Show me the money!

TBLI has worked for the last 20 years to educate asset owners and managers about ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) and Impact Investing. Through our conferences, seminars, salons, private dinners, lectures, MBA programs, we have been able to build capacity and get “buy in” around sustainable investment. This capacity building is essential but thankless. There is no great ribbon cutting ceremony. It is about digging holes and not cutting ribbons. The process is farming not hunting. It takes time.

Throughout the 20 years of capacity building, I have always been asked for more research about ESG and Impact  by the financial industry. I often wonder will more research unlock more money flows towards ESG and Impact. I am not that convinced that that is the main bottleneck. The financial sector is quite predictable. If they see self interest, opportunity and money flows, they will invest. Does more research achieve that? On its own, I don’t believe so. It helps, but many investors use this as excuse for not investing.

Take a look at the financial crisis of 2007-2008. There were many reasons for the collapse. One particular product that triggered the melt down; namely, subprime collateralized debt obligations backed by financially unsound mortgages. How much research was done on that product as a risk? I couldn’t find very much. That didn’t stop the massive tsunami of money that went into it.

Research is important and it needs to be continued. However, we need to strengthen its impact by aligning with the drivers of the financial sector; self interests, opportunities and money flows. This can be achieved through continued efforts on research, seminars, editorials, investor salons, conferences, retreats, learning journeys, inspirational talks, private dinners, and other forms of capacity building. TBLI will continue these capacity building efforts on ESG and Impact  Investing.

Nearly all phone calls I receive from mega banks or institutional investors is not about the latest research, but “what is my competitor doing”. To paraphrase Rod from Jerry Maguire “SHOW ME THE MONEY”.

Help us increase our capacity building by making a donation to TBLI Foundation.

Be realistic: Path to failure

Whenever I have tried to do something that gives me energy or seems to be my passion, it often challenges the status quo. The most widely repeated comment that I hear from colleagues and relations is “BE REALISTIC. Don’t bother. It won’t work. Too hard. System too entrenched. It will never fly. You need to be realistic.”

WHY SHOULD WE BE REALISTIC?

Did being REALISTIC help Steve Jobs building Apple when Microsoft and IBM dominated the pc market or Nokia owned the mobile phone industry? Elon Musk could have save him a lot of time if he was only REALISTIC and not start an electric car company, after all others failed. Barrack Obama was not realistic when he went up against Hillary Clinton for the nomination, and was elected twice and proved that “Yes we can” was not realistic. If only Gandhi had been realistic with his civil disobedience, he might have gotten somewhere other than independence for India. If only Aung San Suu Kyi had listened to reason, her party wouldn’t have won the first free and  fair elections with 86 percent of the seats in the Assembly of the Union , well more than the 67 percent supermajority needed. Pity. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David  were totally unrealistic making a tv show (Seinfeld) about absolutely nothing. Then Larry David went on to make another show (Curb Your Enthusiasm) that was even more pointless, namely a show about the minutiae of daily life, with no script.

Do yourself a favour. Don’t be realistic. Laugh at those who laugh at your ideas. Tell them. Are your living your dream or your nightmare? I plan to remain unrealistic and fill this world with authenticity, balance, love, and humour. That is being realistic.

For those that still need encouragement to be realistic watch Wayseer Manifesto, by Garret LoPorto, a true authentic eccentric.

Report

Check out Investing for Sustainable Global Fisheries 

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