B Corps- the accelerating global movement using business as a force for good

bcorpHaving followed the movement of B Corps and benefit corporations over the past 6 years it was with great joy to attend yesterday the Swiss B Corp Community Forum that took place at the Impact Hub. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems (see the first video below to find out in less than 2 minutes). These companies aim to be not the best in the world but best for the world. The B Corp movement has been rapidly expanding with now close to 1300 B corporations in 41 countries and in 121 industries. B corps have started expanding also in Europe with now 70 B corporations. The 4 Swiss B corporations (3 Certified and one soon to become) that were presenting yesterday were: Abhati, Heidi.com, Montagne Alternative, and Opaline. To understand more about the B Corps please view the videos below. It is a movement that is definitely moving the needle in making business a force for good.

The Blue Economy – an action plan on improving the world through sustainable development

I had the greatest pleasure to meet on May 19th Dr. Ashok Khosla, a visionary & social entrepreneur at a private event (thanks Nina!) Dr. Khosla founded Development Alternatives in 1982 to purse his dream for sustainable development. Since then he has been innovating, demonstrating, and fostering the delivery of environmentally friendly and commercially viable technologies. He is also the Chairman of TARA (Technologies and Actions for Rural Advancement). He also presented the just launched 2 new books “To Choose Our Future” which he authored and “The Blue Economy Version 2.0″ by Gunther Pauli, for which he is a contributing author. Both books will soon be available to buy online. The Blue Economy is the sequel to “The Blue Economy: 10 years 100 innovations 100 million jobs” and it is a powerful movement that has only started. I recommend you to see the TED talk of Gunter Pauli and the simple intro on the concept and to find about the 100 innovations.

Skoll World Forum 2015: Belief

SWF2015_mobile_logoThe 12th Skoll World Forum took place April 15-17th in Oxford. It was my 9th Skoll in a row and it is still my favourite forum for its great content, inspiring conversations and unlimited networking opportunities. This year two of the topics that were most emphasized were girls’ education and the continuing need to collaborate amongst the three converging worlds; private, public and citizen sectors. Another positive,this year, many of the sessions were recorded (more than ever) so subscribe to the youtube page of Skoll so that you can check on the videos that are being uploaded. Check also content through their Facebook and twitter page.

Karmafy: Have Fun = Do Good

We would like to introduce you to Karmafy
Karmafy represents a global social currency for doing good. The platform offers businesses, apps, and cause organizations the opportunity to attract new users and strengthen their existing user base by allowing users to track and make use of their socially responsible actions. We partner with businesses through a commonly used rev-share model and deliver more engaged users. Increased monetization occurs through cross promotion, use of gamification and functionality to make directed donations to vetted philanthropic organizations. More to come soon.

Book recommendation: Thrive

One of the books that I enjoyed reading in 2014 was Arianna Huffington’s “Thrive“. A refreshing book where she makes a compelling case of the need to redefine “what it means to be successful” in today’s world. A timely book in times where people are reassessing their past and current views (on money and power) while trying to define their meaning of life.Huff_9780804140867_cvr_all_r3.indd

SOCAP 2014 : Igniting Vibrant Communities

SOCAP14,which took place on Sept 2-5 in San Francisco brought together over 2500 people (bold entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, bankers, as well as government officials) committed or interested to increase social return and impact. The movement continues accelerating: the convergence of the three worlds, private/public/social through new partnerships and collaborations, impact investment and the sharing economy mainstreaming, and the power of social media empowering individuals as well as organizations. There is so much going on and it is great that anyone can see the videos posted on youtube.
Some of my favourite speeches and panels this year include:
1)How is social funding changing the role of financial gatekeepers, for good by Danae Ringelmann, co-founder of Indiegogo.
2)Impact Uncensored, A conversation with Leila Janah, Founder and CEO of Samasource
3)Fast Pitches by Gratitude Awards Finalists
4)Multilingual Leadership=Ignition by Cathy Clarke, Jed Emerson and Ben Thornley. Here multilingual means being able to communicate and be effective across the three sectors: public, private and social.
5)Innovations in Social Finance by Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation
and last but not least….
6)When Life Gives you Lemons, Change the World! by the youngest speaker at SOCAP ever, 10 year old Vivienne Harr, Chief Inspiration Officer of Make a Stand

Swiss Sustainable Finance a new platform promoting sustainability in the Swiss Financial Center

detailed illustration of a compass with sustainable text, eps10Swiss Financial Finance (SSF) is a new platform that aims to promote Switzerland as the leading centre for sustainable finance. This platform brings together financial service providers, investors, research organizations, public sector entities, and universities to foster social and environmental aspects in investment and financial solutions. SSF was launched at the beginning of July 2014. See the press release.

The Future of Investing -Towards an 100% impact portfolio

charly and lisaCharly and Lisa Kleissner, pioneers in impact investment and deploying 100% of their assets in impact through their KL Felicitas Foundation, were the keynotes for the event “Inspire to Action- The Future of Investing” hosted by The Impact Hub Zurich on June 16th. Charly and Lisa are one of the most persuasive and effective advocates for impact investing as they “walk the talk” and they SHARE their experiences and findings of their 100% Impact portfolio. For the past 10 years they have been creating a variety of tools to empower and educate both impact enterprises and impact investors. The report Evolution of an Impact Portfolio: From Implementation to Results written by Sonen Capital is a detailed report that you can download from their website that is highly recommended for anyone who would like to learn about investing with impact. Thank you Charly and Lisa!

Skoll World Forum 2014

logoThe 11th Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship took place on April 9-11. This year’s theme was Ambition: Fueling Opportunity, Scaling Progress. It is the 8th time that I had the opportunity to attend and it continues to be an amazing forum to learn, connect and share with people that are innovating new ways and creating partnerships to tackle and solve the world’s most pressing problems. This year’s Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship included organizations like B-Lab and Fundación Capital which are helping the convergence of the private sector with the social sector. Also a special Global Treasury award was given to Malala Yousafzai, the 16 year old Pakistan who survived the Taliban attack and has set up the Malala Fund dedicated to helping promote education for girls around the globe.

Unilever and Ikea: all in for sustainability

We have seen a movement towards sustainability in different circles for the past 10 years. There is progress but you need many players including the big corporates. That is why it is so significant to see two great examples Unilever and Ikea going in fully for sustainability. Unilever’s COO Harish Manwani passionately argues in his TED talk, “Profit’s not always the point”, that the only way to run a 21st century business responsibly is by including value, purpose and sustainability in top-level decision-making. Steve Howard, the chief sustainability officer at IKEA is making the low-price-furniture giant to bring sustainable products to millions of people, as he puts it “Sustainability has gone from a nice-to-do to a must-do”. Watch the two positive and inspiring TED talks!