SFM Participant Frank Jan de Graaf on the SFM/VBDO Amsterdam meeting

Five positive outcomes of SFM/VBDO Amsterdam meeting on leadership, 18 March 2015

by Frank Jan de Graaf

Within the investment world, very few people talk about the role of their personal motives and values in their work. The objectives of financial sector firms seem to be dominant. This workshop was organised to consider personal motives and how it influences our work losartan pill. How are personal values related to our workplace priorities.

During the meeting, the method of “appreciative inquiry” was used to identify positive change in finance, specifically to identify leadership that has beneficial and durable societal impact.  Once these examples were identified, we used an “action learning” approach to explore how the trend could be enhanced with the focus on asking questions rather than telling each other what we could do.

Positive development 1.- Leadership by people like David Blood (Generation) and Peter Blom (Triodos Bank) who have built successful financial companies that take social and environmental indicators into account.

Empowering the positive development-  Reward leadership for example by creating a new leadership award and thereby publicise these role models to next generation.


Positive development 2.  – Innovation is very relevant for sustainability, for example,  SME companies, ‘Hidden Champions’, that are innovative and successful, whilst also serving a pressing social / environmental need..

Empowering the positive development- Develop a research project to show case these companies and thereby publicise these role models, especially outside their own countries.


Positive development 3. – Aiming for A, a projects by selected investors and CDP, in which those investors have persuaded O&G companies to endorse AGM resolutions which ask companies to go further than their peers in terms of disclosure

Empowering the positive development – Encourage more examples of assertive stewardship by shareholders which have a clear real world impact, initially by documenting these examples.


Positive development 4. –   Global Footprint Network, in which bond investment strategies are related to demand on biocapacity (Footprint) and availability of biocapacity. It enables (bond) investors to take into account the impact of (the lack of) environmental policies by countries. With one measure, almost the complete ecological impact of human activity in a country is being measured.

Empowering the positive development-  Get big investors on board by demonstrating the added value of true cost strategies and risk assessment. – Integrated reporting and true pricing being promoted by the big four accounting firms. They could give more attention to the assessment of  Global Footprint Network.


Positive development 5. – A representative of a Dutch Pension Fund agreed to speak at a meeting organised by Dutch NGO’s who were campaigning for divestment from fossil fuels, knowing that she would be widely attacked

Empowering the positive development- Support (“cherish”) individuals who are willing to adopt leadership behaviour and acknowledge their willingness to be vulnerable.



Daniela Carosio (partner SE Value and vice president Europe for SFM), Raj Thamotheram, (Preventable Surprises),  Robert Klijn (Fair Impact), Frank Wagemans (VBDO) and Frank Jan de Graaf (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) will further  work on the suggestions above.