Fintech targeted by climate skeptics banks $37 million from likes of UBS, Commerzbank


From left to right: Johan Pihl, Doconomy’s chief creative officer and co-founder, and Mathias Wikstrom, chief executive officer and co-founder.

Swedish climate-focused financial technology startup Doconomy told CNBC on Thursday that it’s raised 34 million euros ($36.9 million) from leading European banks, including UBS and Commerzbank.

Doconomy, which offers tools to help bank customers measure the carbon footprint of their everyday spending, raised the cash in a Series B financing round co-led by UBS Next and CommerzVentures, the venture arms of UBS and Commerzbank, respectively.

Credit ratings agency S&P Global came on board as a new investor, while existing shareholders Motive Ventures, PostFinance and Tenity also participated.

Founded in Sweden in 2018, Doconomy works with the likes of Boston Consulting Group, Mastercard, S&P Global, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to calculate the climate cost associated with financial transactions.

Among the firm’s tools is the AIand Index, a cloud-based service for banks that helps their customers convert every transaction into its corresponding CO2 footprint. The index is used by more than 100 financial institutions in more than 40 countries.

Doconomy plans to use the fresh cash to drive expansion into North America and roll out new products, CEO and co-founder Mathias Wikstrom told CNBC in an interview.

“Going forward, we want to enable every bank in every corner of the world to engage their clients in the ESG [environmental, social, and governance] work of the bank,” Wikstrom said. “We see a connection between the E and S, the environmental and the social. We can’t isolate those two different streams.”

Wikstrom said he was “very happy” to see partnerships emerging with the likes of UBS and Commerzbank, describing it as an “alliance of the winning both money and intellect into getting this issue under control.

Politicization of climate

News of Doconomy’s latest funding follows the firm’s February 2023 deal to acquire Dreams Technology, a platform that uses behavioral science to boosts customers’ digital engagement and financial wellbeing.

Wikstrom said that Doconomy’s valuation in its Series B round is unchanged from the price at which it raised funds in its Series A, which saw the firm raise cash from the likes of Citi Ventures, Mastercard, and Ikea parent company Ingka.

Doconomy’s growth story hasn’t come without its challenges. More recently, the firm faced attacks from right-wing online commentator Jordan Peterson and his followers.

It’s not really hurricane season anymore, it’s fear season.
Mathias Wikstrom
CEO, Doconomy

Last week, Peterson targeted the company in a post on social media platform X, labelling it the “soft positive planet-saving voice of the worst imaginable corporate/fascist/green tyranny.”

The Canadian psychologist, who gained internet fame critiquing so-called political correctness, is a noted skeptic who described climate change as “the idiot socialist get-out-of-jail-free card.” He once framed rising greenhouse gas emissions as a positive for making the planet “green in the driest areas.”

Climate scientists say this is misleading, as it doesn’t take into account the negative effects intensified droughts, wildfires and heatwaves caused by global warming have on plants and ecosystems.

Wikstrom told CNBC that the situation concerning Peterson’s attacks on his firm “illustrates that we need to educate a lot of people.”

“Fear will lead to frustration and frustration will potentially lead to protests, and protests will lead to violence and violence will lead to damage done,” he told CNBC.

Wikstrom said that he hopes that the more the likes of Peterson and other climate skeptics keep “banging the drum,” the likelier that their sentiments will eventually sound “hollow.”

“Looking at what’s happening in Hawaii, in Canada, in France, in Spain, in Greece — we have the floods, we have the fires, we have so many concerns now,” he said. “It’s not really hurricane season anymore, it’s fear season.”

Climate fintech is a niche area of financial technology that has attracted heightened interest from investors, as world governments push corporates to hit ESG targets and reduce carbon emissions associated with their operations.

Michael Baldinger, chief sustainability officer of UBS, said the bank’s venture investment into Doconomy “underscores our focus on fostering innovation to provide the data and actionable insights our clients need to make informed choices about their investments and effect the change they want to see.” 

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