Every card payment supports a climate protection project, deposits flow into sustainably operating companies as credit – and the account fees equalize emissions: With these promises the Hamburg-based financial startup Tomorrow wants to stand out from the crowd of current account providers. “Banking shouldn’t cost the world” is the credo, it is meant literally.
The idea is not revolutionary new. Several sustainability banks are already active in Germany with a similar claim. The GLS cooperative bank, founded in 1974 with more than 242,000 customers, is considered the market leader. Tomorrow positions itself as a modern climber who finally wants to “get the topic out of its niche”, as managing director Jakob Berndt says.
Regulatory coercion and social pressure
“More and more startups are bringing together the topics of digitization and sustainability,” says Markus Duscha, managing director of the Fair Finance Institute he founded. You benefit from two trends of recent years: “On the one hand, the regulatory requirements in the direction of sustainability are increasing, and on the other hand there is pressure from society,” says fintech expert Duscha.
As a direct consequence of the financial crisis in 2008, sustainability banks experienced an influx. Today, the new awareness of climate change is fueling business. With their digital products, the startups primarily address young people who have brought the topic to the streets under the umbrella of the “Fridays for Future” movement. There is also a tailwind from politics. For example, the federal government has set up a “Sustainable Finance” advisory board, which is supposed to develop recommendations in order to develop Germany into a leading location for sustainable finance.