Ecological and solidarity crowfunding

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    Crowfunding, or participatory financing, is a growing global phenomenon. It has changed the traditional ways of financing projects for companies and individuals. It represents approximately $16 billion in fundraising worldwide, including $152 million in France for 2014. According to the Crowfunding Industry Report, this figure is expected to increase in 2015 to a global total of 34.4 billion.

    As indicated in the Crowfunding Industry Report 2015, this means of financing has enabled the development of different types of sectors such as business and entrepreneurship for 41.3%, humanitarian aid for 18.9%, films and the performing arts for 12.13%, real estate for 6.25% and finally music for 4.54%. If ecology is absent from this list, it is because it represents only a small part of the total fundraising activities carried out by the various crowfunding platforms. However, according to the Global Footprint Network (GFN), the world has been living on credit since August 8, 2016. We consume more resources than the Earth can provide. In fact, ecological and environmental problems are growing. Innovations and projects in ecological matters therefore seem essential.

    Ecological crowfunding begins in 2013 thanks to the Ecobole.com website, one of the pioneers of participatory financing in this sector.

    Beyond a common commitment to preserving the environment, ecology offers long-term investment opportunities. However, they are not attractive because companies and individuals are targeting returns on investment as quickly as possible. By going green, crowfunding focuses on making your money grow through local or international eco-responsible projects, through the use of cleantech. Since 1 October 2014, crowfunding has been undergoing a reform offering residents a return on their loans for a maximum amount of 1000 euros per project. On the same principle, the Lendosphère platform collected nearly 300,000 euros from 462 lenders for 5 photovoltaic and wind energy projects. 30% of these lenders lived in a radius close to the places concerned. This contribution by local residents is explained by an allocated preferential rate that is supposed to stimulate their interest.

    It is therefore in view of the investment capacity that this sector represents that BABYLOAN and TOTAL have joined forces to create the first crowfunding platform dedicated to energy. This association combines BABYLOAN’s expertise in the selection of investment projects with Total’s experience in energy projects. Thus, some African companies find financing for their electricity grid distribution projects on the continent. In addition, GDF-SUEZ has created an ecological crowfunding platform called Crowfunding Green Chanel. It aims to accelerate the ecological transition in France through the development of wind turbines. According to GDF-SUEZ, wind turbines represent 4% of French energy sources, compared to nearly 35% for Denmark.

    In short, green participatory financing could be a solution to the long delays in return on investment. It allows individuals or companies to remunerate loans at a more preferential rate than that of the Livret A passbook savings account, currently close to 0%. In addition, the fact that companies such as TOTAL and GDF-SUEZ are creating crowfunding platforms testifies to a growing movement, with real potential for financial added value and participating in the ecological transition of industrialized countries such as France or less industrialized countries such as Africa. So it seems that each of us can be part of tomorrow’s ecological revolution, so why not you?

    Benjamin MUNHOZ

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