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Crowdcube Blue & Green: frequently asked questions

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We have been receiving a lot of questions about our share offer so we thought we’d share the questions and our answers with everyone. If you have a specific question not answered here, we’re running an online survey to collect all the new questions. Click here if you can’t see the question you want answered below.

What is Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • The UK’s most widely-read and fastest-growing online sustainability magazine.

How many people read Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • 516,189 people in 2014, up from 227,781 in 2013. We estimate over 1.4 million people will read us in 2015.

Who reads Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • Typical readers are professional, affluent, 25-54 and well-educated, with a strong interest in sustainability.

How does Blue & Green Tomorrow make money?

  • In three ways. 1) Fee income from heavily screened sustainable companies in the form of advertising and sponsorship. 2) Commission income from similarly screened sustainable products and services promoted to our readers. 3) Fund commission from an independently managed global sustainability fund.

Who’s behind Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • Our founder Simon Leadbetter (EMAP, Fidelity, Prudential, AXA, Auto Trader, Daily Telegraph, and Daily Mail) provided the seed funding for B&GT and brought on new angel investment during the acquisition of its leading competitor, Worldwise Investor.
  • We have an exceptional senior management team lined up to work with Simon once we are funded, including a new Managing Director, Editor and Events Director. Together they have 60 years combined business experience.

How is Blue & Green Tomorrow different from other online magazines?

  • A unique business model blending lifestyle and investment content that not only explains how to invest sustainably but how to spend it sustainably. Our ambition is global and we have a model to monetise all reader actions.

When was Blue & Green Tomorrow founded?

  • September 2010. The 5th November 2015 will be the fifth anniversary of our launch. According to the ONS just over two-fifths of businesses survive to this point. We’ll be having a big party in November.

What is Crowdcube?

  • Crowdcube is an equity crowdfunding platform that allows investors to make two types of investment in unlisted UK registered businesses, Equity (a stake in a company) and mini-bonds (lending money).
  • In February 2013, Crowdcube became authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Equity based Crowd funding is a new model for raising funds for entrepreneurs. The ‘crowd’ pool small amounts of money and entrepreneurs are able to bypass Business Angels and banks, to secure funding directly from the general public.
  • The key principles of this model are that anyone should be able to invest money in a business and get equity in that business. Entrepreneurs with a UK registered company can showcase their business and investment potential to thousands of micro-investors, ordinary people, by uploading a Dragons Den style video pitch, images and supporting documents. These micro investors can invest in any business of their choice for as little as £10.
  • Crowdcube operates on the “All or Nothing” model, when a pitch reaches its target, the business receives the funding raise, if it doesn’t reach the target then no funds are taken from investors and no money is charged. A 5% commission is charged on a successful funding campaign. The platform utilises social media to a large extent to alert potential investors about the offering.

I crowdfunded you in 2014, what happened to that money and my reward?

  • Your generous support got us through the cash flow dip of a sponsor deciding to divert its investment elsewhere. We are trading profitably again.
  • You can take the original reward, or convert that support into equity. We will send the necessary paperwork in the coming weeks for both options.
  • As the people who helped us when we needed it most, we decided to hold the rewards back until we had launched our Crowdcube offer so you had the same opportunity as new investors to take a share in Blue & Green Communications.

What is the process?

  • The investment is ‘live’. This will happen in two stages, a launch to you, our registered prospective investors, and a public launch to Crowdcube’s 165,746 investors a fortnight later.
  • You are sent a link where you can register with Crowdcube.
  • You can then invest in Blue & Green Communications and other Crowdcube projects.
  • Your investment is only taken if we are fully funded. If we don’t reach the target then no funds are taken from you and no money is charged. The risk is shared within the crowd.
  • Become a Blue & Green Communications investor and share in our future success.
  • EIS tax breaks available in any investment in B&GT through Crowdcube.
  • You decide how much you want to invest; from as little as £10.
  • This is a high risk, high reward, long-term investment #investaware.

What is an EIS?

  • You can reads the government introduction here.
  • In a nutshell, The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is a series of UK tax reliefs launched in 1994. It is designed to encourage investments in small unquoted companies carrying on a qualifying trade in the United Kingdom.
  • Investment in companies that are not listed on a stock exchange often carries a high risk. The tax relief is intended to offer some compensation for that risk. The EIS offers both income tax and capital gains tax reliefs to investors who subscribe for shares in qualifying companies.
  • An individual with no more than a 30% interest in the company can reduce his income tax liability by an amount equal to 30% of his share subscription. The maximum subscription per investor is currently £1,000,000 per annum, yielding a potential reduction in tax liability of £300000 per annum (assuming the investor has sufficient income tax liability).
  • Securing EIS was critical to our plans as it creates an attractive tax relief for our supporters.

Motivation of investors?

  • Investors, “invest in companies they feel an emotional attachment to.”
  • In 2012, Crowdcube surveyed investors to better understand their behaviour. Investors were aware that most small businesses fail and they therefore spread their investments.
  • Their research highlighted that investor decisions are driven by the business’ idea, its market potential and entrepreneur’s experience.

Probability of success?

  • We have had £110,900 pledged from 102 investors for when the investment goes live. 16 others said they can’t say what they’d invest until they received the prospectus. Our target is £260,000.
  • Crowdcube has an audience of 165,746 investors who have invested £80,651,910 in 235 businesses.
  • Three recent successes on Crowdcube in our space have been TheCrowd who raised £450,000 and DoNation who raised £167,440. And on Seedrs, another crowd equity site, we have Trillion Fund who raised £537,880.

What happens now?

Risk warning and disclaimer

  • Please #investaware. Investments of this nature carry risks to your capital as well as potential rewards. Please read Crowdcube’s risk warning and disclaimer before deciding to invest at www.crowdcube.com.

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Editors Choice

2017 Was the Most Expensive Year Ever for U.S. Natural Disaster Damage

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Natural Disaster Damage
Shutterstock / By Droidworker | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/droidworker

Devastating natural disasters dominated last year’s headlines and made many wonder how the affected areas could ever recover. According to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the storms and other weather events that caused the destruction were extremely costly.

Specifically, the natural disasters recorded last year caused so much damage that the associated losses made 2017 the most expensive year on record in the 38-year history of keeping such data. The following are several reasons that 2017 made headlines for this notorious distinction.

Over a Dozen Events With Losses Totalling More Than $1 Billion Each

The NOAA reports that in total, the recorded losses equaled $306 billion, which is $90 billion more than the amount associated with 2005, the previous record holder. One of the primary reasons the dollar amount climbed so high last year is that 16 individual events cost more than $1 billion each.

Global Warming Contributed to Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, one of two Category-4 hurricanes that made landfall in 2017, was a particularly expensive natural disaster. Nearly 800,000 people needed assistance after the storm. Hurricane Harvey alone cost $125 billion, with some estimates even higher than that. So far, the only hurricane more expensive than Harvey was Katrina.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit, scientists speculated climate change could make it worse. They discussed how rising ocean temperatures make hurricanes more intense, and warmer atmospheres have higher amounts of water vapor, causing larger rainfall totals.

Since then, a new study published in “Environmental Research Letters” confirmed climate change was indeed a factor that gave Hurricane Harvey more power. It found environmental conditions associated with global warming made the storm more severe and increase the likelihood of similar events.

That same study also compared today’s storms with ones from 1900. It found that compared to those earlier weather phenomena, Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall was 15 percent more intense and three times as likely to happen now versus in 1900.

Warming oceans are one of the contributing factors. Specifically, the ocean’s surface temperature associated with the region where Hurricane Harvey quickly transformed from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane has become about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer over the past few decades.

Michael Mann, a climatologist from Penn State University, believes that due to a relationship known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, there was about 3-5 percent more moisture in the air, which caused more rain. To complicate matters even more, global warming made sea levels rise by more than 6 inches in the Houston area over the past few decades. Mann also believes global warming caused the stationery summer weather patterns that made Hurricane Harvey stop moving and saturate the area with rain. Mann clarifies although global warming didn’t cause Hurricane Harvey as a whole, it exacerbated several factors of the storm.

Also, statistics collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1901-2015 found the precipitation levels in the contiguous 48 states had gone up by 0.17 inches per decade. The EPA notes the increase is expected because rainfall totals tend to go up as the Earth’s surface temperatures rise and additional evaporation occurs.

The EPA’s measurements about surface temperature indicate for the same timespan mentioned above for precipitation, the temperatures have gotten 0.14 Fahrenheit hotter per decade. Also, although the global surface temperature went up by 0.15 Fahrenheit during the same period, the temperature rise has been faster in the United States compared to the rest of the world since the 1970s.

Severe Storms Cause a Loss of Productivity

Many people don’t immediately think of one important factor when discussing the aftermath of natural disasters: the adverse impact on productivity. Businesses and members of the workforce in Houston, Miami and other cities hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suffered losses that may total between $150-200 billion when both damage and sacrificed productivity are accounted for, according to estimates from Moody’s Analytics.

Some workers who decide to leave their homes before storms arrive delay returning after the immediate danger has passed. As a result of their absences, a labor-force shortage may occur. News sources posted stories highlighting that the Houston area might not have enough construction workers to handle necessary rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.

It’s not hard to imagine the impact heavy storms could have on business operations. However, companies that offer goods to help people prepare for hurricanes and similar disasters often find the market wants what they provide. While watching the paths of current storms, people tend to recall storms that took place years ago and see them as reminders to get prepared for what could happen.

Longer and More Disastrous Wildfires Require More Resources to Fight

The wildfires that ripped through millions of acres in the western region of the United States this year also made substantial contributions to the 2017 disaster-related expenses. The U.S. Forest Service, which is within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reported 2017 as its costliest year ever and saw total expenditures exceeding $2 billion.

The agency anticipates the costs will grow, especially when they take past data into account. In 1995, the U.S. Forest Service spent 16 percent of its annual budget for wildfire-fighting costs, but in 2015, the amount ballooned to 52 percent. The sheer number of wildfires last year didn’t help matters either. Between January 1 and November 24 last year, 54,858 fires broke out.

2017: Among the Three Hottest Years Recorded

People cause the majority of wildfires, but climate change acts as another notable contributor. In addition to affecting hurricane intensity, rising temperatures help fires spread and make them harder to extinguish.

Data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center and published by the EPA highlighted a correlation between the largest wildfires and the warmest years on record. The extent of damage caused by wildfires has gotten worse since the 1980s, but became particularly severe starting in 2000 during a period characterized by some of the warmest years the U.S. ever recorded.

Things haven’t changed for the better, either. In mid-December of 2017, the World Meteorological Organization released a statement announcing the year would likely end as one of the three warmest years ever recorded. A notable finding since the group looks at global land and ocean temperature, not just statistics associated with the United States.

Not all the most financially impactful weather events in 2017 were hurricanes and wildfires. Some of the other issues that cost over $1 billion included a hailstorm in Colorado, tornados in several regions of the U.S. and substantial flooding throughout Missouri and Arkansas.

Although numerous factors gave these natural disasters momentum, scientists know climate change was a defining force — a reality that should worry just about everyone.

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Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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eco-responsible
Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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