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frankly.green – the green Crowdinvesting Platform of Frankfurt School
FS-UNEP Centre / 23 September 2021
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Senior Project Manager, International Advisory Services
Tobias works as a Senior Project Manager in the area of International Advisory Services of Frankfurt School. He has spent years working on renewable energy and cleantech financing as well as the promotion of green businesses. He works on sustainable strategies for financial institutions and is also involved in operations at frankly.green.

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The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it clear once again: it is getting uncomfortable in the next few years. At the moment, we are falling well short of the targets we set ourselves in the Paris Agreement and are heading for irreversible damage to the climate. Global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius is threatening as early as 2030. Irreversible damage is already inevitable by then. As a reminder, the complete phase-out of coal in Germany is currently planned for 2038.

Everyone can make a difference 

However, it is not only politics and corporates that are called upon to act. Every individual can contribute directly to climate protection. By acting more consciously in everyday life – but also by investing own assets more consciously. That is why Frankfurt School has launched frankly.green. frankly.green is a new crowd investing platform for sustainable investment that enables private investors to support innovative, green companies in emerging and developing countries.

frankly.green combines the expertise of the FS-UNEP Collaborating Centres and FS Impact Finance and works together with GLS Bank as well as strategic local partners. This allows us to offer private investors a unique combination of impact investing and sustainable finance.

Only green investment opportunities are offered on frankly.green. We define green investments in terms of sustainability and environmental protection. A green investment must, directly or indirectly, have a sustainable positive impact. At the same time, it must be ensured that no (possibly unintended) negative impacts are generated (Do-No-Significant-Harm principle).

Why green investments in emerging markets?

With frankly.green, we have made a conscious decision to facilitate financing for green businesses in emerging markets. Already back in 2004, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, stated: “In Africa today, we recognise that trade and investment, and not aid, are pillars of development.” We strongly believe that investors can make a big and very direct impact here.

To this end, we do not use complicated structures or special purpose vehicles. frankly.green finances local companies directly and places a high value on transparency. We see ourselves as an interface between local green companies and small investors who value returns as well as sustainability and environmental protection.

How does it work? 

Unlike donation-based crowdfunding, crowd investing is generally about returns. On the crowd investing platform, providers, i.e. issuers, offer their projects for investment. Investors can choose their projects there and thus co-finance them. In return, investors “either participates in the future profits of the financed project or receives shares or debt instruments.” At frankly.green, this takes the form of a mezzanine instrument, the qualified subordinated loan. This is also being referred to as ‘equity-based crowdfunding’.

The crowd investing market has been experiencing rapid growth for years – but it is still a niche product.

Crowdinvesting Market – Germany and Europe 

This type of investment is certainly associated with risks: different jurisdictions, exchange rate, unsecured subordinated loan – to name just a few. Investors should be aware of these risks and assess them accordingly. However, the investments facilitated by frankly.green also offer great opportunities – both financially and in terms of the impact to be achieved.

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