological innovation potential of a startup is.
3. What do your investments actually do?
Let’s take a look at one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time: the pollution of the globe with plastic. 85 percent of the plastic ever produced still sits in landfills, wild dumps or floats in our oceans today. These enormous amounts of plastic are not compostable and are becoming an ever-increasing burden on nature and people — especially in less developed parts of the world. Our portfolio company traceless materials, a Hamburg-based startup founded only in 2020, has developed an amazing product that can put an end to this littering of our planet: a fully compostable alternative to plastic. It sounds almost too good to be true, but the product brings all the positive properties of conventional plastics, but dissolves again 100%. At the same time, it comes in many different varieties: as an alternative to hard plastic, as a flexible film or as a thin coating. These materials are produced from agricultural waste products using innovative processes. Compared to conventional plastic, their production emits 87% less CO2. In this way, traceless materials makes a significant contribution to climate protection and resource conservation. About Lena Thiede Lena Thiede is an international environmental and climate expert with many years of experience in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and in Africa. At Planet A, she is responsible for impact measurement. www.planet‑a.com