A financial platform helps farmers switch to regenerative practices and helps funders offset their carbon use
Spotted: According to the World Bank, agriculture currently generates 19–29 per cent of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a figure that is set to rise further as other sectors reduce their emissions. This makes agriculture a major part of the climate problem. Regenerative soil management practices could help reduce emissions, and help farms become more resilient, but many farmers cannot qualify for the loans needed to switch. But now, European fintech HeavyFinance aims to help them.
The startup connects farmers with investors, providing financing and loan schemes for farms and projects in the sustainable agriculture space. The company’s platform scores farmers’ borrowing capabilities, facilitates transactions, and administers each loan throughout its life. Around half of the portfolio is currently used to finance sustainable agriculture, with a focus on conservation tillage practices such as no-till farming.
No-till farming, which uses a direct drill to plant crops instead of heavy machinery, is a particularly important part of increasing the sustainability and resilience of agriculture. It lowers emissions by reducing the use of diesel-powered machinery, and leaves soils undisturbed, reducing erosion. As less nutrients leach out of the soils, they require less fertiliser and retain more carbon.
The company recently raised €3 million in a seed funding round led by VC firm Practica Capital. When announcing the funding, Laimonas Noreika, Founder of HeavyFinance, explained that, “Tackling climate change must be a united effort … Food growth plays a vital part in the climate battle as a prominent global issue, and connecting investors with farmers and agricultural specialists through our finance platform can help accelerate the adoption of regenerative soil management practices to reduce carbon emissions output throughout Europe.”
Recent sustainable financing innovations spotted by Sprinwise include neobanks that promote growth in new areas, and the provision of carbon insurance to encourage investment in carbon capture technology.
Written By: Lisa Magloff