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.

No Budget-New Year Resolution

No Budget

A great New Year Resolution would be a solution to the cryptic answer given by companies. “Sorry, we would love to support what you are doing, but we have no budget.” What does that mean? How does someone create a budget? Where do budgets come from? Not complex. You fight for it. Unfortunately, with all the downsizing going on, especially in the financial sector, most staff don’t want to increase their profile by demanding more money, so they might be more effective at their job. The last thing most employees for large financial institution want is to draw too much attention to themselves, so most don’t fight for anything, fearing being let go with the next downsizing. The strategy becomes,  keep your head down and don’t draw too much attention to yourself.

My question is “how is that strategy working out for the employer and employee?”. Are you selling more, getting more clients, inspiring staff, or is everyone in defensive, survival mode. That approach will not bring out greatness of staff. Don’t be  afraid to fight for the tools you need to do your job or for things that should be done. Otherwise you are just coasting through and trying to achieve the minimum and not attracting too much attention to yourself. This strategy won’t help you or your company. “No budget” means you are not willing to ask or work for achieving that budget. You might surprise yourself by going for it. Perhaps you will learn that you are in the wrong place, or your superiors will be impressed with your initiative. Either way you win. Believe me.

Tribute Robert Rubinstein

Several of you asked me to repost this. During the last TBLI Conference in Stockholm, last week, my wife, Rieki Crins, gave me a beautiful surprise. In secret, which is not easy, she had been colleting testimonials from various friends and thought leaders. I was totally surprised and overwhelmed with such a beautiful gesture. Thank you to all who participated.

For those interested, you can find the book here. We have received several more testimonials since publishing the book, so we will update it. If you would like to add one to the book, send via this mail

The Weasel Coffee, Time & Innovation

When did a coffee simply made stop becoming a morning beverage or a drink to enjoy with friends? It seems that the choice of coffee has proliferated, with Caffè Americano,  Caffè Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Double skim soy latte, and the thousands of other flavors. Then we have the continuous search like Holy Grail search for the ultimate coffee beans,

  • Tanzania Peaberry Coffee
  • Hawaii Kona Coffee
  • Nicaraguan Coffee
  • Sumatra Mandheling Coffee
  • Sulawesi Toraja Coffee
  • Mocha Java Coffee
  • Ethiopian Harrar Coffee
  • Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
  • Guatemalan Antigua Coffee
  • Kenya AA Coffee

Let’s not forget Kopi Luwak made famous by Jack Nicholson in the movie The Bucket List. Kope Luwak is a coffee bean consumed by a palm civet (toddy cat) who eats the beans and then runs them through its bowels only to excrete them,  to create the unique blend.

I am sure there is someone out there who is developing a coffee bean that is grown shaded in the upper Andes or Himalyas, or on top of a warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. These beans are blessed every day by a Monk, Priest, Shaman, Rabbi, and beautiful music is played to make them grow in perfect harmony. After that, special hand held lasers analyse all the beans to check that they are ripe for picking. Following that a robot harvests specific ripe beans, which are fed to Panda Bears who swallow the beans and then re-appear with their daily digestion. These beans are then cleaned and dried for 7 days in special drying room that maintain the right temperature through solar heating. They are then roasted in a clean room where everyone is wearing surgical clothes and masks so no contaminants come in contact with the beans, during the roasting process. Finally, after the roasting, the beans are ground by hand in a granite mortar and pestle, by Asian women over 45, to achieve the perfect pressure. Finally, a chemical analysis of the ground coffee is made,  and then the coffee is brewed with the special Belgium Kings Court Coffee Syphon, to bring out the special flavour. Cost 100 US Dollars a cup, but the cup is not paper or plastic. True innovation.

If you ask any of the regulars at the Apollo Cafe from the movie Frankie and Johnny or any authentic person who has figured what life should be and the importance of humour, taking the time and empathy, they will all say. “Tastes like coffee” describing this unique blend mentioned above,  “but it is missing a soul. Frankie give me another cup of the house brew in a normal cup.”

I don’t share this constant obsession with trying to find “perfection or innovation only for innovation sake or just dying rich as a goal”. The authentic company you share, the time you take and being in the moment is what matters. This brings out the true flavours of conversation and company. Constant innovation and change just to be different, does not. Take the time today to call someone and just share a funny story or joke. Endlessly rewarding. 

Enjoy Frankie and Johnny

TBLI 20th Anniversary-What Now?

As you can see TBLI made it big on Times Square, thanks to Nasdaq.

Our 20th Anniversary, last week, was a great success. I want to thank all those who attended and supported us. It was a joy engaging with so many thoughtful, passionate, committed, generous, thought leaders. I was particularly touched by this testimonial.

“I admit that slavefreetrade did not attend with high hopes of making impact, as the 1% crowd is very different from the people we usually mingle with. But it was overwhelming to find that our work delivered what seemed to be clear emotional touchpoints for many investors. The ESG investment community is not one we had before the chance to mix with. Being able to bridge social impact work with ESG investing was breathtakingly interesting, refreshing and, frankly, very reassuring about the quality of people in general.”

Brian Iselin-President, slavefreetrade.org

For those that want to get an impression of the event. We have posted photos of the event, and will be updating our website with presentations made, and reports, shortly.

Going forward we have been working on several innovative ideas that will allow us to scale our capacity building work and mobilising more assets towards Value(s) Investing. Stay tuned.

Tribute Robert Rubinstein

During the last TBLI Conference in Stockholm, last week, my wife, Rieki Crins, gave me a beautiful surprise. In secret, which is not easy, she had been colleting testimonials from various friends and thought leaders. I was totally surprised and overwhelmed with such a beautiful gesture. Thank you to all who participated.

For those interested, you can find the book here. We have received several more testimonials since publishing the book, so we will update it.


Robert Rubinstein Speaking at Upcoming events:

ZUG IMPACT SUMMIT INVITATION- FAITH IN FINANCE- 30 & 31 October 2017
 
Prestel & Partner- Family Office Forum Zurich, 14 – 15 November
Program

Principals or Family Offices have free admission whilst solution providers must reserve a limited pass
Contact: office@prestelandpartner.com

I would like to be speaker/and or sponsor

 TBLI Impact Dinners

TBLI Foundation is organising 6 Value(s) Investing private dinners as fund raisers for its work in building a global community of Values Investors. The 6 dinners will be held in various European locations from Oct.-Dec,  for a small group of thought leaders (25 max.). The goal is to support each other in our ambition of scaling up Value(s) Investing.
You will enjoy the food, company and conversation. The location will always be warm, comfortable,refreshing with delicious food and wine.
Come meet your peers, in a trusted environment,  who share a passion of using investment to improve society and the environment, as well as making money.
The costs for attending the dinner are Euros 295,— (equivalent amount in Pounds, CHF, or SEK) Just click on the register button for the event that you would like to attend and fill in registration form.
Locations are:
October 11, Amsterdam-The Dylan Amsterdam
October 30, Zurich Haus zum Rüden
Nov. 9, Geneva Cercle de la Terrasse
Nov. 23, Milan Giacomo Arengario 
Dec. 5, London, House of St. Barnabus
Dec. 13, Paris, Cercle de L’Union Interalliée
If you would like to join us, please send email