It’s a Wonderful Life.

We all feel that we are failures, at sometime in our lives. Things don’t work out, ideas or projects seem to fail in our eyes, or they take a lifetime to come to fruition. During that dark, seemingly hopeless period, it is imperative to keep the faith, eyes on the ball and keep tilling the soil. Shoots ultimately will come out.

Recently, my wife, Rieki,  experienced the ultimate Frank Capra “It’s a wonderful life” moment. My wife started a Hotel School in Bhutan, called the Bongde Institute for Hospitality and Tourism about 2 years ago.  She struggled continuously trying to get the school off the ground in a frontier market, with no funding, no infrastructure, no income, with continuous challenges and obstacles that she needed to overcome. Recently, she finally saw what she had created and what Jimmy Stewart felt like in It’s a Wonderful Life (Experiencing what would have happen if we didn’t exist).

To reward one of her best students, Kinley, Rieki decided to bring her to Amsterdam for an internship at a four star hotel in Amsterdam. This was the first time that Kinley was ever outstide of Bhutan. Kinley started working at the hotel and her work was exceptional. So exceptional, that one day a gentleman who was having a meal there, called her over and inquired about her background. He said “why is it that you are so good at your work in comparison with the rest of the food and beverage staff”. She said “I studied at the Bongde Institute of Hospitality and Tourism in Bhutan”. He said “WHAT. I want to meet the person who started that school”. A hotel school that trained its staff well and was based in Bhutan was quite a shock. It turns out that this man was a very successful hotelier, entrepreneur and had a large enterprise owning and operating 5 star hotels in Asia.

Rieki and the Hotelier met and he was overwhelmed by what Rieki had done and was planning to do next. He offered to take interns from her school, send equipment if needed, and wants to discuss collaboration on her hotel school in Bhutan, and potential hotel development in Bhutan. In addition, he was particularly interested in her next project. Building a working hotel school for the Governor of the Karen State in Myanmar to help the 100.000 refugees, and developing a culturally authentic and carbon neutral hospitality sector.

We are all an overnight success when we least expect it. Congrats Rieki and your Learning Exchange Foundation.

Sweden sets goal to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2045

Stockholm is the setting for our next TBLI CONFERENCE NORDIC 2017, Sept. 28-29. Come join us.

Support TBLI Foundation in building a Global Value(s) based Investment Community.

2017 Trump Presidency Cause for Celebration-Tipping Point towards Fuel Free Energy and Value(s) Investing

As the year comes to an end,  we normally take stock and think encouraging thoughts for the future. I feel extremely upbeat, in spite of hardships, refugee crisis, elections, referendums, heros dying, Syrian War, corporate governance abuses, financial challenges, and more.

Who would have thought that Donald Trump would become President of the United States. Well, in spite of losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million, he is. Among my immediate and intermediate network, many were upset, angry, and concerned that the progress that had been made on climate change,  would end. In addition, we would lose all the momentum that COP 21 set in motion. Fossil intensive investments would gain the uperhand. I don’t share that concern. In fact, maybe this is the ultimate stress test that a carbon free economy needs. The USA has a President and his team, and a great deal of Congressmen and Senators, that are climate deniers. The government seems controlled by those in the camp of fossil intensive industries. If we can survive that, then the system has turned the corner. I believe we have. Just look at the figures, even if Donald and Fox News say otherwise.

Coal companies have gone bankrupt (Peabody) or loss most of their share price, on lack of demand and low prices. Oil prices are at historic lows. If demand keeps going down for fossil fuels, how will increasing drilling and mining help the matter. That train has left the station. If we look at the state of fuel free energy systems, we can only see massive success that can’t be turned back, as that would fly in the face of economics. Trump’s team does seem to have some expertise in making money and should be able to do the math.

2016 has been a year of record low prices for low-carbon technologies. In August, a solar PV project in Chile set a new low price of 2.9c/kWh. The following month, a record low was set for offshore wind in Danish waters of approximately 6.4c/kWh. The third record to fall is that of battery storage courtesy of Tesla’s Powerwall 2 that was announced in November. The Powerwall 2 is nearly half the installed cost per kWh of its predecessor with an inverter built in, making it “the cheapest lithium battery for the home ever made”, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). To make matters all the more impressive, BNEF announced this year that 2015 saw record levels of investment into renewables and record installed capacity.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2016

How electric cars will cause further oil collapse?

Investment Agreements

The Montreal Pledge is the first agreement of investors that require full transparency of their carbon risk and exposure. You can imagine that very few have signed, as this is not an aspirational statement like most of the international ESG agreements, but a true commitment to de-carbonization. “By signing the Montréal Carbon Pledge, investors commit to measure and publicly disclose the carbon footprint of their investment portfolios on an annual basis.”

Want to know who has signed and who hasn’t?

Podcast on Corporate Governance-Wells Fargo Bad Form

Great podcast on how Wells Fargo forced its sales teams to force customers to buy products they didn’t want, which led to fraudulent practices. Unfortunately, the employees took a great deal of the fallout.

TBLI VIP Dinners

In 2016, TBLI organised 4 VIP dinners and they were a huge success. The last two we held Dec 6&7, were sold out. In 2017,  TBLI will be organising private dinners in various locations during international ESG & Impact Conferences,  for a small group of thought leaders (25). The goal is to support each other in our ambition of scaling up Impact Investing.

Speaking Engagement:

Responsible Investment 2017 Copenhagen March 2, 2017

Books:

Journal of Cleaner Production

TBLI Foundation

Support TBLI’s work on building capacity and educating asset owners and managers about liquid and illiquid investments in Sustainability (ESG and Impact Investing). Make a Donation to TBLI Foundation.

Closing Remarks

I want to particularly thank my immediate family. They have been a great source of strength, inspiration, and sometimes less so. One thing, for sure, they are never boring. Rieki, Sam and Silas. May all your aspirations come true. Let’s keep laughing.

Arthur stay well and hope to see you more frequently in 2017.

To my 90 year old mother in NY. As we say in Brooklyn ‘Ma. Ya did good.” Thanks.

As a sign of defiance in a world of injustice, let us all confront Chat and Cutters, and other abuses, as Larry David does so brilliantly.

Day off to Reflect

Every year on Feb. 9th, my birthday, I take a day off to reflect on the past year and the coming year and just chill.  I will be doing that tomorrow. Thanks to those who have already sent me birthday wishes. 2016 will be a year of great transition. Looking forward to each moment.

If you want to do something special for my birthday, give a donation to TBLI Foundation

I hope you enjoy this speech I recently gave in Stockholm. My dear friend Karl-Henrik (Kalle) Robert of The Natural Step organised the StepWise Conference-The Future of Leadership is Now. It was particularly special because King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden was in attendance. What was even more surprising is that he stayed to hear my talk, and enjoyed it. Thank you Kalle for the kind invitation and wonderful experience.

 

Friend leaving and Starting a New Chapter

Today is officially the last day that Iris Bune will be working for TBLI. After 4 years of total commitment, she has decided to move on and pursue her love of Web Development.

When Iris first interviewed, I felt she was perfect for the job of general manager and project manager for TBLI. It didn’t matter what curve ball you through at her, she was always able to bring a sober, simple solution, with a great sense of humour. Iris always looked to streamline, professionalize,  and improve the organisational  elements that go into TBLI   and the TBLI Conference.

She is a gentle giant. Her height and constant interrupting when you talk to her can be intimidating and frustrating, but she is an incredibly sensitive human being. Her passion about social and economic injustice goes further than just clicking like on Facebook. She really cares and most important is totally authentic. There isn’t another person inside. What you see is what you get.

I will miss the persistent interrupting me while talking.  I will miss our weekly update on the latest tv episodes like The Americans,  Breaking Bad, Shameless, American Crime and others. I will miss the laughing faces or lol text messages. I will miss her ability to be professionally critical of a new opportunity, remain totally dispassionate and sober, and  at the same time being able to laugh. Wherever she goes, she will leave a lasting impression. She has clearly left her mark at TBLI. I wish her the best, as she deserves the best. Most of all I will miss her.

Iris,

Stay in touch. If you ever need anything, just ask.

Big hug.

Your eternal friend.

Robert