Thoughts for the New Year

This year flew by so quickly that I don’t even remember it starting. It was a a great year for TBLI and the Values Investing Community. It seems that the focus has shifted from the why to the how. More and more investors, wealth holders, pension funds, family offices, Next Gen, are discovering that they can use their investments to address social and environmental challenges and achieve a financial return.

We were extremely busy traveling in Europe and Asia, to help expand the values investing community. As a result of all these efforts, we now have two dates for TBLI CONFERENCE. The European Event will be held in Zurich at Volkshaus, June 12-13 and the Asian Event will be held in Singapore at SMU, Nov. 7-8. Save the dates.

Here is a small overview of our travels:

  • Keynote address in Hong Kong at the Asian Family Office Association
  • Extensive presentations in Hong Kong
  • Lectures in Beijing and Shanghai
  • Keynote at Social Investment Forum in Beijing
  • Bangkok presentations on SDG Investing
  • Family Office Event in Dubai
  • World Business Angels Forum Istanbul
  • Dutch Business School Lecture
  • Roadshows in London
  • Roadshows in Stockholm
  • Co-authored Book on ESG Investing published
  • Impact Park Milan Keynote address and Chairing panel
  • Family Office Wiesbaden
  • Keynote Shanghai Asset Allocation
  • Wedding Beirut
  • Chairing session London African SME Conference
  • Chairing Impact Investing Lunch London
  • Keynote Zug Impact Summit
  • Roadshows in Zurich arranging TBLI EUROPE 2019, ZURICH, June 12-13
  • TBLI Inspiration Weekend Scotland
  • TBLI Dinner Paris
  • TBLI Nordic 2019 Stockholm
  • Keynote in Milan for Global Thinking Foundation
  • Chairing PE Afternoon Lunch Zurich
  • Keynote Chantilly Global Youth Forum
  • 3 day road show Singapore arranging partners and date for TBLI ASIA 2019, Nov. 7-8

I need a long sleep. What was inspiring of all these meetings, talks and road shows was the passion, support and enthusiasm that greeted me everywhere. People knew TBLI and responded extremely well to the story and were all very complimentary of our work for the past 25 years. I always say we are an overnight success after a quarter century.

I want to thank Greta Thunberg for saying the Radical Truth at the COP 24 in Katowice, and reminding us that we won’t wait for the policy makers. If you haven’t seen the speech, watch it now. Go Greta!

Great Read for the holidays

This is a great book about the real life experience of living and working in Bhutan over a time period of 25 years. Rieki Crins tells the story of falling in love with the country as a graduate student and coming back many times to establish a hotel school for young Bhutanese. What happened next – see the title. Engaging and full of vivd stories from a time and place that no longer exist.
Order now. Perfect Christmas Gift for you, friend or family.

The Gift that keeps Giving – TBLI Foundation

If you have benefited from the activities of TBLI, I would like you to support the TBLI Foundation by making a contribution to our non-profit entity.   This will allow us to continue our educational outreach and provide scholarships to social entrepreneurs to attend TBLI Conference. For those that need a tax efficient channel (United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the United States) TBLI can offer that through Shared Impact. Thank you.
From the TBLI team, we wish you all an enjoyable, inspiring and prosperous New Year and let’s make 2019 the year where finance shows true leadership in dealing with Climate Change.

Overnight Success after 25 years!

In March, I did an extensive road show in Asia, visiting Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok. It was quite intense. Some days I had nearly 8 meetings, but definitely worth it.

What struck me the most is that Asia has gotten the Values Investing bug, big time. Nearly all the presentations that I gave, and the people I met, and executive briefings I had, were not about why, but all about how. It seems a tipping point had been reached, at least by the people I was meeting. They all were curious as to why there was so much interest and what had happened to spark this interest. What were the drivers?

The presentations I made were about how Values (ESG and Impact) Investing had become mainstream and what has happened in the last 25 years to change the mindset of investors. The list below were very influential , as well as the efforts of many building the ecosystem of ESG and Impact, including TBLi.

25 year Milestones

  • Carbon Tracker
  • Freshfields I & II
  • UNPRI
  • Equator Principles-50m – 10m
  • Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Montreal Pledge

The Asians all felt that the Europeans were way ahead of the curve and very keen on Values Investing, from the beginning. I had to correct that perception. When TBLI started, there was little to no infrastructure to lay the ground work for ESG and Impact. The notion that the entire financial sector jumped up and gave TBLI a big hug, and embraced us, is a myth. It was a long hard slog.

I remember this experience vividly.

When I started (late 1990’s), I was invited to speak to the Dutch Insurance Association about Climate Risk and Sustainability. I started my talk explaining that a country below sea level should start to be concerned about the risks that rising sea levels would cause. The response from the large insurance Companies present was, “It’s not a problem for us if sea level rises, we don’t cover salt water damage.”. One could be come angry at the low level of understanding of that response, or translate in their language. I chose the later, by saying, “That is true, but you sell mortgages, and if 200.000 homes are submerged in water due to seal level rise, which become worthless, you have a big problem.”

Speaking in the language of the person who you are trying to convince has always been key to TBLI’s approach. The moral imperative doesn’t work unless you show the financial risk and opportunity. Don’t shout loudly in German to someone who speaks Chinese.

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

George Carlin

We are all an overnight success after 25 years

TBLI CONFERENCES 2019

Meet the thought leaders and Investors in Values Investing. Join us for one of our TBLI Conference. All Asian Events are free for Investment Decision Makers.  

Great Humanitarian and Friend

A very dear friend of mine passed away this past weekend. Tessa Tennant has often been called the godmother of Sustainable Investing. She created so many organisations that helped build the infrastructure that we have now. Carbon Disclosure Project, UKSIF, Asian Social Responsible Investing, ICE (not Trump’s storm troopers) and countless others. She co-founded the UK’s first green investment fund in 1988, called the Merlin Ecology Fund. What were you doing in 1988?  Now everything seems so much easier with respect to Values Based Investing.

Most of us stood on her shoulders, at one time, to get to where we are now. People forget that. It is easy to ride the wave of money flows going into ESG and Impact Investing, occurring now. That was not the case in the 1980’s. We should never forget that. Tessa was the polite, civilised, passionate, determined, terrier that just would not let go once she got her teeth into something. I admired her immensely for that, because it was easy to give up as the forces against ESG and Impact were monumental.

My wife used to call Tessa an eco-warrior, but the way she pronounced it, it sounded like “eco-worrier”.  My family has known Tessa for a very long time, close to a quarter century. What I loved about Tessa is she knew how to laugh and have fun. She invited my son (Sam) and myself to her home (Glen House) near Edinburgh. It snowed the night, we arrived and the next day, she organized some make shift sleds (boxes, and garbage lids to slide down the hill. Sam and I loved it. Tessa loved to play games. She was great at scrabble, we never had a chance.

When she decided to quit her job and go to Asia to start the Asian Social Responsible Investing Association, I was happy that she had an important project. What most don’t know about Tessa, is that she is frugal (understatement). Lives simply and travels so light that she could fit her carry one in the back of the seat in front of her, where you normally can put your phone or papers. Never understood how she did that.  I visited her in Hong Kong at her “home” which was a shack on the rooftop of apartment. Few realise how simply she lived and how little she took for herself to achieve her goal of changing the mindset of the financial sector in Asia. Totally self-sacrificing.

In November of last year, she invited Rieki (my wife) and I, along with a few other friends to Glen House to be together. No agenda, just taking the time to be together and take the time for reflection. In contrast to most who respond when you say I am in town, “ok lets grab a quick coffee at Starbucks and walk for 5 minutes to catch up,” Tessa and Bill (her husband) created a welcoming environment for us to reflect, enjoy, chat, walk, eat, drink and just live in that moment together and be there for each other. From that weekend, the seeds were sown for TBLI Impact Retreat which we will hold at Glen House in Sept, this year. The response was so overwhelming, that we are sold out and plan to hold it regularly at Glen. At least, until Bill gets tired of my jokes.

Tessa was always a great guest, as she blended in, and participated fully. The laugh was infectious and she thoroughly enjoyed my Curb Your Enthusiasm, George Carlin humour. She kept prodding me to finish my book using all the funny stories and quotes, and I will. Most important. She made a lasting impression on me and everyone who took the time to know her. She was the ultimate mensch. A person of great honour and value, that left the world in a far better place than how she found it.

Tessa, I am sending you one of my best and warmest hugs. I will miss our chats and walks. I can promise you that the Retreats will continue and we are all in your debt. Many are cutting the ribbons for the photo ops, but it was you that dug the holes.

Your physical being is gone but your spirit will always be there and it will manifest itself often, when we least expect it. Keep laughing. Big hug.

Where have you been?

My apologies for such a long radio silence., TBLI has been on the road extensively this year, helping to build the infrastructure for TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investing) in Asia. In addition, we have been expanding our outreach to Private Asset Owners (Single Family Offices, Multi Family Offices, and HNW). It has been quite a journey.

From January to May, I visited Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Dubai, Istanbul, Stockholm, Milan, Wiesbaden and then back to Shanghai. What was surprising was the hunger for information about ESG and Impact Investing. It was as if a paradigm shift had occurred among asset owners. They wanted to believe that Values Investing could work, but needed more convincing.  Most of the talk was dispelling the Myths that Impact was charity, money losing, philanthropy, no good management, etc. Those myths were easy to dispel. Almost as easy as dispelling the myths that all PE Funds and Hedge Funds achieve 30%+ year in year out. Or all fund managers always beat their benchmark.

Nearly all were keen to better understand what is Impact and how can they move large sums into investments that look at all risks and opportunities.

I always said TBLI was an overnight success after 20 years.

With that in mind, TBLI will be doing many more road shows, particularly in Asia to further help build the ESG and Impact eco system. If you would like to host a meeting with clients and staff, let us know and we will be happy to speak at your event.  Contact us 

Forbes Interview

Devin Thorpe of Forbes recently did an interview with me. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

TBLI CONFERENCE NORDIC 2018, Nasdaq, Stockholm Sweden Nov. 8-9

TBLI Conference Program is nearly finished. Hope you can join us. We anticipate a significantly larger turnout this year, from last year. The number of Early Bird Registrations is much higher. If you are planning on coming, the Early Bird Discount of SEK 2000, — ends May 31. So register soon. 

GDPR Private Policy

You’ve probably already seen quite a few emails about the GDPR. Europe’s landmark legislation on data protection.   We have updated our Privacy Policy  to comply with the new GDPR requirements. We kindly ask you to read them and get familiar with the updates.

TBLI Special Events

As part of our capacity building outreach on ESG and Impact Investing, TBLI will also be hosting small, intimate events as well as collaborating on larger events for Asset Owners. Asset Owners may attend all Conferences free of charge. Service providers may register to attend for a fee. Dinners and Retreats have a registration fee involved. If you would like to join one of these events, contact us.

Save the Dates:
• TBLI Inspiration Weekend Glen House Castle, near Edinburgh Sept. 21-24
• IMPACT INVESTING: EXPLORING THE PERSONAL JOURNEY  London, 18/9/2018, St. James Hotel Invitation only.
• TBLI Dinners Paris October 30.
• Family Office Event- San Francisco, 12-13th September 2018, The Cabernet Sauvignon Yacht, where 100+ N American Family Offices meet Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-London 9-10th October 2018, The Dorchester, where 140+ London based Family Offices gather Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-Zurich 13-14 November, 2018,  Dolder Grand Hotel, The meeting place for 100+ genuine* Family Offices from all over the world  Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-Dubai, 5-6 February, 2019, Palace Downtown Dubai Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-Singapore 5 – 6 March 2019 The Fullerton: The Asian Forum for 100+ genuine* Family Offices and UHNWI  Invitation only.