• In an interview with Conviction News, OnePlanetCapital reports unprecedented demand to invest in the UK’s early-stage Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to maximise savings ahead of the tax deadline, midnight tonight 5th April
  • Conviction spoke Anthony Chant, Investment Director at the early-stage, climate-focused VC OnePlanetCapital to understand trends in the market and startups to watch in sustainable innovation
  • Read on for insights from OnePlanetCapital and watch for a full roundup of live opps and sustainable crowdfund campaigns at Conviction News

The UK’s tax year ends at today, 5th April at midnight and, speaking with Conviction, OnePlanetCapital reported a surge of interest in the government’s early-stage Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Anthony Chant, Investment Director at the early-stage, climate change-focused firm OnePlanetCapital says alongside EIS tax incentives to maximise savings there is also increased investor demand for impact-focused funds and sustainability.

Anthony Chant was recently appointed Investment Director at OnePlanetCapital to lead its flagship EIS fund. The fund Anthony leads is specifically focused on investing in positive environmental impact, including emissions reduction and supporting the emerging green economy alongside getting industry-leading returns.

Anthony said that despite urgent need to slash carbon five times faster than the current rate - and stay within the UN IPPC’s 1.5C - investors are up to the challenge. Beyond the UK-specific EIS scheme, Anthony also told us where OnePlanetCapital sees the biggest returns for investors and the planet.

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Anthony Chant, Investment Director at OnePlanetCapital

Image credit: OnePlanetCapital

Stock market jitters, low interest savings, what is the pull to EIS? And how has that translated to impact-focused funds?

We’re seeing unprecedented demand in Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) as a route for people to maximise their savings. There is increasing pressure from independent financial advisers (IFAs) for climate change-focused EIS funds as more people look for tax-efficient allowances to help their money grow, while also supporting companies and projects that have a genuine positive impact on the environment.

By unlocking the positive impact of early-stage companies as they grow, and choosing an EIS fund focused on the environment, an investment into the fund is not only an investment into our collective future but also a growth opportunity as the world pivots to a low carbon economy.

Is there a tradeoff for today’s investors between seeking returns and building a responsible portfolio?

It’s now clear that investment performance does not need to be sacrificed in order to tackle the environmental problems of the day, with UK sustainable funds likely to outperform the market over the short, medium and long term. We only have one planet and now it’s time to get involved and make a difference for our collective future.

What do you expect will be the highest growth opportunities for impact-focused investors in sustainable innovation?

We see carbon offsetting as a high growth sector in the short to medium term within the impact space. Companies are under increasing pressure from both policy and their end customers to move towards net-zero. This pressure is in turn creating opportunities for investment into companies looking to solve it.

Technology will have a big role to play in this, there is a steady rise of platforms and technology based solutions that are helping companies to offset their emissions. These solutions are already experiencing a rapid level of client interest as companies make steps towards carbon offsetting. One example of a company OnePlanetCapital has backed in this space is Earthly.

What other trends in sustainable innovation do you think could deliver the biggest returns for early-stage investors?

In addition to carbon offsetting, another area seeing profound change is that of consumer sustainability. This includes consumer-facing products, goods and services that help reduce carbon emissions and increase environmental impact.

We have noticed a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour with more demand for ethical products that are mindful of environmental impact. We have seen a wide range of companies coming to market ranging from zero-waste packaged groceries, where OnePlanetCapital has invested in Goodclub, second hand fashion marketplaces like GoThrift and Zedify in zero-emissions deliveries.

We have most recently invested in &Sisters and its range of environmentally-friendly feminine care products. Brands are learning that consumer taste is evolving and their product ranges and services will need to evolve to meet future demand.

So we’ve covered returns, what about the biggest potential for positive planetary impact?

Not only do we think that carbon offsetting has a high chance of producing strong returns for our investors, we also recognise the positive reach this sector can have on the environment in the short term. If the adoption of carbon offsetting is increased by these technologies, more investment can then reach nature projects around the world and in turn reduce net carbon.

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