3 questions to smart minds

Impact investing — financing the economy of the future

For this 3 questions to Lena Thiede

Planet A
Photo: Lena Thiede
31. March 2022

Our planet needs an economy that does not act at the expense of the envi­ron­ment. Planet A is a venture capi­ta­list that invests in green tech start­ups. The foun­ders are convin­ced that this is a great oppor­tu­nity for compa­nies and inves­tors alike.

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Lena Thiede Co-Foun­der and Mana­ging Part­ner at Planet A, Hamburg

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‑

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