Thursday, November 19, 2015

Systemic change thinking

Attended a seminar at the Impact Hub Westminster here in London today with the intriguing title "Systemic thinking and Sustainability Entrepreneurship". Systemic change is at the forefront of our work in the impact investing space and in the grander scheme to create sustainable financial markets. It's hard to see the forest for the trees when starting a business and the system thinking approach can help you to understand the interlinkages and stakeholders you directly or indirectly come into contact with. It will also help you to understand what form of organisation you should create, for example a business or a community, whether to work from within with incremental innovation or from the outside with a disruptive approach. To work alone or in a larger ecosystem. Tuukka Toivonen, PhD from SOAS University in London gave a thought provoking presentation on how to see the bigger picture in your idea and to journey from startup to system changer.

It's always wise to take a step back and analyse your mission and vision and in our work to promote impact investing as a new investment paradigm it is one of the core themes in our message to clients and partners. Use impact investing, not only because it will ensure long term financial viability or even ecological viability but because it forces you to work across sectors in a tight and rewarding relationship with your stakeholders. Spreading the benefits to wider sections of society is truly a win win scenario. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Impact Investing Seminar in London 28th of September 2015

CongressEA founder Richard Lindberg will be speaking at a breakfast seminar on Monday 28th of September at the Impact Hub Westminster in central London. Hear more on how Investing Investing can be used as an organizational compass and Alex Soskin, Managing Director of Impact Hub Westminster will talk about the need and opportunity for environmental innovation and the role entrepreneurs play. The seminar is followed by roundtable discussions with the aim of a wide cross sector representation. An invitation only event.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Impact Investing Seminar in Stockholm 7th of May 2015

We are proud to be working with Forum for Social Innovation Sweden and Skanska for next week's seminar in Stockholm where CongressEA founder Richard Lindberg will give a talk on how Impact Investing can be utilized as an organizational compass in a world facing unprecedented ecological and social challenges. We are looking forward to meeting and discussing with a wide variety of sectors, ranging from large corporations, academia, investments funds, government and more. See more via the link below. It's in Swedish but for our non-Swedish speaking audience, don't worry. We are planning a similar event in London. Stay tuned for more information on this.

The event is fully booked but we have been told it's possible to squeeze in a few more...

Reading tip for the week: The new Global Climate 500 report from Asset Owners Disclosure Project, full of interesting reading on how large investments funds tackle climate change related risks in their portfolios. See more on:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is CSR dead?

CSR is dead claimed Peter Bakker, President of World Business Council for Sustainable Development, at a recent sustainability conference in Copenhagen. The organization represents 200 of the largest companies in the world so there is ample reason to take note and ask; if he is right what comes next?

Let us put forth our answer - Impact Investing.

CSR has had some concrete success beyond PR, for example in taking sustainability and environmental topics higher on the corporate agenda and it will surely live on in some format. But it is becoming abundantly clear that CSR is not enough to tackle pressing societal problems such as climate change and resource security. In a time where we are coming dangerously close to going beyond what are considered safe planetary boundaries we must work through frameworks that can catalyze the radical shifts needed. Incremental improvements, the hallmark of CSR, coupled with pure profit maximization will not reverse the accelerating rate of natural capital destruction and rising emissions. Current research show little progress on key metrics. In fact we are eroding the foundations of the financial system and adding enormous fragility to supply chains.

Impact Investing has the potential to bring about transformative mindset change through its very raison d'ĂȘtre - the intent to pursue positive environmental and social impact in conjunction with financial returns. It's not profit maximization with a pinch of "nice to have" positive impact. From the ground up, activities are designed with the explicit intent of achieving both. Seeing profit and positive impact as integrated concepts, permeating all units of a business instead of a stand alone CSR function, will aid in creating long term accountability. This distinction is not trivial but a revolution in its own and absolutely necessary to survive and lead in a business environment with stringent environmental legislation, more consumer pressure and natural capital restraints. Impact Investing will foster change on a grand scale and help companies and governments navigate the rough seas ahead. New business models, new strategies, new competitors, more complex accounting and balance sheets with externalities priced in. Is your organization prepared?