Commonizing our future


Last Tuesday, the knights of the future assembled in the Hall of Knights in The Hague, to co-create, connect and #commonize our future. Inspiring talks were alternated with interdisciplinary working sessions to come up with challenges to address big societal problems using technology (such as Blockchain).

What makes this technological revolution so valuable to me is that it triggers us to fundamentally re-think our current system and our underlying values.

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Elisa Achterberg


MAAK JEZELF LEEG EN JE WORDT VOL


Ik was er even tussenuit voor de geboorte van ons eerste kindje, Hella. Een tijd waarin ik technè tou biou – Plato’s term voor het ambacht van het leven – heb kunnen beoefenen. Dat de zorg voor huis en gezin zo’n grote hoeveelheid gevoel, verbeelding en creativiteit zou opleveren had ik niet kunnen vermoeden. Werk vertroebelt soms het vermogen om dichtbij te zien en daarmee bedoel ik dát wat zich het dichtst bij ons bevindt. Het wonder van de geboorte heeft mij de poëzie van het dagelijks leven doen terugvinden. Mijn werk hoort daar ook bij en heeft voor mij veel zielewaarde; fijne werkplekken, veel vrijheid en een groot gevoel van gemeenschappelijkheid met collega’s en partners. Ik herpak daarom met nieuwe energie en levenslust mijn werkzaamheden waar heel veel leuke uitdagingen liggen te wachten, waaronder de samenwerking met Waag bij de oprichting van het Commons Lab en een Community of Practice rondom cryptovaluta voor circulaire pay-per-use modellen!

Tijdens het werken aan concrete oplossingen voor het financieren van circulaire innovatie (zie bio voor een kleine verzameling van werk) raakte ik er steeds meer van overtuigd dat er fundamentele zaken zijn in ons financieel systeem die een circulaire economie tegenwerken[1]. Maar wat nu als we een monetair systeem konden ontwerpen dat ecosysteem functioneren en menselijk welzijn stimuleert? Waardoor er een hechte relatie ontstaat tussen de zorg voor de wereld waarin we leven (ecologie) en de zorg voor de kwaliteit van onze manier van leven (economie)? Waardoor geld zich niet ophoopt bij een kleine groep in de samenleving, maar distributief is? Waardoor het niet vloeit naar plaatsen waar het bijdraagt aan de uitputting van de aarde, maar regeneratief[2] is op lange termijn?

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Elisa Achterberg


Why will we buy ‘light’ rather than lamps in the future?


Perhaps a better question is: “Who will own the light on your bedside table?”

In this lecture at the Dutch University, Elisa Achterberg answers the question “Why will we buy ‘light’ rather than lamps in the future” and talks about her career from econometrician in financial risk management, through permaculture designer, to researcher into the role of the financial system in a circular economy. The revenue model of the linear economy: selling products that are ‘almost broken’ is a thing of the past. In a circular economy, revenue models for the future are developed, in which economic incentives shift to sustainability and cooperation. However, the pressing question that Elisa is currently addressing is how do we ensure that the circular economy is truly a system change and not a business-as-usual situation? Now that the financial world has woken up and is eager to join, it is time to be extra alert. Who is going to make those new circular products and who will take the lead? And who makes sure that the money flows in the right direction? View the lecture here.

Elisa Achterberg


Sustainable finance, all by itself


When we started to work on the ecological part of sustainable finance some five years ago, with our report on the impact of the carbon bubble on the European financial system, this at times could feel quite lonely. It was up to us to push the message with people on the other side of the table, mostly looking highly skeptical, if now outright bored.

Now, returning after a four month sabbatical, I find reports by an FSB taskforce on financial climate disclosure and by the EU expertgroup on sustainable finance. My six wonderful colleagues at the Sustainable Finance Lab are working with leading Dutch financial institutions on finding ways to finance fair and circular smartphones, started two Horizon 2020 programmes on the financing of eco-innovations (INNOPATHS and NATURVATION) and our co-chair gave a presentation on the circular economy in parliament. By invitation of the Dutch central bank financial institutions are making progress in diverse fields as carbon accounting and climate risk assessment, sustainable finance education and impact measurement. The Sustainable Pension Investment Lab has gone live. The movement for now also greening monetary policy is gaining momentum. Just to name some highlights.

So can I go back travelling? Maybe I can, but then again, the issues at stake are just too interesting, and the urgency for change so big, not to want to be involved. How can our quickly increasing insight into the financial risk of climate change, but also biodiversity loss and other ecological issues, be used by financial risk managers and supervisors? And what about the social dimension of sustainability?  What should the sustainable model mandates that the EU expertgroup discussed in its interim report look like? And in what way is the whole phenomenon of purpose driven business relevant to finance?  Questions we will answer in the year ahead.

Rens van Tilburg


Sustainable finance, all by itself


When we started to work on the ecological part of sustainable finance some five years ago, with our report on the impact of the carbon bubble on the European financial system, this at times could feel quite lonely. It was up to us to push the message with people on the other side of the table, mostly looking highly skeptical, if now outright bored.

Now, returning after a four month sabbatical, I find reports by an FSB taskforce on financial climate disclosure and by the EU expertgroup on sustainable finance. My six wonderful colleagues at the Sustainable Finance Lab are working with leading Dutch financial institutions on finding ways to finance fair and circular smartphones, started two Horizon 2020 programmes on the financing of eco-innovations (INNOPATHS and NATURVATION) and our co-chair gave a presentation on the circular economy in parliament. By invitation of the Dutch central bank financial institutions are making progress in diverse fields as carbon accounting and climate risk assessment, sustainable finance education and impact measurement. The Sustainable Pension Investment Lab has gone live. The movement for now also greening monetary policy is gaining momentum. Just to name some highlights.

So can I go back travelling? Maybe I can, but then again, the issues at stake are just too interesting, and the urgency for change so big, not to want to be involved. How can our quickly increasing insight into the financial risk of climate change, but also biodiversity loss and other ecological issues, be used by financial risk managers and supervisors? And what about the social dimension of sustainability?  What should the sustainable model mandates that the EU expertgroup discussed in its interim report look like? And in what way is the whole phenomenon of purpose driven business relevant to finance?  Questions we will answer in the year ahead.

 

Rens van Tilburg


ECB should look out the window more often


On June 14th ECB Vice President Vitorio Constancio gave a speech at Utrecht University School of Economics on the ECB’s negative interest rate experiment. It was a most interesting lecture in which he argued the equilibrium real interest rate (the rate at which demand and supply for capital equalize) in Europe and much of the West may in fact be negative. Secular stagnation due to low productivity growth, labor replacing technological change and sluggish demand may have pushed demand below capacity and the real interest rate at which Western economies achieve full employment at stable inflation rates could then be negative. A most interesting proposition.

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Mark Sanders


Investors can learn a thing or two from the natural world


While humans have been learning from nature for thousands of years, a formal concept “biomimicry” – which seeks inspiration from nature to solve complex human problems – is more recent. Nature constitutes the source of inspiration for many new products and processes among diverse fields, for example, Tokyo’s rail system inspired by slime molds, Shinkansen bullet train inspired by the kingfisher’s beak and wind turbine blades designed based on humpback whales. These nature-based innovations will play an important role in the transformation towards our vision of a sustainable future.

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Why this Capital Markets Union is a bad idea


In a few months European Parliament will take a vote on the European Commission’s proposal known as the European Capital Markets Union. This proposal aims to create a single European market for capital and eliminate all remaining barriers to cross border investments in the EU. As with the single markets for goods, services, energy and labor, this is, in principle, a good idea. A single market allows for a more efficient use of our limited resources and benefits investors as well as those looking for funding. Moreover, Eurogroup chairman Dijsselbloem has said (e.g. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/nl/press/press-releases/2015/11/04-jd-speech-tatra-summit/) such a Single European Capital Market can help stabilize the Eurozone. It allows surplus countries to invest their excess savings in deficit countries, thus diversifying risk and synchronizing the European business cycle. The Capital Market Union thus aims to mobilize more investment and allocate it better across the EU to help stabilize the Monetary Union.

 

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Mark Sanders


Friend or Foe? Securitization and the Dutch mortgage boom


The revival of the securitization market lies at the heart of the European Commission’s initiative to launch a pan-European capital market union (CMU). Securitization, as an additional source of funding for banks are considered as the solution of unlocking more investments for all companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the EU.[1] However, questionably as securitization in recent history has been mainly used for funding residential mortgages. This note explores the role of securitization in financing Dutch mortgage boom over the last decade.

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