Philanthropy

LODH Shows Global Concerns and Social Conscience

Paul Adams, Geneva, 11 May 2007

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Last Friday was a pleasant spring day in Zurich. Bankers were taking lunch breaks by the lake and families were out together not least because KNIE, the Swiss National Circus, was in town.

Last Friday was a pleasant spring day in Zurich. Bankers were taking lunch breaks by the lake and families were out together not least because KNIE, the Swiss National Circus, was in town.

But there was another attraction that was drawing their attention. This was the "Lebendig" (Alive), an exhibition of outstanding animal photographs devised by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Sponsored by Swiss Private Bankers, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, the exhibition is aimed at raising public awareness of the issue of sustainable development.

This free exhibition, which is presently located near Circus KNIE's big top, features 80 large posters with photos of the animal kingdom, taken by the world's most famous animal and scientific photographers, including Frans Lanting, Jim Brandenburg, and Art Wolfe.

The photos show the magical world of wild animals, with all their amazing variety, vigour, and vulnerability. From starfish to clown fish, jumping spiders to thirsty lions and mountain gorillas, the exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through the kingdom of terrestrial and marine animals that is designed to amaze and stir.

Indeed I had to juggle position behind a group of ten to get a good view of one of the exhibits.

Aside from its aesthetic components, the main aim of "Lebendig" is to show the impact that humans have on our planet. Featuring alongside many of the photos are sentences about the terrible environmental consequences of aspects of human behaviour, together with statistics showing the devastating implications for the present and the future.

Take, for example, the fact that every year 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed, 7 million tons of surplus fish are caught, and 5 million people die from dirty drinking water. The exhibition also highlights the sustainable development such as the production of "green petrol" in Brazil and the promotion of wind energy in France.

"The aim of this exhibition is not just to sharpen people's awareness, but to bring about an absolutely vital change in behaviour," said Yann Arthus-Bertrand, founder of GoodPlant.org.
"Touring with its traveling zoo, Circus KNIE has been bringing the rich variety of the animal world to many generations of Swiss people," said Fredy Knie, "so when we were approached to host the "Lebendig" exhibition, we immediately agreed.

After all, it is playing its part in introducing humans to fauna, and raising society's awareness of the beauty and dignity of the animal kingdom."

Circus KNIE is a modern circus and is renowned for the respect and care it shows for its animals both at the circus and at its zoo, where many of them are bred. Over the coming eight months the "Lebendig" will accompany the circus on its tour of major Swiss cities - Basel, Bern, Geneva and Lausanne.

Thierry Lombard, Senior Partner of LODH said: "Circus KNIE and our firm have shared the same vision for 200 years – communicating respect for the environment as a fundamental value. By supporting this unique exhibition in Switzerland, and by promoting the work of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, we are demonstrating how much we want to be involved in the wider community, and how concerned we are to hand down our shared heritage to future generations – this is fully in keeping with the spirit of GoodPlanet.org's slogan, ‘What we do shapes the future’. Sustainable development is a core fundamental for our firm, and one that we live every day, not least because we manage 5.6 billion Swiss francs of socially responsible investment".

Mr Lombard told WealthBrifing:"the younger members of our family clients are extremely conscious of the need for urgent environmental action and a sustainable approach to wealth creation and preservation. They and the funds that the bank manages demand that we take a lead in this direction".

He recalled that for LODH this is not a new approach. In 1840, Alexander Lombard was visiting North America where he observed two different economic models. One in the south using slaves and the other, in the north, without. At that time the bank advised clients to invest in enterprises in the north because the system in the south was unsustainable.

There is another advantage to this long-term approach to wealth management. Richard Nahmani, managing director, LODH Zurich, told WealthBrifing."It is a great staff motivator. I had never seen all our 150 staff based in Zurich so motivated as they were when we all crossed the road to visit the "Lebendig" earlier today".

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