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.

Empty Gestures

I am a huge fan of the tv show Curb Your Enthusiasm. The star and writer, Larry David, is brilliant in his ability to be brutally honest, awkward,  and totally embarrassing with his social dysfunctionality. However, the show makes you laugh, which is essential, these days.  If you never watched it, start today. Every time I am watching a television interview or listening to a podcast interview about something that I find important, I think of Larry David.

Most people being interviewed always say “that is a very good question” even if the question is stupid, useless, empty or just a dead end. What drives me crazy is the standard  one-two punch in responding to the interviewer. First “that is a very good question” then you hear “You know. It is very interesting…”, even if nothing is interesting, which they often prove with their answer. I often think that media advisors or other “experts” on not being authentic, train people with these two repetitive statements. Larry David’s does a brilliant parody on these empty comments.

Let’s  have a real dialogue where people say what they really think and challenge the interviewer in a polite, educational, and engaging way. Empty gestures don’t cut it and just dumbs us down. The stakes are too high and we need to be inspirational, thought provoking and laugh.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Come to TBLI EUROPE 2015, Nov. 19-20 in Zurich. You will  be inspired and have your thoughts challenged, and have a great time.

Guest Post Jochen Wermuth

The first Dow Jones Industrial Index only had steam engine rail companies in it, there were only horses on the roads and horse-whip-makers were great investments. Just a few years later there were no more horses on the road, no rail company in the Dow Jones – a new industrial revolution based on the combustion engine wiped out the old economy companies, with many losers and winners like the Rockefellers and JP Morgans at the time. A similar new industrial revolution is under way now with similarly large risks and opportunities.
With solar power being offered at $4cent/kWh in Austin Texas, a price with which oil could only compete at $7/barrel, the fossil fuel economy is dead. There will be huge changes in the world economy with many losers (the old oil, gas, coal companies and their related industries ) and many winners, the new Rockefellers. We  can stand at the spearhead of this new industrial revolution, allowing us to earn outstanding profits and at the same time generating a sustainable future for our planet.
On the risk side, there will have to be write-offs of $21 trillion in oil, gas and coal reserves by listed companies, as they will no longer be profitable to burn because greater energy efficiency and competition from renewables will drive down long-term fossil fuel prices. This is huge and compares to $15 trillion write-offs in the mortgage bubble.
On the opportunity side, emerging markets still consume 4x as much energy as we do say in Germany or in the EU. Thus bringing state-of-art products there we can make a lot of money and have a huge impact. With solar and wind-power now costing less than power from the grid there are also ample business opportunities across the world. Few have realized this, just as few realized for a long time that smoking was bad for your health…
Great background reading in this regard is the book “My indecent proposal to the German Chancellor” which tells the great success story of a farmer’s boy becoming the owner-manager of a multibillion dollar company in the renewable energy space and sets out the plan for Germany to become 100% renewable powered by 2020. A model for a successful business leader in the new industrial revolution, winning against all odds, and a model for any country in the world (in particular those with more sun) to follow.
As missing this opportunity may not only cost each of us money but could destroy life on our plante, my wife Sasha and I have shared with many of you a hard-copy of the book already. Given continued interest we have gotten the author to make the book available electronically and free of charge for TBLI Blog readers in return for my father having edited and translated it to English.
To download your complimentary copy of the Book in different “eBook” formats for almost any common reading device like Kindle, Tablets ( IOS Android ) or Smartphones, please visit There is also a pdf version for PC-, Mac and Linux Users available. If everything else fails, you can also find an adobe flash based ePaper Version that you can read online with any flash enabled Browser. If you have Problems downloading or opening your copy, please contact helmut.zengerling@wermutham.com.
Please have a look and enjoy!

Jochen Wermuth
Founding Partner and CIO
Wermuth Asset Management GmbH
www.wermutham.com
jwermuth@wermutham.com

TBLI Milestone 23x

Who would have thought that when I started TBLI CONFERENCE, over 15 years ago, that we would be celebrating our 23 event. Actually, 24, if you count the time we organized an event for the EU. It has been an exciting ride and the best part of the journey is yet to come. I am really looking forward to greeting you in Zurich Nov. 14-15, 2013. I think it is our best event until now.

If you haven’t registered, please do so now as there are only 3 days left. Register Now!

Social Media:

Help us promote TBLI CONFERENCE by tweeting about TBLI using #TBLI. I would be very grateful

TBLI Roadshow:

Had extremely busy 2 weeks. Met with various thought leaders and potential sponsors in NY, then spoke at SRI in Rockies (Colorado Springs), German Family Forum (Zurich), International Asset Owners Summity (Hong Kong). Met fantastic people. Most memorable part was how everyone knew TBLI and reminded me of our great reputation. That was great to hear.

THAI Demonstrations:

Took a few days of R&R in Bangkok, before returning to Zurich for TBLI CONFERENCE EUROPE New peaceful demonstrations in Bangkok against the govt and the fact that Thaksin Shinawatra is running things behind the scene. A new reconciliation law to allow Thaksin to come back is being contested and supported by large crowds. In typical style, the Thai know how to have a good time even while demonstrating.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dxbzjfel93l17q4/2013-11-11%2014.00.32.mov

ESG Leaders Awards

The winners of ESG Leaders Awards will be announced Nov. 14th at TBLI CONFERENCE EUROPE, in Zurich. Visit our website to see who is nominated:

Warsaw Climate Change Conference – November 2013

Caring for Climate, the world’s largest initiative for business leadership on climate change, will organize the first annual Caring for Climate Business Forum: Innovation, Ambition, Collaboration on 19-20 November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

The first day of the Forum – held at the Sofitel in Warsaw – will feature focused thematic sessions designed to spur climate action and inspire collaboration centered on the themes of mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. On Day 2, a high-level meeting – held at the National Stadium – will bring together chief and senior executives of Caring for Climate and UNEP-FI signatories with Ministers, Heads of UN Agencies and civil society. To learn more, please visit website
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Writing for Blog

If you want to write for TBLI Blog, please send to robert@tbligroup.com. We have formed partnership with Thomson Reuters to increase outreach of TBLI.

New Impact Investing Strategic Alliance

SoMoLend and GATE Global Impact Launch Strategic Lending Alliance.

SoMoLend and GATE Global Impact formalized a deal that will make investing in business expansion and job growth easier than ever for the nation’s investors and small businesses. The new alliance ensures that industry standardization and best practices through streamlined technology will create and strengthen investor education, awareness and protection.

To find out why and how asset managers are investing in ESG and Impact Investing, and how to create an investment  strategy for this massive market, join us at TBLI CONFERENCE™ EUROPE 2012Largest and longest running event on ESG and Impact Investing.