Ben Banerjee

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Сareer/Professional experience:

Serial Entrepreneur. Created and co-founded a few International Organisations.

Respected Thought Leader on Impact Investment and Climate Change.

Expert on Investments and anticipation of crises and flow of Events on the macro-economic level.

Speaker at International Events on Impact of Investment, Climate Change and economical and social impacts of new technologies like Blockchain.

Advisor to a few world leaders and governments on Macro-economic, Financial, and Investment policies.

Well connected to and advising few world leaders on the flow of events and policy changes.

Guest of Honor to President Obama’s Second Inauguration Ball.

Personal awards and excellences:

Active as an Impact investor and Thought Leader for more than two decades.

Country:
Switzerland
Location:
Switzerland
Followers count:
Description

Hi, I'm Ben,

President of Swiss Impact Investment Association (siia.ch)

Advisory Board Member of Climate Leadership Coalition (clc.fi)

East West Institute (eastwest.ngo)

Senator of World Business Angels Investment Forum (wbaforum.org)

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Swiss Impact with Banerjis

(Season 4, Episode 9)

“Start young, think big, and stick with it” (Sir Ronald Cohen).

On Friday, 8th April we had one of the most amazing guest on our Swiss Impact TV, Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of the Global Steering Group for the Impact Investment. He is a pioneering philanthropist, venture capitalist, private equity investor and social innovator whose story and legacy will remain in your heart, and hopefully in your mind as well.

Sir Ronald Cohen was born in Egypt. At at the age of 12, with his family he had to leave his country and arrived in UK as a refugee. There, a school principal’s decision changed his life. Despite not knowing English, the principal was touched by his father’s words and allowed him to join. Sir Cohen came first in his class and later on graduate from Oxford and Harvard. After many years of a successful carrier as an investment professional he decided to do something more meaningful, something that would bring well being to everyone. This is how, he ended up making Impact Investment a globally known term.

When asked about the most important lesson he has learnt in life, he answered: “You can’t learn to swim by doing exercises on the beach. And perseverance is a very important part of success once you’ve started”.

The Global Steering Group, he mentioned, is an organization that started after the G8 Task Force decision on social impact investment (the first impact venture fund). They realized how the world was starting to shift, from economies that optimized risk and return, to economies that optimize risk, return and impact. After they presented such discovery in their report (titled The Invisible Heart of Markets) the British Government asked them to push that thinking globally. Today, GSG is operational in more than 35 countries. The idea behind is to change the economic systems so that they bring solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Sir Ronald then talked about his book, Impact: Reshaping capitalism, which is about major changes occurring in society. These changes are a response to the great environmental and social challenges we face. Governments have been unable to solve this wicked problems due to lack of resources. With this approach the economic system, which traditionally created all the above mentioned problems, can be turned into the solution through conscious investing. The book, he mentioned, is suitable for people with no prior knowledge on the topic, and is also useful for people with advanced knowledge on the matter, and it’s available in many languages!

Finally, Sir Ronald Cohen called us to take action: “Think about what we have talked today, read the book and pass it on to others, and if you agree with it, talk to your children about it. Begin to adjust your spending, management of your business and your investment portfolio to deliver impact as well as profit”.

You can watch the entire interview at various channels, including Youtube, Spotiy and Smart TV.

With warm regards,
Ben
 

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Return of the Totalitarians

Returning from three weeks trip, I could not fail but notice another visible effect of Putin’s war. It is the return of Totalitarian leaders, especially in the western world. Leaders like Orban, Marine Le Pen, Trump, and others are slowly creeping back into Central stages in the West. 

Thanks to the confusion caused by this war, these leaders feel emboldened to spread their influence. Although some are alleged supporter and others as opponents of Putin’s war, they all have been open admirers of Putin.
Unfortunately, their supporters are not limited to the lower classes in the society. As per David de Jong, writer of “Nazi Billionaires”, opportunists, heirs and sympathizers of Totalitarian regimes are deeply entrenched in the highest echelons too, even in Germany.

Recently the political leadership of Germany decided to double their defense budget. Putin’s war made this possible. But anyone who is bit aware of the internal conditions of the German defense forces should be more cautious. 

German forces suffer from quite a few issues, of which I will just like to mention two:

  1. German defense forces have often been in the news for being penetrated by extreme Right wing sympathizers.
  2. More importantly, the German Society. It is scary to see even in 22nd century the fascination which German society holds for Strong men. We should not forget, how little time it took Hitler to convert Germany from a Democracy into a Tyranny. 

Recently, passing through Frankfurt airport, noticing the behavior of the Police and security people there confirmed my point. This latent addiction to Power has still not disappeared from their Psychic. 

In conclusion, I am sure that decades from now Historians will be dissecting every event and decisions made in these times to find out why, what and how things went wrong. Question that intrigues me is how far reaching will the consequences of this war be …


Ben Banerjee, 12.05.2022

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On 30th September 1939, Stalin’s Soviet Union attacked Finland with vastly superior military strength, historically known as the ‘Winter War’.
Looking from today’s point of view, let me summarize few relevant facts below:

  • Soviets had calculated the war to finish in maximum 2 weeks. In reality the war lasted more than 3 months. 
  • Soviets claimed they suffered minimal losses, while in fact they suffered 6 times higher casualties than the Finns. 
  • Soviet propaganda, as well as Soviet historiography, did not call the conflict the “Soviet-Finnish war” and, in general, “war”, instead, euphemical expressions were used: “Finnish campaign of the Red Army”, “liberation campaign in Finland”, "repulse of Finnish aggression", etc. The Soviet press and radio abroad and inside the country asserted through all channels that "the Soviet Union is not at war with Finland".
  • Initial plan of Soviets was to take whole of Finland. After facing the unexpectedly fierce Finnish resistance, the Soviets reorganized, and renewed their offensive limited only on the Eastern part of Finland.
  • Soviet propaganda was that the invasion of Finland was to protect St. Petersburg from a future foreign attack coming via Finland and the fear that Finnish forces could restrict Soviet fleet movements.
  • Soviet propaganda named Finnish leadership as ‘Fascists’ ('Nazis' were not a commonly used word then).
  • In 1932, the Soviets had signed a non-Aggression Pact with Finland.
  • On 26th November 1939, the Soviets conducted a false flag operation. Soviet historians had described the incident as Finnish provocation then but later even Putin had mentioned that it was indeed a Soviet operation.
  • On 30.09.1939, Soviets attacked Finland from four fronts and started with bombing Helsinki. They killed civilians and destroyed more than 50 buildings. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov stated to the world, that Soviet army never attacks civilians and they were dropping humanitarian aid to starving Finns.

 In the end, Finland lost more than 9% of its territory. It became part of the international community and ended up having a living standard 200 times higher than the territory which was taken by the Soviets. They got international recognition while Soviets were shunned. 

For Soviets, the results were less rosy. Poor performance of Soviet forces emboldened Hitler to commence Operation Barbarossa, the attack of Soviet Union and we all know of the devastation that followed. 

Historical events never repeat in the same way. To start with, we live in 2022 and not 1939. Yet I believe that we can learn a lot, because the historical trends and patterns usually seem to repeat. So in conclusion, looking forward, the future of Present Russia is very unfavorable.

In its South, China is studying the poor performance of the Russian army and their international isolation. Putin should remember that the German-Soviet non-Aggression Pact did not protect Soviet Union from getting attacked by Germans. In addition, just like Nazi Germany, China greatly covets the minerals and oil rich territories of Russia. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if China slowly makes it first move towards annexation of Russian territories.

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For decades I have been writing and speaking that Merkel’s politics of appeasement and her infatuation for authoritarian leaders like Putin, Xi, etc. will lead to catastrophic consequences in the coming decades.

Her way of thinking was obvious, as shown clearly in few of the examples mentioned below:

  • push EU - China Investment agreement through EU Commission, 
  • ignore all the warnings from her western colleagues on Russia. Even as recent as 2018 Merkel refused to block Nord stream. Despite of Russian acts of aggression against Crimea (Ukraine), Georgia, Chechenia and even towards its own citizens. Merkel’s decision was to turn blind eye to all these and continue working at increasing German dependency on Russian energy.

In conclusion, it can be said that Germany under Merkel has played a significant role in funding and supporting Putin’s military machine. Merkel is gone. Yet you see the aftermath of her 16 years rule. It seems so surreal or hypocritical when the German parliament gives a standing ovation to President Zelenskyy after his scathing speech, and then proceeds forward with the day to day business in most normal manner.
Question remains, has German government reached the maturity to start shaking off Merkel’s disastrous legacy?


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Although I have many friends and more connection with Russia then with Ukraine, I can’t keep silent and decided to put my thoughts in few upcoming short articles.

Western leaders, especially those of Europe and most importantly among all those of Germany should have learned lessons from their own history. 

I am disappointed and in fact disgusted when people like Chancellor Sholz. Without any expression on his face, mentions that Germany will not consider further sanctions at this point as “it may create plunging his country into recession and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be at risk”. He says this with a straight face while watching how each and every hour children, innocent civilians, babies, old people, artists, journalists, ....... are being bombed, shot. dismembered, kidnapped and murdered mercilessly. 

Am curious if he and his western compatriots realize the form of democracy they would be leading today, if the British and later on the Americans would have used the same argument for not going to war, when Germany had invaded Poland in 1939. 

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I just heard that Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright passed away. Couldn't help but write a short note of my memory of her. Our endless discussions and her deep insights into world politics. Even if I did not always agree to her, still I could only admire her. She often reminded me of my great grandmother from Calcutta. An exceptionally intelligent and strong woman. After a long day of meetings or speeches, when people half her age would be running around looking for coffee or a break, she would be sitting straight, with full concentration and with her deep thoughtful eyes.

The last time when I physically met her was couple of years back at Munich Security Conference. She was often more of a listener than speaker, especially in the later years. Whenever the sessions ended, while everyone was busy networking. I would find her sitting at a corner with a glass of water and deep in her thoughts or just watching people. And when during our discussions, I would ask her one too many questions (since in my opinion she was a walking talking history book), she would never show annoyance and would answer them with the best of her knowledge. I will miss our discussions and I most certainly will miss her presence.

Rest in Peace dear Madeleine. 

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Dear All

Coming Friday afternoon at 15:00 CET we will be having John Duncan, the Initiative Lead for WWF’s No Plastics in Nature Initiative which brings together a diverse team of people from WWF offices working on solutions to one of the most complex challenges facing our oceans today as our guest on the TV Show "Swiss Impact with Banerjis".

We invite you to watch our show, to see how his team is working to make a difference to one of the most complex global challenges mankind is facing.

The Show will be broadcasted Live in many channels including Swiss Impact Channel and at many other Social media channels and you can watch the show at any preferred time.
Within 24 hours it will also be available on many Smart TV Channels including Binge, which you can even watch free of cost, on your own smartphone by downloading the App 'Binge'.
If your preference is to listen rather than watch, then you are welcome to listen to the Podcast. In few days, you will be able to do so here.

We are sure that after watching the Show, you will understand the complexity of the problem and the potential steps we can take to reduce this problem and support WWF in their activities.

There is a short introductory video attached to this Post.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Friday afternoon.

With warm regards,
Ben & Sveta

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Crime Against Humanity?

How long will be let Political Leaders get away with Crime Against Humanity, just because they are ‘democratically chosen’?

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The deforestation of Amazon Rainforest has again risen significantly.

In fact, the Brazilian institute INPE that monitors Amazon from the space, last Thursday (18.11.2021) reported that between August 2021 to July 2021, deforestation has risen with 22% more than the twelve months before. In fact under the reign of Bolsonaro, the deforestation has been increasing with double figures percentage each and every year. This despite all promises and commitments of Bolsonaro.

Not to forget, here we are talking about Amazon Rainforest, the Lungs of our Planet earth.  image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=400&dpx=1&t=1637412725

At COP26, Bolsonaro promised to stop with illegal logging by 2028 and mentioned that he has brought illegal logging under control. When asked by journalists, he declared that the status report of the Monitoring System Prodes of INPE is not complete yet.
Well, as per Mauricio Boivodic, head of World Nature Fund (WWF) in Brazil this was a complete lie as Bolsonaro and his government had received this report before COP26. In fact, the reality is that under Bolsonaro, the destruction of Amazon Rainforest has accelerated exponentially. Marcio Astrini, secretary of Brazilian Climate Observatory, mentioned that the government of Bolsonaro has made Environmental destruction its Grand Policy.

Since his early political carrier, Bolsonaro had promised to open the protected parts of Amazon for mining, commercial agriculture and other extractive activities. Even now, just this week he complained to potential investors in UAE, that criticism of Brazil for deforestation is wrong as the greatest part of Amazon is still untouched.

So in conclusion. How long should mankind allow such activities to continue without taking any actions? Should we let him get away just because he is ‘democratically chosen’? Wasn’t Hitler also democratically chosen?
We do choose to spend enormous resources to get Serbian leadership behind bars for Bosnia Herzegovina war, and let Leaders like Bolsonaro go free, even though their actions and consequences are far worse?
Isn’t it time that for the protection of Humanity and the Planet Earth, the Amazon Rainforest should be taken away from Brazil and put under UN Protection, and people like Bolsonaro followed up by ICC for ‘Crime Against Humanity’?

 Ben Banerjee. 20.11.2021

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Dear All

Coming friday afternoon at 15:00 CET we will be having the CEO and COO of the Company BeMup as our guests on the TV Show "Swiss Impact with Banerjis".

We invite you to watch our show, to see how this Startup is accelerating the energy transition in mobility 10 times.

The Show will be broadcasted Live in many channels including Swiss Impact Channel and at many other Social media channels and you can watch the show at any preferred time of yours here.

Within 24 hours it will also be available on many Smart TV Channels including Binge, which you can even watch free of cost, on your own smartphone by downloading the App 'Binge'.

If your preference is to listen rather than watch, then you are welcome to listen to the Podcast. In few days, you will be able to do so here.

We are sure that after watching the Show, you will be inspired by BeMup! Please feel free to contact them directly to engage with them.

Looking forward to seeing you all Friday afternoon.

With warm regards,

Ben 

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I am sure that I do not have to convince most of you today that our future hangs in balance. Most of us are looking with expectations and hope towards Glasgow for the COP26 (UN Climate Conference 2021) in the coming weeks.
We all know that Scientists have put together a comprehensive Report and have proposed Steps and Actions which we have to take to protect our Planet and ourselves.

Does that mean that we have the luxury to sit back and let the political leaders to finally make the right and scientifically backed decisions?
Well it seems that the answer is No

Few days back it leaked out that some countries and few very powerful lobby groups have been working behind the scene to force the scientists to change the key points in the Climate Report to be presented. Apparently even rich countries like Australia and Saudi Arabia have been arguing behind closed doors that the world does not need to reduce the use of fossil fuels as quickly as the current draft of the report recommends.

Can you believe this? 

To start with, as my friend, H.E. Prof. Dr. Jan Peter Balkende said few days back "the longer we take to act the higher the price will be in the future, and our failure to act will leave a huge burden for next generations"

The fact is that not only most major businesses have become aware of it and are taking actions, but even Governments. Like for examples.
The Dutch Government just completed their research on the impact of Sea Level rise on Dutch dikes and the US Government completed their research on upcoming conflicts caused by Climate Change. Why would they be doing this if Climate Change is not real.
Unfortunately, it seems that we still have 'so called' greed driven jokers who are questioning Climate Change and behind the scene are busy trying to dilute or undermine the urgent actions which the scientific community is proposing that mankind has to come together and take.

Please do not take me wrong, I have no issues with science based debates and discussions. After all our world leaders have become experienced in doing that. We have been discussing and debating anthropogenic Climate Change for more than 6 decades without achieving a single result. But where I do object is that when pure greed and short term economic gain takes the upper hand and Leaders start hiding, corrupting or mutating scientific reports for their own gain.

We all should come together and ask our leaders or representatives at COP26 to rise above petty politics and power games and do what they are sent there to do, that is make right decisions for the future of the people they represent.

I pray that just for once, every Leader understands two basic facts:
· that they do not only represent their country but the whole humanity, because despite all our differences, we all share the same Planet Earth.
           · The damages to the biodiversity and environment and the Climate Change are irreversible despite of advanced technology or all the propaganda going around

I am still waiting to see at least one Leader stand up, take Charge and be a True Leader of Humanity

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“Entrepreneurial spirit is also key for success” (Reto Möhr, 2021).

Last week Friday, our guest was Reto Möhr. Our show was once He is the managing director of Enabling Microfinance (EMF) and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial industry and has been involved for over 10 years in impact investing in various management positions. He is also the EMF representative in the association of charitable foundations and trust in Lichtenstein and very committed to sustainable financial centre in the principality of Lichtenstein. EMF is an independent provider of microloans for more than 12 years with the vision of catalyzing access to capital where it is needed most, it promotes financial inclusion to people in developing economies currently overlooked by the financial system. It is owned by the charitable enabling microfinance foundation. EMF has reached over 6 million people and helped them to reach a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families.

How to take people out of poverty? Reto suggested that there are two options doing that: one is to donate them money in order to help them individually, and the other one is to enable the “active poor” people who have skills to start a business to help themselves and their family to create a sustainable livelihood getting as a result a stable return for the investors.

In order to reach the audience which are not familiar with the topic, Reto was kind enough to define one of today’s main topic. Microfinance, which are unsecured loans to people who are currently excluded from the financial system so that they can create a sustainable business and get out of poverty.  

When Reto was asked which was his secret for success, he replied that the company is based on its people. Moreover, the entry bar is quite high, and they place a huge importance on risk management. His secret for success in developing countries markets is a team approach, being transparent with investors, and they are focusing on one pure microfinance product and on a specific niche in the microfinance industry, the micro entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Besides financial figures, he pointed out, impact investing boosts self esteem of the beneficiaries and give them back hope and thus the joy for life and a chance to break out of the shackles of poverty.

 Finally, when Reto Möhr was asked for a call to action, he replied. “We have roughly 1.7 billion people that still have not access to bank accounts live in poverty so then we need to do something about it”.

 

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Next week, we are having another amazing guest, Jason Hsu, also known as the Crypto Congressman. We will discuss the role of Impact Investment in the era of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Crypto Currency. 

You can watch us on most major Social Media Channels including Youtube, Smart TV and Podcast.

Looking forward to seeing you coming Friday again.

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“You can never be successful in a world that fails”.

Last Friday, we had one of the most thought provoking discussion with one of my old friend Prof. Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende, the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

This time I didn’t have a story to tell as the program was going to be a discussion anyway, especially on topics which interests us all. In many ways, I am proud that although my country is tiny and minuscule on world atlas, still it has been a global trendsetter in the sector of sustainability and impact investment.

Last week I was in the Netherlands on a 2 days long trip to show my son his country. Not only were we amazed with everything we experienced, but what my son noticed are the low prices, especially for us coming from Switzerland. Despite of having everything as well and sometimes even better organised, yet not expensive. How is this possible? To which our guest Jan Peter replied that one of the factors which has played a great part in the prosperity of the Netherlands is its capacity to innovate. 

Our guest is not only the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands (2002-2010), but also Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Member of the Club of Madrid, External Senior Advisor to EY, Associate Partner at Hague Corporate Affairs, Chairman at Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition and Chairman at Noaber Foundation. Throughout his impressive professional trajectory, he has embodied the innovation principles of the triple helix, which encompasses cooperation between government, academia and businesses. After his life in academia where he was a professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and his fruitful political career which led him to become Prime Minister of the Netherlands, he successfully made his way into the business sector. He then co-developed the “Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition” initiative, which is comprised of 8 companies that are working on sustainability issues. The common elements of his endeavors in the number of organizations and institutions where he is actively working on are geopolitical affairs, the future of Europe, sustainability, SDGs and circular economy.

Regarding the future of Capitalism in Europe, Jan Peter recognized the flaws of the hegemonic Anglo-Saxon capitalism, and celebrated the alternative kinds of capitalism which are products of the increased awareness as discussed below. He pointed out that the evolution of the paradigm led to the stakeholder capitalism, among others, having the core principles of long term thinking. Going beyond shareholders to include all the stakeholders, and having the right balance between economic, social and ecological aspects.

Jan Peter recognized Europe’s leadership regarding the SDGs, however, he pointed out that we (in Europe) are not on track yet. On the other hand, he emphasized that there have been significant improvements that haven’t been measured or reported properly, such as the increased awareness, which is a critical step towards the right direction. On this topic, he suggested that a meaningful change would require us to rethink our views, methods and techniques on measurement in a way that they depict success not only through short term financial results, but also by considering the societal elements, for they will increase its long-term value as a whole.

He invited us to consider SDGs as a joint effort in which we all should cooperate. By allowing others to reflect in our business performance we will be able to detect its flaws and thus act on it. Moreover, he suggested that if your business accurately report its performance, its chance of attractive investments from financial industry will increase.

Jan Peter then shared with us his insight about inter-generational responsibility. He added that the longer we take to act the higher the price will be in the future, and our failure to act will leave a huge burden for next generations. He pointed out that people who have power at this moment are the ones who can foster change, for he considers the means are there, the only thing missing is the willingness to do it.

Finally, Jan Peter called us to take action. “Think about your own responsibility, how can I contribute to the new realities, what am I doing now, and am I happy with it or should I rethink my own responsibility?”.
“It is our obligation to take care for a situation that we have created, and contribute to a better world in which no one should be left behind”

With this finished our program last Friday. For those who missed it can watch it at one of the following channels:

Please don’t forget to join us coming Friday on another amazing Show, and this time with a Fund from Liechtenstein which is transforming the life of many. They will tell us of how they have been successfully turning Poverty into Opportunity.

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