Berlin-based startup Plan A combats climate change through a fund-raising and education platform that introduces each month one campaign focused on one of six causes – wildlife, forest, sustainable living, energy, oceans, and waste.
Everyone has heard about the recent fires eating hectare by hectare in California. An increase in forest fires is only one of the many consequences of a changing climate. The effects of climate change are indeed drastic. There will not only be 200 million climate change refugees by 2050, but the Earth will also be warmer by up to 6°C at the end of this century. A thought that may attract people living in Germany but that is scary to countries like India that already face summers with temperatures of up to 50°C.
“There is no Plan B for our planet”
Trying to fight Climate Change is Lubomila Jordanova who founded Plan A. Plan A is the first donation and knowledge platform empowering environmental organisations on ground by promoting their solutions and raising funds for their implementation. “Each month we promote one campaign focused on one of our six causes, giving in-depth understanding to followers and donors of the issue in discussion,” Lubomila explains Plan A’s business model.
Asked how they choose the organisations and campaigns to promote, Lubomila responds: “One of the values we stand for is transparency. Before we select an organization and approach it, we do an in-depth analysis of the organisations’s activities, financial data and track record on the ground. If this step successfully validates the healthiness of the organization, we get in touch to find out how we can be of help. Of course, we are always excited to be approached by organisations and hear how we can support a worthwhile project.”
Ten percent of the funds raised for each campaign remains in the hands of Plan A to run the business. But their work doesn’t end here. “The whole promotion of the campaign is done by Plan A. This allows the organisations promoted on the platform to focus what they are experts on - fighting climate change on the ground,” says Lubomila. One of the many ways Plan A uses to promote the campaigns are events such as monthly documentary screenings. The next one (planned on February 7) is focusing on India, among other countries. If you are in Berlin, here is the where you can find more information.
The first Plan A campaign launched in the summer of 2017. It focused on planting trees on four continents with four small organisations. While the current campaign seeks to promote a more peaceful coexistence of communities in India, Cameroon and DR Congo with the local wildlife, the February effort will center on sustainable living and wildlife in Madagascar.
Not a traditional platform
What is special about Plan A’s campaigns? Plan A uses a very different language to speak about climate change. “We are driven by the idea that only through positivity we can empower people to believe that climate change is a fight within the human capacity. We speak about the beauty and humor of flora and fauna and how the very life on this planet exists thanks to its own interconnectivity. We try to be as informative as possible but also impact equally people who have vast knowledge on the topic and others that do not know as much about sustainability and climate change,” Lubomila explains.
Lubomila has not always been active in the environmental and climate change field – she comes from a business and finance background. She realized the need for better communication and action channels on the topic when she was doing research on climate change herself. “I couldn’t find information on climate change and sustainability that spoke to me in a manner that could easily convey the vastness of the issue and the direct consequences it could have on people’s lives today. I am not a scientist, nor an ecologist. What allowed me to understand climate change better were books and going to the places already affected by climate change”, Lubomila outlines her personal motivation to start Plan A.
After living in London for 10 years, Lubomila moved to Berlin to build Plan A and change the public perception of climate change. Asked why she chose Berlin, Lubomila explains: “What excited me about Berlin, was the mindset of the city and the prominence of communities here working on topics such as social impact and sustainability. The perfect home for Plan A.”
A global team for a global problem
As climate change is a truly global problem, so is the Plan A team. Lubomila is originally from Bulgaria. Berta, from Spain, is developing the partnership network. Nathan, from France, focusses on the academic side of the budiness - the educational wing of Plan A. Finally, Petya is working from Portugal. An additional 5 volunteers are helping Plan A on various other topics. Plan A currently works from betahaus – one of Berlin’s co-working spaces that promotes a community of learning and sharing.
A closer look at the future
The future looks bright for Plan A. Lubomila was recently distinguished as one of the 100 entrepreneurs to watch in Germany in 2018 by Business Punk. Additionally, Plan A is currently building an algorithm that will give data-driven answers on which problems and regions should the next Plan A campaign focus on.
Lubomila is at the moment also looking for funding to expand her team. “We have many people approaching us, but we currently don’t have the funds to hire them full-time – the cause definitely resonates with a lot of people. It’s usually the other way around - start-ups have funds but can’t find the right talents. We want to have the financial capacity to get them and many more involved in the fight for our planet.”
She also has an advice when looking for funding: “What you should understand when you enter the fund-raising game is that there are two sides of the discussion and both sides are thoroughly informed about the needs of the other side. The entrepreneur’s part is to explain why his or her story matters and why it is much more important than other initiatives that exist. And I believe that’s the case for Plan A.”