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Highlights of May 30 2017: Joel Solomon and Karn Manhas’ Talk Clean Money Revolution

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Your Name is on Your Money

Article by jenny Tan
More photos by Daniel Rotman
Check out Joel’s new book, the Clean Money Revolution.
Find out more about Karn Manhas’ company Terramera.
Listen to a clip of Joel’s talk

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Maybe you and I should look at money in a different light.

Last Tuesday, chair of mission venture capital firm Renewal Funds Joel Solomon and entrepreneur Karn Manhas sat down and asked the audience what money means to them. “We have pretty much one goal with money,” said Joel, “which is ‘more’”.

The issue is partly structural, pointed out Joel. Investors have not had much diversity in the investment menu; people are patted on the head by financial advisors and persuaded that investing is best left to the professionals. The options available are uninspiring. Milton Friedman’s statement still echoes loudly in the offices of wealth managers: “There is… only one social responsibility of business… to increase its profits.” Without diversity in choice, ordinary investors demand only the pre-existing options.

Investing for profit–without consideration of where the money comes from–is deeply rooted in our culture. Well-meaning financial advisors shake their heads when investors ask for socially responsible options. Don’t let that stop you. “My name is on my money, and yours is too,” said Joel.

Helping socially responsible investing become the norm is partly a chicken-and-egg issue. Without a diversity of feasible choices, financial advisors will continue dissuading their clients putting their money towards socially responsible venues. A quick practical guide: for high net-worth individuals, consider investing with venture capital firms such as Renewal; for retail investors: consider options such as CoPower, SolarShare, and mutual funds listed on the Responsible Investment Association website. Keep pushing your financial advisors to seek options aligned with your values, or do it yourself.

Change is slow, but take heart: “there’s been an explosion across the world [of socially responsible investing],” said Joel. “It has hit critical mass.”
“[With cleaner money], we actually can solve the major problems on this planet.”

Invest with your values and fuel the revolution.

 

 

 

  

Article and photos by Jenny Tan

Click here for more photos by Jenny Tan and VIDEO of the event. 

Site C doesn’t make business sense, say experts, and is in dire need of independent review.Last Thursday April 20t  at UBC Robson Square, a panel of experts dissected common arguments in favour of Site C, a proposed dam located just outside of Fort St. John on the Peace River in northeastern B.C., noting the project could cost taxpayers to suffer losses of over $1 billion, presents major challenges to constitutional rights of First Nations, and that the increased power supply would outstrip projected demand.

B.C. Hydro pegs the estimated cost of the project at $8.8 billion, which would take B.C. taxpayers until 2094 to pay off.

Even with increased electrification of the economy, said Karen Bakker, UBC professor and Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology, demand for electricity could be met by conservation at a third of the price for a number of years. A commonly touted option of selling power from the Site C dam to Alberta to meet demand increases from the oilsands is not feasible, she said. B.C. would have to sell its power at over $140/MWh; Alberta could obtain enough power to meet its demands from other sources such as the Slave River Hydro Project at a lower cost.

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry is unlikely to take off in B.C. and require power from Site C, also noted former KPMG partner Eoin Finn, and exporting power to the United States would require selling the electricity at below cost.

Paul Kariya, executive director of Clean Energy B.C., pointed out the clean energy industry can offer cost-effective alternatives to Site C.

Councillor Dean Dokkie of the West Moberly First Nation, whose traditional lands include the proposed location of the Site C dam, emphasised lack of understanding of the size and cost of the project as a key barrier. The proposed Site C dam would flood 5,500 hectares of land.

“When I flip a light switch,” said Dokkie, “I know where [the power] comes from and what the costs are… If you flooded the Fraser Valley, what would people say?”

The Site C project also infringes the constitutionally protected rights of First Nations, said Dokkie, especially with the bypassing of independent regulatory oversight. The 2010 Clean Energy Act exempted Site C from independent review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, removing the authority of bureaucrats to examine the business case for the dam.

Bakker summarised the political approach to First Nations consultation on Site C as “build now, litigate during, compensate after”.

Doug Arthur, senior fellow in public policy at UBC, noted Site C will proceed unless there is a change of government on May 9th, and reminded the audience to exercise its voting power.

Bakker suggested the provincial government postpone Site C and refer the project to the B.C. Utilities Commission. The regulatory body can then examine whether the value of contracts already signed will have pushed Site C past the point of no return.

Next Event April 20th: The Site C Dam:  What are the merits of completing it or discontinuing it?

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The projected costs of the 680 MW Site C Dam, under construction on the Peace River in northeastern BC, have risen from $6.6 Billion to $8.9 Billion and many believe that final costs could be even higher. At the same time, the anticipated increased demand for power from a new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) industry has not materialized. Furthermore, BC Hydro faces a variety of significant legal issues and other concerns related to first nations treaties to environmental concerns and the loss of high value food production lands.

Taken together, this new reality raises the serious question about whether it would be better for the economy and better for BC taxpayers to halt construction of the dam even though over $1.5 billion has already be spent and there are signed construction contracts in place for an additional $5 billion worth of work.

Join us on April 20th as we attempt to answer this question. Former KPMG partner, Eoin Finn, will present a high-level cost benefit analysis of the Site C Dam to show which path is best for the BC economy and BC taxpayers.
He will be followed by Paul Kariya, the Executive Director of Clean Energy BC. Paul will discuss the state of clean energy power development in BC and present the case for whether the Clean Energy Sector in BC can produce sufficient new power supplies to meet future electrical energy demand at the same or lower average cost per kwh than the Site C Dam.

Meet the New Panelists:

Doug McArthur has been appointed director of Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy, beginning his new role on September 1. Prior to joining SFU, McArthur was a senior fellow in public policy at the University of British Columbia.

Karen Bakker is a Professor, Canada Research Chair, and founding Director of the Program on Water Governance at the University of British Columbia. The program is dedicated to the dissemination of academic research on water issues to policy makers and the broader community. Dr. Bakker is the author of more than 100 academic publications on water governance and water security issues, and has given invited talks on her research at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, and Oxford. She regularly acts as an advisor and consultant to national and international organizations, which have in the past included Natural Resources Canada, UNDP, UNESCO, and the OECD. She is a Board Member of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and also a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. She is also the co-author of five reports on Site C, covering regulatory issues, First Nations issues, environmental impacts, greenhouse gas emissions, and economic issues. She led the Statement of Concerned Scholars on Site C, signed by over 350 scholars, which is available at www.sitecstatement.org. The statement was supported by an unprecedented letter from the President of the Royal Society of Canada to the Prime Minister of Canada.

A member of the West Moberly First Nation, Dean Dokkie acquired his traditional knowledge and skills as trained by his father Chief John Dokkie Sr. who was the Hereditary Chief of the West Moberly Dunne’ Za/Cree Nation in Northeast British Columbia. Dean commenced his life career as a Manager for his community the West Moberly First Nation in 1981. Dean maintained the position for six years and then returned to continue his studies at the University College of Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C. focusing on Political Science and Anthropology. Since then Dean has worked for many First Nations and Tribal Councils implementing First Nations initiatives and projects as Senior Management in various locations in Western Canada and Northwest United States. In the past 30 plus years Dean’s primary role has been working with First Nation leadership in areas of Oil and Gas, Forestry and Mining Industries. His extensive knowledge and experience have guided him to many accomplishments that benefit First Nation communities, Governments and Industries, ultimately specializing in Human Resources.

Still joining us:

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Eoin Finn is a management consultant with 30 years business experience and a retired partner of the global accounting /management consulting firm, KPMG. Eoin holds a B.Sc and Ph. D., both in Chemistry, and an MBA degree. Eoin has studied and published several articles analyzing the business case for BC Hydro’s proposed Site C dam. These analyses have looked at trends affecting the need for the dam’s electricity, the likely capital and operating costs and revenues, and the availability of practical alternatives to the dam.

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Paul Kariya is Executive Director of Clean Energy BC, the industry association that represents private sector power producers in BC. Kariya has broad experience working in the academic, not-for-profit and public sectors federally and provincially. He was CEO of the provincial crown corporation Fisheries Renewal BC and Executive Director of BC Treaty Commission. Paul holds degrees from UBC and Clark University in Massachusetts. He is a west coaster and the son of a fisherman.

WHEN: Thursday April 20 2017
5:00 pm: Registration begins
5:30 pm: Networking reception with appetizers
6:00 pm: Panel and Q&A
7:30 pm: Networking
8:00 pm: Event close

WHERE: UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson St. Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7

New Members: Join between now and April 20 and get 2 free tickets to the Site C Debate event. Contact membership for details

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Thank You Note from Trish Nixon,

Director of Investments, CoPower

I just wanted to send a personal note of thanks to everyone who came out on Tuesday night to “The Planet In Your Portfolio.” It was a pleasure to meet so many of you in person. The buzz in Vancouver is truly energizing and I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation on how we can use impact investing to close the climate finance gap!

If you’re interested in investing in Green Bonds (we have approx $600K left in our first tranche!) or connecting about CoPower more generally, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me anytime at Trish.Nixon@CoPower.me.

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Invest Responsibly and Make Money, too: CoPower Bonds

Photos and Article by jenny.mx.tan@gmail.com
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Last Tuesday March 7th, the Board of Change hosted a panel discussion with CoPower’s Director of Investments, Trish Nixon, and Vancity’s Vice President of Impact Investing, Christine Bergeron, to discuss how average investors can do good with their money. Christie Stephenson, Executive Director at UBC’s The Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, moderated the discussion.

An opportunity to invest responsibly, see tangible social results, and not need millions or a trust fund to do it? You can pinch yourself to check; it’s not just a dream anymore. With Canadian clean energy investment company CoPower’s new bond offering, impact investing just laid out a welcome mat to the average investor.

The traditional problem with impact investing, noted Vancity’s Bergeron, is its lack of diversity and accessibility. Investments considered too risky for the average investor are the norm with impact investing; the market is accessible largely only to accredited investors (individuals who meet financial standards such as a net worth of over $1 million excluding real estate).

For Nixon, CoPower marks a shift in that trend. According to the company’s director of investments, CoPower’s current green bond offering is both a significant financial opportunity for investors and a chance to democratize the financial markets.

“There’s a huge opportunity to move significant amounts of capital [towards] clean energy and impact when we empower individuals to do so,” said Nixon. “Individuals… want to invest according to their values.”

CoPower is now offering three and five-year bonds with interest rates of 3.5% and 5% respectively. Investors can receive quarterly interest payments or reinvest the payments. The minimum investment is $5000, and the principal is repaid at maturity. Investments are RRSP and TFSA-eligible with an additional fee.

CoPower green bonds are not liquid and do not have a secondary market, said Nixon, and likely won’t make up an investor’s entire portfolio. However, CoPower green bonds could be an ideal component of a portfolio, she noted.

Nixon sees large growth ahead for CoPower and the impact investing field in Canada. “In the next three years,” she said, “we want to move $100 million in assets to clean energy and I think we’re on track to do that.”

For more information check out the CoPower website. The Board of Change gratefully acknowledges Vancity for their generous support of the event.

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Green, guffaws, and bruised avocados: Sustainability Night Live hits the stage

Article by jenny.mx.tan
More Photos by Daniel Rotman

Feb 21 2017
Don’t believe sustainability can make you clutch your tummy while guffawing? The Board of Change might just prove you wrong.

The Board of Change held its first-ever Sustainability Night Live last Tuesday, a night of improv comedy at TheatreSports and actors gently poking fun at humanity’s sputtering attempts at sustainability.

Local green expert manager Maureen Cureton incited guffaws as she took the stage and helped the Board of Change adopt a kangaroo mascot. Novex CEO Robert Safrata, ever sporting, strode onto stage in a skintight, lime-green superhero suit, complete with Herculean helmet feathers.

For Monika Marcovici, co-founder of the Board of Change, the deep-belly laughs filling the theatre were just what she’d hoped for.

“We’re always so serious [thinking] ‘the world’s coming to an end’,” said Marcovici. “We wanted a night where people can just enjoy themselves and have a good laugh.”

Cureton, fresh from her debut in comedy, echoed Marcovici’s sentiment, noting the sustainability crowd could use an occasional dose of jovialty. “It’s fun to get together and be playful”, she said.

The skits featured lighthearted fun and also delicate tensions in sustainability. On stage, comedians scratched their heads at the thought of organic fruit flown in from halfway around the world, and a self-proclaimed environmentalist showed off his three electric cars.

Board of Change director Jae Mather was satisfied with the night. “We need to laugh at ourselves and then embrace the creativity that comes from thinking ‘hey, this isn’t necessarily how it has to be’.”

Sustainability Night Live was proudly sponsored by Vancity and Nature’s Path Organic with generous audience gifts from Modo.

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Clean energy is the future — but will we get there fast enough?  We as individuals can do our part by reducing our consumption, maybe even putting solar on our roofs. But we’ve been largely excluded from utilizing one of the most powerful tools we have in our arsenals — our investment portfolio.
CoPower is on a mission to move millions for climate change by empowering everyday Canadians to invest in clean energy projects for both profit and planet. Find out how this innovative green investment platform is partnering with Canada’s largest Credit Union to accelerate this vision, and how you can be a part of it.
Join us for a panel conversation and light refreshments at SAP from 5:30-6:30.  Cocktails and snacks to follow at The New Oxford, 1144 Homer St, in the Tavern downstairs (5 min walk from SAP).
Speakers: 
Trish Nixon, Director of Investments at CoPower Inc
Christine Bergeron, Vice President of Impact Investing, Wealth Management and Community Real Estate at Vancity Credit Union
Moderated by: 
Christie Stephenson, ‎Executive Director at The Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, UBC Sauder Business School 
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More Photos by Daniel Rotman

Thank you to Guy and all who attended January 17th’ inspiring talk with Guy Dauncey. Guy packed the house at SAP LABS with his progressive, innovative, and truly brilliant ideas and insights.

Guy’s Book “A Journey to the Future: A better World is Possible” is available here.

Some of his big ideas are described in the article below by Jenny Tan.

Guy Dauncey Believes We Can.

At January 17th’s Board of Change event, featured speaker Guy Dauncey introduced his new book, Journey to the Future, with practical solutions for solving the world’s largest issues.

And not too soon. The world saw a troubled 2016. But let us be clear: Dauncey is an optimist. The founder of the BC Sustainable Energy Association and honourary member of the Planning Institute of British Columbia thinks the future can be bright with a mindset change and by taking several specific steps. Firstly, the ‘rational dominator culture’ mindset we govern society by is not rational, said Dauncey. The mainstream belief that Company A can only benefit if Company B loses by the same amount is false, he emphasised. It erodes other forms of wealth such as trust, cultural wealth, and faith, said Dauncey, and we all lose if we cannot trust each other. Sounds idealistic? Dauncey highlights studies which show humans are inherently cooperative — and show the economic concept of the ‘rational’, solely profit-seeking human may be rooted more in history than in science.

Dauncey’s ideas are ambitious, but plausible. Last Tuesday, Dauncey made the audience sit up with his proposal to make banking a public function. After 2008, he noted, governments created money (through quantitative easing) to bail out banks after they crashed due to recklessness. Why not create money to build affordable housing instead? Public banking can sound like an abstract, utopian concept, he acknowledges, but public banks do exist — and one such bank earned record profits in 2008.

In Journey to the Future, 24-year-old Patrick Wu explores Vancouver in year 2032 and finds a city of hope and innovation. But the shift did not occur by chance. Residents hashed out practical solutions together, took bold but feasible actions, and held responsibility for the world in their own hands. A better world is within reach.

For more information about Guy Dauncey’s latest book, Journey to the Future, visit http://www.journeytothefuture.ca/.

Article by Jenny Tan
Food and climate journalist

@thejennytan
Podcast: The Canadian Diaries

Photos by Daniel Rotman

As we launch into a new year of cultivating a sustainable business community in Vancouver, I have exciting news to share with you! The Board of Change will be amalgamating with the Green Chamber of Commerce of BC and the Pacific Institute of Ecological Economics to create one unified organization under the Board of Change name.

In doing so, our combined forces with these two like-minded organizations allow us to
1. have a stronger voice
2. provide better benefits to our members and
3. enhance our portfolio of courses, events and activities. (more…)

January 17th 2017: 10 New Economy Ideas That Will Change the World, featuring Guy Dauncey

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Our economy needs urgent transformative change to end the impulses that are creating poverty and inequality, while accelerating the climate crisis and the worldwide collapse in biodiversity. Our businesses too need deep transformative change, which has already begun.

Guy Dauncey is founder of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, and the author of ten books, including most recently Journey to the Future: A Better World is Possible, a novel set in Vancouver in the year 2032 by when it has become one of the world’s greenest cities, with a transformed economy.

He is busy researching his next book, titled The Economics of Kindness: The Birth of a New Cooperative Economy. He is co-founder of the Victoria Car Share Cooperative, an Honorary member of the Planning Institute of BC, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

When: Tuesday January 17th 2017, 5:30 – 7:30
Where: SAP Labs Vancouver
910 Mainland Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6B 1A9
Tickets: Click here to reserve your spot

December 6, 2016 Board of Change Event / Making Change through Progressive Business, Art and Politics: Lawrence Paul Luxweluptun at SKWACHÀYS Lodge

Article by Bill McIntosh

It was a hauntingly beautiful evening: blending pathos, politics, art and stories into inspiration.

While a steady December wind chilled the eastern reaches of West Pender Street, it was warm and bright inside the beautiful SKWACHÀYS Lodge Aboriginal Hotel & Gallery, venue for the final Board of Change event of 2016.

David Eddy, CEO of the Vancouver Native Housing Society, welcomed the attentive crowd and treated them to the “Reader’s Digest version” of his story of the creativity, collaboration and transformation underlying the development of the Skwachàys Lodge as the 17th of VNHS’s 18 Aboriginal housing projects. Eddy described the Skwachàys social enterprise model: revenue from 18 hotel rooms and the Gallery supports the ‘shelter rate’ rent charged for 24 studio suites rented to Aboriginal artists. Stewart Anderson, Vancity’s Community Investments (Aboriginal Partnerships) Manager, elaborated on the social capital aspect of the Skwachàys story, and led guided tours of several of the hotel rooms (all stunning!). (more…)

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