Davos 2023 Journey Song

Davos 2023 Journey Song

I was in Davos, Switzerland,
between 16th of January Monday and 19th of January Thursday 2023, during the week of World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting,
together with friends from Family Business Network International (FBN), who are now actively coming together under The Impact Office (TIO).

My intention as I stepped into this journey was to connect with new people, expand my perspective on environmental impact investment, and explore how I can participate in the transformation towards a regenerative relationship with our planet.

This is a personal log of this learning journey, prepared with the intention to expand the conversation.
Feel free to share your own views and questions in the comments section below.

Climbing up the hill to our chalet

We stayed as an international group of 5 in a Chalet, resting on top of a hill by the forest, 3km outside the town.   We rented this Chalet in October through a friend that I am in BlackLodge Training with.  It took a lot of trust from all parties involved to get together in this cozy place, and this experience itself held many teachings about co-existing in harmony.  Some of the best conversations happened around this Chalet.

I offset my carbon footprint for this trip using Compensate.  I had several options to pick from for purchasing carbon credits and I made this choice because I wanted to support their bold committment to raise the bar from international "standards".  I think it is very important to be inquiring about the source of carbon credits when you are making a decision.  It is the responsibility of both consumers and providers to push the needle forward.

On our first evening I attended the “Capital for Impact & Nature: Why Family Business Ownership Matters?” session held in SDG Tent as guests of FBN’s Family Business for Sustainable Development initiative.  Family business owners shared the actions they take in their own communities to have a more positive impact on our planet.  This session began with sharing experience about “doing less harm” and shifted towards “doing good”.  The session completed with Frederick Tsao’s inspirational notes on the need to “transform conciousness” to achieve tangible impact.  You can watch the full panel in here.  Concept of “doing less harm” vs. “doing good” turned out to be a recurring theme for the rest of the week.

During this lovely evening I had the pleasure of meeting with
CEO of Circle Economy,  and learn about Circularity Gap Report.
Board Advisor of Geneva Graduate Institute, and learn about impact measurement methodolgy of IFC,
Program Designer & Facilitator of Wisdom Health, and learn about the activities they hold to support “new generation of concisous leaders”.


On the morning after, I started my day with an easy run in the morning.  As we had arrived late in the evening the day before and had directly joined a session, this was my first introduction with Promenade, where all the “houses” are located.  Davos is a small town, in a valley between mountains, and space is quite limited.  The locals rent out their shops to companies, organizations or governments who would like to hold their own events, and take the week off.  Promonade is a self-organized open air conference venue, running on free market economy.  I knew I wanted to meet with this street in my own terms, and running on the sidewalk early in morning in my running gear, watching early risers get to their sessions, complying with the directives of the swiss police provided just that.

Finding Common Ground in Impact Investing

The session I started my day with was once again in SDG Tent, titled Finding Common Ground for Impact Investing.  Moderated by Adela from The Impact Office (TIO) the session aimed to look for common ground among a diverse group of impact investment leaders sharing their perspective on what impact investment is what differentiates it.  I am a strong believer that in order to build a new future we need new language.  If we approach impact investment as an “asset class” and measure our success by “return on investment” we would still be using the same language and thus contributing to the approach that took us to where we are in the first place.  In this regard, I found it very refreshing to hear that the words “intention” and “storytelling” spoken in a session adressing investors.   In my own words, I heard it was proposed that every investment has an impact, the intention of the founders and investors is what makes it an impact investment, and stakeholders are entitled to tell their story in their own authentic way as long as it is in integrity with their intention.  I thoroughly enjoyed how these perspectives resonated in the room and got reflected back in questions and sharings that expanded the conversation.  It’s inspiring to remember that we still have our hearts to show us the way.

Following this session I had the pleasure of meeting with
CEO & Co-Founder of Seedstars, an impressive international community that supports impact entrepreneurs,
Founders of Biotara, an amazing bio-economy venture, producing climate-positive wild oils with local communities in Suriname, while conserving forest, they are looking for investors that can connect them with cosmetic manufacturers,
Facilitator of Green Accelerator, and learned about SeedConfetti, a startup that provides seed bags for celebrations that you can throw instead of confetti, what a regenerative way to celebrate!

How to Scale Voluntary Carbon Markets

At noon I went to “How to Scale Voluntary Carbon Markets” session held by Hedera House and Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC).  It took a while for me to find the venue and by the time I got there it had already moved on to Q&A.  I heard a member of the audience ask how the carbon credits supply can be scaled to match the demand, complaining about the lengthy process of Verra and Gold Standard taking 8 months to a year to verify carbon credits, and about the lack of variety in carbon offsets projects.  This was the exact opposite mind set of what I had witnessed in the morning session, operators looking for ways to commoditize carbon credits to trade them at higher volumes with no regard for how they are sourced.  I believe it is a great time to invest in carbon offsetting projects, and by invest I do not mean buying credits off the market but actually developing projects, investing in growing talent and expertise in carbon capturing and sequestration methods and projects.  The demand is growing as more companies that have set net-zero goals are moving towards their target dates, the field remains to be quite ambigious and I feel passionate about committing resources for an activity that actually captures carbon from the atmosphere.  I continue to look for bringing together or becoming part of a project development organization.

Finding Wisdom House

In the afternoon we gathered together with TIO Gang and looked for the Wisdom House, which is a house located in a public school.  This was a house that empowers youth and the president of this house is 14 years old.  We got lost for a brief moment in snowy streets and there was a moment we thought we would not make it to this house, a warm drink was calling else where.  We gathered in a circle, to lift our spirits and a prayer was shared by one of us:

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,
I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.
In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,
I will honor all life
wherever and in whatever form it may dwell
on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

We did find our way to Wisdom House in the end, just as a new session named “Art, Architecture and Creativity – how the world should be” was about to begin.  I joined in the session and found this to be a lively conversation, the full session recording can be found in here.

I further had the pleasure of meeting with Founder of Zi-ta, a Colombian architecture and urban design workshop focused on social development, environmental protection and historic revitalization.

Biotara Ignite Talks

I walked to Kulturplatz afterwards for IgniteTalks session. Ignite Talks is a global public speaking community where presenters must work within a unique framework (5 minutes, 20 slides and slides auto advance every 15 seconds). Constraints challenge speakers to be creative.  I heard about this event from Biotara founders I had met in the morning, and wanted to join the session to listen to their pitch and to show support.  I had the pleasure of being introduced to this fun format, listening to a couple of more interesting talks.  There was one particular talk that stand out for me.  It was about Ukranian national garments created with ethnic embroidery named Vyshyvanki, which are talismans of protection, which came to be known as people’s Spritual Armor.  Ukrainian American artist Inga Bard launched the Spiritual Armor campaign in order to raise funds for Razom, which provides body armor and medical supplies and other critical aid for Ukranians.  It was a moving experience to listen the story of Vyshyvanki as the artist wove the relationship between the spiritual armor and body armor through her personal experience with creating one and wearing another.  More information about the campaign can be found in here.

Finnish Flow Dinner

For the evening I attended the Finnish Flow Dinner held by Transformation House.  The evening opened with the presentation of Unexplored Club, I found the idea of exploring uncharted territories in Greenland with this team quite intriguing.  It was followed by 3 main panels named Future of Technology, Future of Leadership and Future of Mobility.  Eventhough all panels were filled with extinguished speakers, I found the agenda to be slightly ambitious especially on an evening after such a long day.  What stayed with me was from Future of Mobility, when it was spoken that we are using energy to move energy, we are loading trucks with oil and gas and using oil to move it, we use a 2 ton car to move our 80kg bodies.  Eventhough it is out there, expressing it with such clarity evoked the need for fresh perspective into mobility.  I was revitalized by the blessing of the food by Tibetan lama, and was inspired by his openness when he later agreed to have glitters applied to his eyebrows by one of our friends from TIO😊

Glitter Time

During this session I had the pleasure of meeting with
Founder & CEO of Spacetime, and learned how they grew Bitfury back in the day and how they have now switched to Chia NetworkChia consumes 1000 times less energy than Bitcoin, and is expected to be the solution to move crypto in a sustainability direction.
Founder & CEO of Readocracy, and learned about how we can train ourselves to be more aware of the content we consume, and take control over it, and even get credit for it.  They have an exciting trailer here, can’t wait for their launch.


River has a story to tell

On Wednesday, I went out for a run, this time in the opposite direction from the town by the riverside.   Despite the temperature being several degrees celcius below zero, the weather was very sunny for the course of my stay in Davos and I understand that this is the first time the Lake have not frozen during the WEF week.  I like to think my first session of the day is with the Sun, Earth, Plants and Animals before I get to the sessions with Human.  River has a story to tell and so does the Lake.

My first session with Human this morning was “Gem and Sound Bath, Learning the language of the Gemstones” in the House of Balance.  The House was located in a local school, the session was held in a beautiful space.  I was rather surprised by how much conversation revolved around sprituality in Davos.  I had the pleasure of meeting with several different practices, practitioners and spritual leaders during the week, and House of Balance served as the crossway of these practices.  I imagined how it would be to hold a session in this house in the future.

Swedish Lunch

From here I took the local train to the other end of Promenade, had a walk, the distance and duration of which was determined by the Swiss Police, had a nice conversation with my friends all the way up to the Schatzalp Hotel to join the Swedish Lunch.  By the time we arrived, the lunch and the session had started.  I chose to break away from the usual progression of the event, found a chair outside (which happened to be super hot property😊) and sat by the amazing view by the cliff for a meditation. 

Reflecting Back

A gentle touch to my shoulder called me back to the sunny hilltop, and I had the pleasure of going into an expanding conversation with Alexis du Roy de Blicquy, CEO of FBN.  We exchanged perspectives on our experience in Davos, reflected back on the 10 years we have spent in FBN and dived into our personal journeys in our family systems.  This authentic conversation was very fullfilling and was one of the highlights of the week.  I had the pleasure of meeting a member of the Siemens family before taking the funicular down to the Promenade, who shared insights about the digital transformation projects in Turkey they had supplied infrastructure for.

In the afternoon we gathered with the TIO Gang to attend a dialogue at the Wisdom House on the topic of investing for systemic change toward a regenerative future.  This turned out to be a very interesting experience on various levels.  The session was held by “elders” of impact investing, some of the first ones who coined the term, and have been creating the foundation of which today we are able to build on.  The participants were very engaged and it was a memorable session.  On another level, the session was designed to be held in parallel with a another session in the neighboring room, sharing the venue, as part of the design by the Wisdom House as an experiment on co-existing.  As we sat in a circle prepared to start with great enthusiasm, a technical issue carried the voice of our neighboring session to the space we were in.  There was a brief discussion about staying and resolving this technical issue and moving to another space.  The circle broke into a pyramid for a moment, and we moved to a different space, later to learn that only after 30 seconds we had moved, the technical issue had been resolved and we had caused a fire safety hazard by blocking the exit in the space we moved to.  This experience made me aware of the compelling nature of the power structures we create.  From my perspective achieving systemic change will begin from changing what’s within ourselves.  I am grateful for the whole of this experience.

On our last evening, we had short trip to the Chalet for “leave no trace” as we were going to leave very early in the next morning, after which we were back on the Promenade for our last supper.  On this occasion my intention was to pay for my own dinner and have some fresh conversation with no set agenda.  We took a tour of the town as there were very few places that served the public and they were all full.  On the last spot, we came across 3 friends we had met in Davos.  A table for 6 magically opened up at that moment and I stepped into a night of very fresh conversation and great vegan food😊 

I had the pleasure of meeting with
Founders of Mission Impact, a global education platform for women in emerging technologies
An angel investor for 14 years, and Head of Nordics of A.Team, a very fast growing global talent network startup.  It was especially engaging to exchanging thoughts about the effect of being an investor on entrepreneurship and vice versa.

The rest of TIO Gang joined us in the restaurant later on, and we exchanged notes and thoughts on our experiences.

Around the fire

The official closing of the Davos trip for me was later in the night by the Chalet, around the fire, where we had a chance to harvest our take aways from this journey.

A lot happened during this week in Davos, and the conversations held over the week will bear fruits that will unfold in the cycle ahead, yet if you were to ask me "How was Davos?" this is the story I would be telling you.

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