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)

Profile Feed
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 image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=369&dpx=1&t=1633806037Amazon Deforestation

Why do Academic Theories Fail?

A few days back was having a couple of beers with friends and enjoying a discussion. During the discussion, I reached the opinion that simple academic theories and models which seem like the most logical somehow don’t seem to work in real life. I will like to speak of one such example.

Being from the Netherlands which is one of the founding members of the European Union, we grew up tainted with the history of the Second World War. One such established theory was that when nations are interlinked economically then they have no reason to go to war with each other. That is because the nations are dependent on each other. 

But then History gave contradictory examples. In the 1930s Germany-Soviet and also Germany-France were economically exceedingly dependent on each other. One such event was the 1937 accord, signed between Germany and France increased their trade dramatically. Even to such a level that within three years Germany’s commercial debt to France was erased and yet France was invaded. Same between Nazi Germany and Soviets, who had very similar economic systems and their industries were entwined yet the Soviets were attacked. 

I don’t mean that these theories or the models are wrong. It is more about the fact that despite our high esteem of ourselves, we humans are one such species that does not seem to follow logic. 

How many more of such theories coming from the academic world is destined to fail? Is this the reason, why the models and theories to protect our environment, save the amazon from deforestation are failing because nothing can be more logical than living sustainably and in harmony with nature?

Ben 10.09.2021

 

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Often have I mentioned that Natural changes do not happen in linear order as we humans tend to think, but more with tipping points. From the Climate Change perspective, we are aware of nine tipping points as shown in the figure above. Crossing these tipping points, Scientists warn will lead to irreversible and catastrophic climate change. 

Last week at one of our CLC meetings, Owen Gaffney from the Stockholm Resilience Centre said, “Just a decade ago, Earth’s sleeping giants appeared largely still slumbering. Now, they are stirring. We are measuring very large changes which should concern everyone.”
 “The proximity of tipping points provides an extremely strong case that the world faces a planetary emergency.”

More than half of these Sleeping Giants are stirring and this all despite more than Thirty years of Political debates and Summits. Not only is the severity and frequency of severe events going up, but even worse, it is estimated that the global CO2 emission will rise again this year and exceed previous levels.

We still can save our beautiful and unique Planet and ourselves. A recent survey carried out on G20 countries by IPSOS Mori and Global Commons Alliance shows that 95% of people in Indonesia and 70% in Germany show a willingness to do more to protect nature and climate.  Let’s all talk to our friends and neighbours to listen to scientists and not only to economists and convince our leaders to act. Remind them that without Life there is no use for Money.

 

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Dear All,

What are the solutions for Food Security? What can we do about it? All these questions will be answered by one of the Global experts on this topic, H.E. Prof. Dr. Ameenah GuribFakim, the 6th President of Mauritius. She is also a Professor, Biodiversity scientist, Entrepreneur, and Author. She has been the Managing Director of the Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique (CIDP) Research and Innovation as well as Professor of Organic Chemistry with an endowed chair at the University of Mauritius.

Today aftimage_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=348&dpx=1&t=1633032846ernoon, at Episode 6 of Season 3 of Swiss Impact with Banerjis, our discussion will be 'Why Food Sovereignty Matters' and how does Traditional Knowledge, Agriculture, and Seed Banks help, does this sector have opportunities for investors and how can businesses help.

At our Show, we have enlightening and in-depth conversations with celebrities, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, politicians, business leaders and encourage them to act.

For all those who are interested and missed any of the previous shows, you can watch all the recordings here.

Looking forward to having you all at our program today afternoon for the Live Telecast.

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We all are looking at the soon-approaching German election. It has attracted the attention of many of us, especially from the western world. Some of us are watching with excitement and few with apprehension. The effects are visible in many sectors.

Take Cars for example. Auto lovers from everywhere have been flocking to Munich this week to admire the new cars at the IAA 2021 Car Exhibition. This event was inaugurated by Chancellor Merkel. She of course, as expected came with a bold statement that Cars are not only part of the Climate Problem but can even become a part of the solution. My question is, should one believe her?image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=345&dpx=1&t=1631353270

Of course, everyone can see that the German Auto industry is in rapid transition. Since the end of 2015, they all are converting to electric cars, which in my opinion has been mainly due to the infamous diesel gate scandal. 

A short historical reminder for many of us. Diesel gate is the name given to the scandal, when in September 2015 US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued a violation of the ‘Clean Air Act’ to the German Car Producer Volkswagen. EPA had discovered that VW had intentionally programmed their TDI Diesel engines to reduce their NOx emission artificially during laboratory testing such that it met the US standards, while in fact, they emitted 40 times more while driving in the real world. Also not forgetting that oddly EU authorities who have stricter testing regulations had failed to notice or register this issue.

Anyway, another issue was that under the protection of the same Merkel (under whose regime the Diesel gate happened), the CEOs of the German Auto Industry kept blocking the electrification of Automobiles. I remember that some years ago even a much smaller country like the Netherlands had nearly as many car charging stations as the whole of Germany, which is a much larger country. And the mockery Toyota faced by other Car Brands when it came out with its Hybrid Cars. It was repeatedly told that hybrid technology is expensive, complicated, etc. while the diesel motor is efficienter, cheaper, and getting better with the passing years. Fortunately for the environment, this illusion or rather fairytale was broken by the diesel gate.

In conclusion, it is true as many Climate Activists are correct in thinking that these actions of the German Car industry have been too slow. But on other hand, the predictions for the upcoming elections are that the influence of Merkel’s Party will be significantly reduced and that of the Green Parties increased. In my opinion, this will speed up the transformation of the German Car Industry, to a non-fossil fuel-based, like electric or hydrogen technologies. Mainly for two reasons, the impending implementation of tougher regulations and the decrease of Government support. 

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Recently I was in a panel discussion with few intellectuals from the US on the topic of whether the US will remain a superpower in 2040. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this choice is in the hand of American voters today, because the internal threat to the US is far greater than the external ones.

For the Conservatives of the US who still live under the delusion that the Republic Party belongs to them, History has some important lessons for them. The fact is that the Republic Party today is a party of (Trump-) loyalists and has turned into a party of Conspiracy believers, white supremacists, anti-democratic and non-tolerant. Clearly marching in the footsteps of Germany of the mid-1930s.

Added to the above, many of the institutions which made the US a superpower for the last 7 decades have been dismantled or severely weakened during the term of President Trump.

My advice to each and every Republican Party member and voters should be to seriously reconsider. Their vote or support to the present Republican Party is the vote for the greatest threat and internal enemy of the US. So it is in their hand, whether the US will remain a Super Power or collapse in complete social, economical, and environmental chaos.

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This project is set up in the name of my sister Joya. Her whole life she supported and helped the poor and underprivileged in India. After a short fight with Covid, she passed away on 29.04.2021

In her memory, we created this Global project. Everyone is welcome to support in any way he or she can. You can do so directly to the projects we are going to list here. We will select the ones which are most effective and efficient and are helping the neediest.

The first Indian foundation we have selected to partner is
Safe in India Foundation (www.safeinindia.org).

They require fund to implement the following plan.

Plans for Covid19 Wave 2: A number of initiatives in pilot/development using our core strengths and partnerships. We are not rushing into quick fixes as many solutions will be needed for several months. We will need to be nimble and flexible to assist in real needs:

1. Set up an Isolation/Assistance Centre (“Bachao Ghar”) in Naharpur village, Manesar (near Gurgaon; population c.150,000) with basic medical equipment for workers who live in crowded rooms/tenements, with separate space and toilets for women, community kitchen, etc in coordination with local Sarpanch, police and administration. 

2. Join partner NGOs to set up a call centre that sits in the middle of workers and doctors to improve coordination, provide reliable latest information/advice on disease, equipment, medical facilities available, etc and to refer only the deserving cases to doctors for advice. 

3. Provide an income source to workers through a regular survey programme (“Bolo Toh Jaane”) on ESIC’s Covid services also empowering them with knowledge and helping ESIC react better to Covid19 wave 2 than wave 1: Workers will conduct regular surveys, for which they will be paid, of their fellow workers on ESIC’s services. Quick regular feedback will help millions of workers eg. a better unemployment scheme can disburse Rs 500+ crore rupees compared to INR 50 crores now. 

4. Supply oxygen concentrators/cylinders in areas of dire need: Good quality hardware is needed in areas where mainstream distribution does not reach. 

5. Set up Oxygen generation capacity in ESIC Hospitals as many of them are short in this capacity. Each hospital can serve 0.5m workers. 

Budget and Reporting: The total cost of all the above will be in excess of USD 300'000. Progress will be reported through regular SII blogs/updates, at least monthly.

You can read more on their detailed activities and background here.

For their present requirement, they are looking to buy:
An Oxygen Generation Plant of 200-500 LPM for an ESIC hospital in Manesar that serves more than 0.5m workers and their families and this will give them a long term solution.
All support for procuring this machine is most welcome.

Donations:
All Indian residents: Here you will find all Banking details for your donation.

For all non-Indian residents: You can donate the below amounts, click on the amount, new page will open, scroll it down and click the button PAY.

DONATE NOW CHF10CHF50CHF200CHF500CHF5000CHF50'000

You can also donate directly using the Bank details:
Name: Galileo International Impact Investing Centre, Bundesplatz 6, 6300 Zug, Switzerland
Bank & Account Details: Verein Galileo IIIC, Alternative Bank Schweiz,
IBAN: CH 12 0839 0035 4513 1000 3
BIC (SWIFT-Code): ABSOCH22

Please do write in the Reason: 'Donation for Project Joya'

Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions or advice.

With warm regards,
Ben & Sveta Banerjee

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image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=294&dpx=1&t=1620629080Last week Tuesday I was at a meeting and was listening to H.E. Sanna Marin Prime Minister of Finland, in my opinion, the most courageous and ambitious political leader of Europe in leading her country to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Her conclusion that the whole world should work together on this global crisis hit the point. The issue is that even in Europe, where consensus is far to seek, she stands out strong on principle. Maybe once again Finland will show the way and be at the forefront of Climate Action.

As visible in the UN report, it seems that none of the EU members or the other large Carbon emitter countries have any concrete policy in place which shows that their country will achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2030.

Going forward, an old friend, Idar Kreutzer from Finans Norge mentioned that in his opinion, the changes have to take place in 

  • Sustainable finance
  • Public procurement (green and innovative)
  • Green transformation (here not only Technology and Finance is the key, but also the people and their way of life)

It seems that the investments in Carbon absorption activities have doubled compared to the last decade but we still have a long way to go.

Interestingly Marcus Wallenberg mentioned that he foresees that financial institutions like Banks should keep in consideration that soon they will be forced to change faster than they anticipate because of regulatory changes and these new regulations will also prevent ‘green washing’. On other hand, he also mentioned that the financial sector will need support from the government to transform.

But there seems to be one important point missing in all these discussions and that is Nature-based solutions, which we at CLC have chosen it to be one of the key elements to focus on this year. The sorts of alternative solutions being looked into to make us aligned to Paris Agreements are:

  • Solar Economy
  • Hydrogen Economy
  • Circular Economy
  • And Nature-based solutions

Apparently, quite a lot has been achieved since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. Especially there has been progress on low-carbon solutions and markets are transforming faster than most people realize.

The statement of H.E. Jyrki Katainen, whom I had met a few years ago at a UN Climate Summit in NYC that Public financing will not be enough to reach the Paris Agreement is very true. But then I fear that just like the Sub-Prime Crisis, we will end up in a situation when the public money will be used to repair or compensate for the immense damage which is being caused by the wrong investments of the financial sector.

 Thus to summarize, despite the rising awareness and all the scientific reports, the ground-level facts remain as follows.

  • To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2030, the Political leaders of each and every country will have to take unprecedented steps, which will mean implementing unpopular policies. 
  • Despite so much movement of funds towards Green and Impact Investment, still little is reaching the actual projects and investment areas and the Co2 emission and damage to the environment is going on at an ever-increasing speed. 
  • And lastly, although our governments and industrial leaders are making the commitments to fulfill the commitments made in the Paris Agreement, the financial sector is investing towards a 5 to 7C rise. A concrete example is that we might all have a strong opinion on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, but it is our own European Pension Funds that are directly and indirectly responsible for 30% of it.

My conclusion is that the greatest threat to mankind not achieving Paris Agreement is the lack of vision and courage of the present political leaders.

 

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It seems that President Biden has initiated the path to reign in some of the freedoms of the Free Market. In my opinion, for the first time in decades, the western world seems to have a leader who thinks long term. 

Free Market has done many goods but also has brought America and the Western world to the brink of bankruptcy and social collapse.

So as we speak, the followers of the Free economy in the US and the EU are still freely and massively investing and trading with totalitarian countries like China, while inequality is increasing rapidly within its own border. It is today also the main cause of Climate Change and the destruction of Bio-diversity.

In conclusion, President Biden is truly on the right way when he invests in infrastructure, society, and education. And if we want to have a future for ourselves and our children, then it is time that we need to consider moving away from Shareholder Capitalism to Stakeholder and Conscious Capitalism.

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Last Thursday, it was once again a honor to be invited to speak at Horasis, on invitation of Frank-Jürgen Richter .

I had the honor to be included in the list of many distinguished speakers, including my colleague H.E. President Armen Sarkissian (from EastWest Institute).

Looking forward to the next Horasis program when we can take the discussion on Social and Environmental problems further.




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Report from Impact Investors Council

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This article can be seen as a continuation of my previous articles ‘Warnings from History’ and ‘EU-China Investment deal’ where I wrote of the depth EU is prepared to stoop with its behavior towards China. 

By signing the Investment Agreement, the EU offered legitimacy to the Chinese leadership despite all atrocities and crimes committed by them. I remember reading somewhere that Merkel and her cronies are the driving force behind this agreement. One possible reason might be that Merkel’s upbringing in Former East Germany, clouds her understanding of the value of true Freedom and Democracy. Or the greed of selling German Automobiles to China makes her abandon the democratic ideals of European nations? I shudder to think of the third obvious reason.

What still surprised me today is that while the US, UK, and Australia are strongly condemning the reports of systematic rape in the Uighur camps in China, there is (once again) silence from EU leadership. I repeat once again the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr.  “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=226&dpx=1&t=1612526566

The day may be arriving soon, when the leadership and elites of EU like Pontius Pilate will be trying to wash their hands from the blood of innocent Tibetans, Uighurs, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Indians, etc……

History is watching!!

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image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=219&dpx=1&t=1612078711Last Friday we had the opportunity to have a discussion with H.E. Prof. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. It was one of the most educational discussions I have ever had. She is no doubt one of the most learned Politicians I have had the privilege to talk with.

If you are interested in our TV program then you can find all information and recordings of this and other conversations on the website:
https://camomile.ch/page/view-event-profile?id=25
or at
https://ibmtv.tv/title/swiss-impact/

We covered many points. I found one point very interesting, which I will like to summarize here as I believe that it is valid for the whole world, including the Western countries. This point was the reason which makes Mauritius the success story of Africa nearly in every aspect whether social, economic, or ecological.

Apparently, since the independence of the country, the policymakers have focused on two important items. Free education for all and well developed Social Security System.

Free education for all, especially for women has had huge economical and social benefits. Not only did it speed up the transition to a knowledge economy but also brought the population growth under control.

The social security system brought stability and equality. She added that the Policymakers also noticed that a good social security system encourages innovation and incubates entrepreneurship. I know this to be true also in Europe, where one sees the Nordic countries and countries like Switzerland still leading Europe in many sectors. I remembered these being also the same countries relatively least impacted during Financial crisis’s.

In conclusion, I believe that there is a lesson to be learned here, by Policymakers around the world. Especially the so-called Liberal Policymakers in richer parts of Europe who are working hard to demolish its existing Educational and Social Security systems in the name of Globalization. In my opinion, the consequences will weaken Europe’s long term economic perspective but also tear away at its social fiber.

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