2015 12 08 Lunch in UCL with Charles van der Haegen, Future Society Entrepreneur

Charles van der Haegen: Future Society Entrepreneur

Charles accumulated over 30 years of experience in the private sector. For the first 15 years
of this period, he worked for multi-national corporations. Over the subsequent 15-year
period, Charles founded a private partnership aimed at acquiring and developing mediumsized
industrial companies, financed by structured debt finance and private and institutional
equity. In 1996, he floated one company on the Paris Nouveau Marché stock exchange.
In 2000, after a life as a businessman and entrepreneur, he embarked on understanding why
he had been so caught by surprise in the Dot/Com Bubble. He licked his wounds, started to
read, study, learn, listen, reflect, and act in new ways, sensing how the world transformed.
He concluded that society at all levels, had trapped itself, at all levels, into a multitude of
institutional/technological lock-ins. He explored ways to escape this predicament so as to
allow the transition towards a more human, equitable, perennial, peaceful society.
He partnered and acted with visionaries, scientists and entrepreneurs who were questioning
existing paradigms, thinking and acting differently, sometimes radically, despite being almost
always isolated, often harshly silenced, yet remained uncompromising.
With courageous, visionary leaders he initiated major breakthrough successes in
fundamentally re-orientating organizations around new leadership patterns, with remarkable
success. Charles today still acts as a long-term independent thinker and external resource for
leaders of private and public companies, institutions, and communities in Europe.
At last, in September 2012, by chance, he saw a real possibility when his intimate friend of
over 30 year, Gunter Pauli, came to ask him to partner in developing the initiatives he had
been developing in Europe too. Indeed, since the publication of his book The Bleu Economy,
Gunter saw real interest dawning for his ideas and science as developed in ZERI (Zero
Emissions Research and Initiatives) and was confronted with some demand for implementing
"Blue Economy" projects in Europe. Both partners thus saw real possibilities appearing
capable for dissolving the omnipresent technological/institutional lock-ins in Europe and
decided to address this challenge head-on and create the means to succeed.
Charles's current work is to catalyse the emergence of local, national and thematic networks
of Blue Economy project teams, entrepreneurs and scientists, and to interweave these
networks with the BE networks elsewhere in the World. He is initiating and sometimes coleading
some projects, mainly in the field of Local Economic Development. He continues to
work with organizations to help them transition towards the future, in fields of transitioning
towards new business- , organizational- and managerial- models. He is also trying to catalyse
the emergence of new financial business models, in both Banking and Investments, that can
be supportive to Blue Economy initiatives and the emergence of societal breakthroughs for
the GOOD.