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Open letter: banks, VCs & infrastructure investors on financing climate action with impact

Investors, 2023 Tue, 13 June 2023

Trillions of investment dollars are earmarked to the climate transition. But despite the efforts of countless actors, very little is invested where it matters. Together, we form a coalition of visionary banks, infrastructure investors, and venture capital funds that are committed to scale the right solution. 

The global demand for green urban infrastructure funding stands at a staggering €4.1-5 trillion per year. Only €355 billion is currently being supplied annually, equivalent to just one out of every ten dollars needed. This discrepancy is a major hindrance to climate resilience. 

Frameworks and rules, both in public and private, remain fragmented, impeding collaboration at scale. The languages between the sectors are worlds apart, the systems' used are not mergeable. 

“We are halfway to 2030. If we want to actually change the world, we need to change the way it is financed.”
- Marie Ekeland, Founder, 2050 

Various frameworks have been presented by influential bodies like the WorldBank, C40, EU, ICLEI, and the United Nations to add oil to the machinery. There are alliances, conferences, research agendas and new commitments. But a true game-changer is yet to emerge. 

“The climate transition is a responsibility for all of society, including cities and local governments, and their investments today will have effects for generations to come. Local governments worldwide are in need of a systematic tool for bridging their climate actions with available capital in order to speed up the transition into greener cities.”
- Kristina Söderberg, Investment Manager, SEB Greentech VC


Our search for a solution
Determined to bridge the gap, we embarked on a mission to find a solution that overcame these impediments. We found it in an unexpected place – a Swedish tech startup. 

It's ClimateView. Their platform, ClimateOS, allows city officials to translate qualitative plans to the quantitative data needed to measure impacts, calculate cost and co-benefits, help issue instruments and report on investments. 

“We see that governments and cities are eager to reach net zero. But coordinating such a broad range of stakeholders is a near impossible task, and the local capacity to tackle the financing challenge is falling short. ClimateView has developed a unique, dynamic and transparent platform for cities to model, plan and finance their emissions cuts. It is our first investment within the climate finance and management space, and we strongly believe that the product – and the fantastic team behind it – will make a significant contribution to accelerating the transition in cities.”
– Kristian Melhuus, Partner, Sandwater

Across the world, cities face an unprecedented investment challenge with a tight timeline. The first step is securing the support of investors. For banks, lenders and financiers, the key lies in the accountable use of resources.

"When raising green financial instruments, it is crucial to report on the environmental and financial aspects, showing the effective allocation of funds. ClimateView emerges as the solution for verification. With ClimateView, we tap into existing data to drive transparency and maximize impact."
- Paul Morgenthaler, Managing Partner, CommerzVentures

What’s more, even when cities have access to funding, the big picture – with the tradeoffs and co-benefits – is often missing. This puts the dollars at risk of being ineffective.

A coalition of investors

Together, we form a coalition of financial arms of visionary banks, infrastructure investors, and venture capital funds that are committed to making a difference. We are based across Europe, from France, to Germany, to Norway and Sweden. 

The lead investor in ClimateView is 2050, with participation from 115K (La Banque Postale), Sandwater, and PolarStructure. The existing investors, CommerzVentures, NordicNinja, SEB Greentech VC and Norrsken VC, and Hampus Jakobsson, and Daniel Sachs are investing this time again. 

“Many climate goals have been set, and requirements established  – but few tools are available. Implementation is missing. ClimateView develops an interoperable solution that bridges the gap between local governments and climate financing. Think of it like this: Instead of actors learning a new financial language, actors can use a Google Translate to talk to each other. That is why we believe investing in them can put revolutionary potential in motion.”
–  Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner, NordicNinja

Many of us work closely with local governments. Cities, home to the majority of the world’s population, most emissions and two thirds of global energy use – in need of uninterrupted supply – are key to the transition. But cities lack capacity today and rely on qualitative descriptions, while the nature of large-scale investments and financial planning needs quantitative data.

“We see how local governments in France and Europe need to have quantitative data to raise funds. Through this investment in ClimateView, we actively support cities in taking impactful climate action. The company simplifies cost-benefit analysis, forecasting and financial reporting for cities, enabling them to forge stronger partnerships with banks and financial institutions to identify and invest in local and long-term projects.”
- Laure de Buyer, Investment Manager at 115K - the VC fund of La Banque Postale

Investing in impact levers
In essence, ourselves and ClimateView share the same goal: enabling society to run the projects needed for a climate neutral future. Cities are the key player in climate action, but we see how they lack the technical and fiscal capacity. Planning the transformative projects needed for a zero carbon economy has been difficult – with insecure return on investments and limited options for diversified budgets. 

"The green transition is group work that needs better tools. At Polar Structure, we provide solutions to transforming cities and communities, focusing on transportation and the green transition. Our infrastructure portfolio contains private companies with their eyes on city climate action. The fact that ClimateView provides data-backed insights and a platform to plan for the long term has huge potential to solve a practical problem for cities and their stakeholders, including the private companies involved in the transition. We're excited to back these efforts, where the best of vision and pragmatism come to life." 
- Tobias Emanuelsson, Founder and CEO, Polar Structure

ClimateView enables an entire city’s climate plan to be rooted in a certain level of measurability from the outset. This makes the step to finance a shorter step. 


“What we are funding is a big idea. It's about supporting a transformative solution that can change the way we finance climate action. The majority of the world’s population lives in cities, and as impact investors, we’re looking for “impact unicorns” – companies that are able to reach 1bn valuations and have a positive effect on 1bn lives.”

- Tove Larsson, General Partner, Norrsken VC

At COP 28, aligning finance flows toward low emission and climate resilient development will be one of the main conversations. We hope that soon the conversation can move from discussing theory (how to finance) to making decisions in practice (what to finance). ClimateView is making these decisions data-driven at scale. 

This is only the beginning of rethinking finance. 

We’re excited to see what the future holds.

2050 - Marie Ekeland, Founder
SEB Greentech VC - Kristina Söderberg, Investment Manager
Sandwater - Kristian Melhuus, Partner
CommerzVentures - Paul Morgenthaler, Managing Partner
NordicNinja - Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner
115K (the VC fund of La Banque Postale) - Laure de Buyer, Investment Manager
Polar Structure - Tobias Emanuelsson, Founder and CEO
Norrsken VC - Tove Larsson, General Partner