I joined your ranks as an economist from KPMG with some passion for entrepreneurship and an urge to discover the planet and human kind with Anne and our 3 kids and I left with Anne, 5 kids and the conviction that I had to change. I was very lucky, Shell took me on board and trusted I could lead some businesses through transformation. Am not sure why, perhaps by lack of vision or may be because for me entrepreneurship was about action rather than words, my life focused on our propensity for self-deception . Climate change, more women at the executive level, wars, crimes, famine, refugees, water and obviously food and health issues needed to be fixed. We want others to change without ever considering we too have to change. We far too often see other humans as objects that would enable us to fulfil our pleasures, desires, fears and greed rather than seeing them as equal. Our relationships with others is always conditional and so is our willingness to tackle the challenges faced by humanity. My transformation was therefore slow and painful! Not being on social medias and unable to indulge in blogging did not help. I just could not gain anything from thinking that my 7 billion fellow humans should change for the better, it is their call after all, not mine and we all see the same issues! We therefore decided to focus on soil. Soil is the source of life, food quality, natural resources and ultimately the honorary recipient of our detritus, the changing climate, our technologies and the environment. Unlike revolutions that tend to bring us back to the same starting point by definition, transformation is a deeply rooted slow process that causes change to be long lasting. I wondered whether growing stuff of extraordinary quality was actually possible if profit was not the main aim. It takes decades for a tree to grow, for its roots to absorb or channel excess water and for the soil to regain fertility without chemical support, without hormones, or medical treatment. We bought forests anywhere we could, anytime we could, collected thousands of rare trees and seeds, created jobs and above all realised that with time, a lot of money, knowledge sharing and patience we can turn a dead soil into heaven and heaven into earth. That is what I did with my life and that is what I do for work! My hobby remains what I do for Shell, its partners and customers worldwide, transforming the energy landscape and slowly but inevitably reducing its footprint and that too is an extraordinary privilege.
See you soon, your humble and obedient servant,