TBLI Nordic 2016 Success










Our 32nd TBLI CONFERENCE  was held in Stockholm at Nasdaq, last week and it was definitely one of our best events. I want to thank all the sponsors, speakers, moderators, and staff for making TBLI NORDIC such a joy and inspiration.

This was the first, but definitely not the last time, we held TBLI in Stockholm. I particularly want to thank Nasdaq for hosting us.

If you missed the event, and want to experience some of the visuals, presentations, interviews and blogs, please visit Nordic Knowledge Centre


Hi Robert,

Just wanted to say I am richer for knowing you. Friends are important to me, and you are a friend.
The conference was a huge success from my point of view and from everything I heard others say. Congratulations.
Best, and hugs from Karen,
Arvind Narula
CEO Urmatt

TBLI Trump Award for Ignorance!

Look at this video interview about ESG Investment. Start at 135 seconds,and try not to laugh too loud.

Impact Platform

Impact Investing Platform for Consumers

Rabble is an impact investing platform that connects people with projects that strengthen communities.  Rabble makes it simple and straightforward for people – accredited and non-accredited investors alike – to invest in impactful ventures, real estate, and renewable energy projects.

New Books

Book-Urban Water Security


Am I cynical or critical?

From my last blog post, I got a great deal of feedback and some excellent comments that I wanted to share with you. Thank you to my friends, critics and cynics for sharing. Enjoy.

You are a lovable cynic. Which is odd for someone in a business fundamentally defined by idealism and optimism.

The cynic believes people are motivated purely by self-interest. [Synonyms: Sceptic, doubter, doubting Thomas, scoffer.]

Impact investors are motivated by outer-directedness: acting for honorable or unselfish reasons to achieve civic, social or environmental good. [Antonyms: idealist, optimist.] The cynic doubts their sincerity.

Each of us embodies tendencies of self-interest and outer-directedness.

Perhaps the root of your cynicism is recognizing the overly simplistic black-and-white cynical/idealist framework is inherently inaccurate.

Balance matters in life and balance is elusive. All of us balance tendencies in our behavior and decisions. Impact investors are no different from the rest of us. Their motivations are honorable, but investors are people, and people aren’t at their best when they engage self-destructive behavior.

There is nothing wrong with self-interest. People can help others better after helping themselves. That’s why the airlines tell us before every flight: Put on your oxygen mask before helping others with theirs.

Today, the aspiration of a 100% impact portfolio may be noble but unrealistic given the complex realities of the carbon economy.
Balancing aspiration and realism is an ongoing conversation. Your work is a catalyst to that conversation.

Barry Seiffer

Nice post. The return on rhetoric within the impact space is low… And the traditional finance community continues to misprice risk by 1) valuing liquidity events over actual progress–be it specific impact outcomes or even core operating revenues and 2) not looking at ESG and other sustainability risks meaningfully (or dismissing them…only to get smacked economically on the back end).

But there is a way—risk can be opportunity seeking…take a look at a couple pieces that we have put out on the concept–for corporate operators/enterprises as well as for fiduciaries and investors:
Risk and Opportunity Inc.: Managing Risks As Profitable Opportunities

Let’s connect soon!

Amit Sharma

‘Robert, you are a pain in the ass. I am a pain in the ass. Many of us are a pain in the ass. The vast majority of the financial folks aren’t yet in any way convinced that we are doing a necessary job. Just as we both experienced in recent gatherings even those that create products around renewables, are ego-centric, technology-centric, dollar-centric, financial system-centric. It all has to remain in the same system boundaries, because it’s their system, it’s all they learned, and they don’t see that leaders necessarily create masses of brave followers.

I have spend 5 years now in understanding the human brain, studied Beck/Graves/Wilber’s spiral dynamics, looked at Scharmer’s Theory U, understand Mindfulness…it all boils down to one single thing…the need for systemic change needs to be understood and grab these people by their inner self…one by one…and it’s painful…normally. This is why I co-founded the ThriveAbility Foundation, worked with my colleagues Robin Wood, Bill Baue and Paul van Schaik on the synthesis of sustainability (the original concept), design, innovation and consciousness. We developed the ThriveAbility Journey, the ThriveAbility Roadmap, assessments that help overcome the sustainability context gap, the organizational transformation gap and, finally, the socio-cultural leadership gap. We have calculated True Future Value as an ‚irrestistable‘ way to analyze companies and are about to develop a ThriveAbility Index, based on the three gaps, in order to bring the financial markets back home.

GISR is in the meanwhile covering the continuous improvement needs in the rating, ranking and indexing world, and Reporting 3.0 develops recommendations for standard setters, the accounting profession, data providers and new business model representatives on how to boost their own improvement to make the micro-macro link happen. That is my world, and it needs a systemic approach. There will never ever be sustainability without economic systems boundary change. And as long as that doesn’t change and people are forced to stay within the existing boundaries, especially in the financial market sector, you and I will remain a pain in the ass.’

Thanks for addressing this, and I hope you appreciate my honest response!

Warm regards,

Ralph Thurm


Please join all the sustainable finance thought leaders, cynics, critics and great souls who are gathering in Stockholm on Sept. 20-21 at Nasdaq

TBLI VIP Dinners Stockholm and Amsterdam

As part of our ongoing capacity building work, we recently held our TBLI VIP dinners in Stockholm and Amsterdam. I want to thank all the thought leaders, asset owners and managers who joined us to share experiences and knowledge around ESG & Impact Investing. In particular, I want to thank Janus Capital for hosting the dinners. It was a wonderful and inspiring evening.

I look forward to the next dinners and breaking bread with another group of inspiring people.

Are you Cynical, Negative, Positive, Critical of just a pain in the ass?

I was giving a talk at the Impact  Summit Zug, recently. The talk went exceptionally well and I got fantastic feedback. One friend, who recently left a major global bank to follow his heart, however, came up to me and said “you should be less cynical”. I thought about that and asked myself (love talking to myself as there are no interruptions) “was I cynical, or critical or negative, or positive or realistic, or just a pain in the ass”. The Dutch word for people like that is “lastig”.

After long reflection, I discovered that how people viewed me was a reflection as to where they were, with acceptance of Impact Investing. If they were authentic and truly committed to ESG and Impact Investing (Sustainable Finance), they found me honest and critical, but realistic and inspiring. If they were struggling with making the transition from “finance first” to “impact first”, then I appeared cynical or negative. Finally, the finance first, second and last group felt I was just a “pain in the ass who didn’t understand finance”.

I think I am all of the above, except I do understand finance. The question is what works in changing attitudes? Telling people that their children are ugly is not a way of winning friends. Agreed. What is the most effective way of convincing institutional investors that Impact Investing offers a wiser and more effective risk/reward by looking at all risks (social, environmental, governance and financial). Isn’t investing that benefits the investor, society and nature in the interests of all. Ultimately Impact is in everyone’s interests. The key is getting that message through.  Until I find that magic brain triggering pill to transform the financial sector, immediately, to a more inclusive and value(s) based, I will remain being who I am.  Whoever that is?

“Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.”

George Carlin

See you at TBLI CONFERENCE NORDIC 2016 Sept. 20-21 at Nasdaq. Watch this Bloomberg Film and discover why TBLI is holding its next event in Sweden.


$7.13 trillion private investments. 2016 Green Transition Scoreboard® report “Ending Externalities: Full-Spectrum Accounting Clarifies Transition Management

Rules Based or Principles Based

comI was in NY, with my family, to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday, a bit earlier than her actual birthday. She is quite amazing. Sharp as a tack and living by herself and completely taking care of herself (shopping, cleaning, and cooking) and us, of course. It was wonderful for us all and for Rachel, my mother, it was a mega treat. Thanks mom for everything, you did a great job.

One of the most insightful or special moments was going to the supermarket. We wanted to buy some beer which is a nightmare as there are hundreds of choices. Anyway, we went to the checkout to pay, and the greatest compliment and clear example what is wrong with America happened. I got carded. I said “what do you want? You want to see my ID to prove that I am over 21. Really. I guess all that walking and good food was helping”. Then I thought this absurd carding of someone who is 63 is what you get in rules based society.

Everywhere we went we were confronted with a rules based approach to everything. Restaurants that don’t have waiters but iPads to order and pay. Supposedly efficient but doesn’t give any advice and still asks for a 20% tip. A financial sector that is obsessed with compliance, when the entire financial meltdown was caused by regulated companies. An airport that is completely failing at processing passengers because their systems are about procedures and rules and not about what is sensible. A car service like Uber has no customer service to call. A primitive primary system for electing a President that lasts forever and a nominee can be completely disregarded if a group of super delegates decide. Paper cup holders to prevent people from burning themselves and suing the restaurant. Infrastructure collapsing all around until it actually collapses, then it will be repaired, and on and on and on.

Didn’t anyone hear about common sense. Principles based approach is values driven and sensible. What will work in the most effective way in avoiding problems. being cost effective, dealing with needs and avoiding litigation. Don’t worry, Donald Game of Thrones Trump will build the wall.

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.

Ralph Waldo Emerson