TBLI Impact

Recently at our TBLI CONFERENCE Asia in Singapore I was approached by Pak Suwardi, owner of PT. Selo Kencana Energi, a private company focused on developing Hydro Electric Power plants in Indonesia.

His business story caught me off guard. During the TBLI CONFERENCE held in Amsterdam in 2009 he saw the keynote speaker who spoke of the devastating effects of climate change to the Arctic melting glaciers.

At that time, Pak Suwardi had investments in coal energy but none in renewable energy because he believed the return would be lower than that of coal fire and the development stages to be more complicated with renewable energy.

Following TBLI Amsterdam, he sold his coal fire portfolio to another company and decided to make their renewable pipeline (hydro power plants) a real project by signing a power purchase agreement with the local authority in 2010.

With his own capital and loans from a local bank, they have completed construction and started to deliver the electricity to the grid in Spring 2014.

“During one year of operation I saw several positive impacts such as reducing national fuel subsidy, an increase in economic activity among the communities in the area and a reduction in poverty and deforestation. We are now doing our own research on social impact measurement,” says Pak Suwardi.

What a testament. Thank you Pak Suwardi for sharing your story of inspiration and how TBLI impacted your life. I imagine there to be so many great ones like this over the years. If you have a story we would love to hear it.

Contact us at conference@tbligroup.com

Come join us at TBLI CONFERENCE NORDIC, June 15-16, in Copenhagen to have your own TBLI Experience.

Too many thought leaders, not enough thought

Impact Investing has been experiencing quite an explosion of interest by asset owners, asset managers and service providers. Parallel with this there has been a dramatic increase in the number of “thought leaders” or “experts” on Impact Investing. You see them on TV, in newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. Many only started in this space a few years ago. When I read or listen to what they say, I find a lack of deep thought or reflection.

Why don’t we see more of Lester Brown, the yoda of sustainable thinking, as it relates to investment risk and opportunity. Lester Brown and his team, don’t get the attention they so richly deserve.  His writings, research, efforts have been a great inspiration to me and to many others working in the financial, policy, and industry. I recently received a summary of developments regarding “Fuel Free” or Renewable Energy. Take a look and then you will understand what a thought leader is.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Abraham Lincoln

Seven Surprising Realities Behind The Great Transition to Renewable Energy © Earth Policy Release May 13, 2015

The global transition to clean, renewable energy and away from nuclear and fossils is well under way, with remarkable developments happening every day. The Great Transitionby Lester Brown, Janet Larsen, Matt Roney, and Emily Adams lays out a tremendous range of these developments.

1.Solar is now so cheap that global adoption appears unstoppable.
• The price of solar photovoltaic panels has declined 99 percent over the last four decades, from $74 a watt in 1972 to less than 70 cents a watt in 2014.
• Between 2009 and 2014, solar panel prices dropped by three fourths, helping global PV installations grow 50 percent per year.

2.Wind power adoption is rapidly altering energy portfolios around the world.
• Over the past decade, world wind power capacity grew more than 20 percent a year, its increase driven by its many attractive features, by public policies supporting its expansion, and by falling costs.
• By the end of 2014, global wind generating capacity totaled 369,000 megawatts, enough to power more than 90 million U.S. homes. Wind currently has a big lead on solar PV, which has enough worldwide capacity to power roughly 30 million U.S. homes.

3.National and subnational energy policies are promoting renewables, and many geographies are considering a price on carbon.
• Unfortunately, governments worldwide still subsidized the fossil fuel industry with over $600 billion, giving this aging industry five times the subsidy that went to renewables.
• But by the start of 2014, some 70 countries, including many in Europe, were using feed-in tariffs to encourage investment in renewables.
4.The financial sector is embracing renewables – and starting to turn against fossils and nuclear.
• The financial services firm Barclays downgraded the entire U.S. electricity sector in 2014, in part because in its view U.S. utilities are generally unprepared for the challenges posed by distributed solar power and battery storage.
• In January 2013, Warren Buffett gave solar energy a huge financial boost when his MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company announced an investment of up to $2.5 billion in California in what is now known as the Solar Star project..

5.Coal use is in decline in the United States and will likely fall at the global level far sooner than once thought possible.
• U.S. coal use is dropping – it fell 21 percent between 2007 and 2014  and more than one-third of the nation’s coal plants have already closed or announced plans for future closure in the last five years.
• Major U.S. coal producers, such as Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, have seen their market values drop by 61 and 94 percent, respectively, as of September 2014.

6.Transportation will move away from oil as electric vehicle fleets expand rapidly and bike- and car-sharing spreads.
• Bike-sharing programs have sprung up worldwide in recent years. More than 800 cities in 56 countries now have fully operational bike-share programs, with over 1 million bikes.
• The share of carless households increased in 84 out of 100 U.S. urban areas surveyed between 2006 and 2011. And as urbanization increases, this share will only rise.

7.Nuclear is on the rocks thanks to rising costs and widespread safety concerns.
• For the world as a whole, nuclear power generation peaked in 2006, and dropped by nearly 14 percent by 2014.
• In the United States, the country with the most reactors, nuclear generation peaked in 2010 and is now also on the decline.

Chapter 1 of The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy is available online

Two weeks to go. First TBLI CONFERENCE LATIN AMERICA, hosted by Mayor’s Office Buenos Aires. Program


Relations are not cattle

I am often asked for introductions to investors or thought leaders. If the project meets TBLI’s mission and the person behind the project has high integrity, then I am often happy to connect people. Sometimes this works out and provides financial, social and environmental returns, sometimes it doesn’t. Ultimately, the experience enriches both.

Lately, when I ask relations for an introduction because I am doing a road show, the reception is not as warm. Too many people see their relations as cattle, that they own. The more that they keep to themselves, the more they think they will have. Untrue. The more you share, the more you will ultimately have.

Let’s connect those that would benefit from those connection and not calculate what is the short term ROI, that you are not getting. Ultimately we all benefit.

Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.

Anthony J. D’Angelo

See you all at the next TBLI

Walking in Springtime

Since the beginning of the year I walk 1 hour and 20 minutes to the office, and back. Today was bright sunny day and crispy cold, wonderful combination for reflection. When the sun shines in Amsterdam, it is the “real Disneyland”.

Previously, I would bike everywhere, but my son’s bike was stolen so I lent him mine. Now I have gotten used to waking everywhere. It is great exercise. Now my pants actually close without a shoe horn, and my belt is tightened to the last hole. This would have been impossible, last month, without bursting a blood vessel.  So the time to reflect and enjoy the beauty that is Amsterdam, sometimes catch up on podcasts, and lose weight have been a great bonus for not having a bicycle.

TBLI Foundation target 100.000 euros

We launched TBLI Foundation in 2014, to help us scale up our educational outreach on ESG and Impact Investing. I want to thank all of you who have made a donation to TBLI Foundation, some of whom want to remain anonymous. With these contributions, we have been able to double the number of events, partner with business schools and start preparing for further dissemination of our content to a wider audience. I would like to ask for your help in allowing us to reach our goal of Euros 100.000. This will allow us to  to increase our educational outreach and start the process of putting all of our content online, including our network.

Support TBLI Foundation

Those who make a donation will be clearly recognized as TBLI Founder, TBLI Patron, TBLI Supporter, or TBLI Friend.

Levels of Giving:

• TBLI Founder- Euros 5000+
• TBLI Patron- Euros 2500+ up to 5000
• TBLI Supporter-Euros 1000+ up to 2500
• TBLI Friend- Euros 250 up to 1000
Donations accepted via paypal, here

-Donations via Bank Transfer:

Stichting TBLI
Herengracht 450
1017 CA Amsterdam
ING Iban : NL58 INGB 0006 3272 56
Bank nr 6327256


A dear friend of mine, Yvonne Li is founder and CEO of the International China Ageing Industry Association(ICAIA). ICAIA is a premier B2B industry association servicing Chinese and overseas stakeholders committed to building a vibrant Elderly Care industry ecosystem in China.

She is organising a forum in Austin, Texas,  March 30, 2015, and has offered our network  5 complimentary tickets to their forum, for impact investors who may be keen to take part to transform China’s 200 million persons elderly market. Please contact Clinton Wong at cwong@icaia.net for taking up this opportunity or for more enquiries.


  • Gain a thorough understanding of key industry issues, challenges, and opportunities for China’s nascent elderly care
  • Meet, network and collaborate with the most relevant Chinese elderly care professionals, both from China and the US.
  • Identify relevant market needs to form strategic partnership or investment opportunities in China
  • Meet Chinese private and institutional investors who are interested in investing in the US elderly care industry
  • An assessment of current senior housing market conditions and cycles in China
  • Institutional portfolios with a senior living / elderly care theme
  • Technology and innovation – what does the eHealth, smart elderly care technology landscape look like in China
  • Learn about China supply and demand trends
  • How to navigate a web of governmental policies to introduce best practices and operating model for institutional care in China
  • Lessons learnt on crafting successful and sustainable US-China business partnerships

Letters to TBLI

A Lecture with an Impact

Impact investing, ESG investing, scaling up businesses in emerging markets and social entrepreneurship management have been some of the burning topics on the minds of 20 young professionals gathered from all over the world at the Impact Hub in Amsterdam this February, all part of the Frontier Market Scout program organized by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

One of the most insightful and straight-forward sessions we had was the open-table discussion with Mr. Robert Rubinstein, social entrepreneur, the CEO and driving force behind the TBLI Group. He is not only engaged in educating the financial sector and savvy investors about the benefits of sustainable investments, but is also a guest speaker and lecturer on topics related to ESG and impact investing, sharing powerful stories from his own life and always committed to pointing to the essential, underlying truth behind many of the trends within the sustainable investing industry.

In a nutshell, Robert brought to our class his own diverse knowledge of the sector and life experiences. His contribution managed to energize us to seek more from ourselves and from our future career goals, looking for what truly makes us passionate and having the grit and dedication to follow our hearts.

Beyond discussions about the impact investing sector overall being worth $46 billion in 2014 and growth estimates of 20% compared to 2013, beyond complex, long-term strategies to finance and scale social businesses, one of our main take-away lessons from the two weeks at the Impact Hub in Amsterdam has been meeting the actual doers, people who not only praise the worthiness of the impact investing sector, but who actually walk the talk and invest time and effort into it. Robert Rubinstein’s contagious drive is a perfect proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way. His TBLI Conferences and up-coming leading sector educational initiatives through the TBLI Group are changing the way investors look at sustainability and impact and setting the stage for future growth in the sector.

For those students, academics and professionals interested to listen to a talk given by Robert, he will also be holding a colloquium on “Commercializing Impact Investing” at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California this April, 23rd.

Alina Cristina Buteica