I grew up in a family where both parents were diplomats, moving between seven countries in 18 years and going exclusively to American overseas schools.
Having travelled to more than 100 countries and done business in more than 20, including Asia, South America and Africa, I have broad experience in international negotiations and transactions; in particular in the energy and renewable energy sectors. I am fluent in English, German, Norwegian, Swedish and can carry basic conversations in French.
When I was 22 years old, I wrote a document that would be guiding me for the rest of my life; my Philosophic Master Plan. In it I described how we could attach benevolent acts to existing human behaviour in an attempt to help the earth and its natural systems.
This resulted in my creating consumer groups, where thousands of people would join to get better prices on goods and services than they could get on their own - while doing good. We would send part of the cash flow to philanthropic projects. The act of giving was attached to the act of receiving.
Before turning 30, I had already built a purchasing organisation representing more than 10,000 companies. This company delivered oil and electricity to government institutions, the military and large international corporations, and street lighting in major cities. This first purchasing group reached an annual turnover of Euro 50 million by 1996, five years after being formed.
When the European electricity markets started deregulating in the early 1990s, I founded the first of several very powerful purchasing organisations that combined the purchasing power of thousands of companies into one giant buyer. This shifted the negotiating power from supplier to buyer, while also creating many enemies for myself.
Almost 100 years of electricity monopolies had made European power suppliers complacent, and they saw no point in taking customers from each other, as this would lead to a downward price spiral and lower profits. In essence, therefore, as far as small and medium sized buyers were concerned, the markets went from monopoly to informal cartel. I essentially broke these cartels by combining thousands of companies purchasing volume and forcing competition.
The speed and ease with which I built my purchasing groups worried existing energy companies. They retaliated by paying PR companies to create discrediting media campaigns, first against my companies, and then against me directly as a founder. For the decades that followed, no matter what project I would work on, I would be faced with negative press campaigns.
I was routinely called to VIP meetings with oil and energy companies asking me to “slow down” and stay away from certain large buyers. When I failed to play along with this, the media campaigns intensified, and continued even when I consulted for other industries.
To avoid this happening in the future I have become less of a revolutionary and more of a bridge building in recent years. Instead of competing with large energy companies, we now approach them and work with them to get rid of their CO2 emissions. Instead of trying to make Carbon Negative Diesel ourselves, we will partner with giant companies that would otherwise be our competitors. We have positive dialogues already with some of the world’s largest energy companies, so I feel older and wiser. Confrontation and competition must be a thing of the past, for everyone, if we are to turn things around on our living planet.
In 1999 I helped to create a purchasing organisation for individual consumers, whereby tens of thousands of consumers could buy electricity, telecom, insurance and other services together as one buyer — again at a much lower price than if they were buying alone.
During its peak activity in early 2000s, we were switching more than 1,000 electricity customers to a new supplier each week in one major Swedish city alone. It did not take long for the local electricity provider to panic completely; losing 1,000 electricity customers each week was simply too much to bear. Predictably, their response was to hire more PR agencies, and a huge smear campaign was started against my purchasing organisation.
Again there was very bad press. Stories filled with false information were circulated to try to scare consumers away.
In the beginning I felt these news stories were all unjust and wrong, I had this image of myself as a white knight fighting the good fight for consumers and making them stronger as they acted together as one versus giant energy companies. Since then I have become older and wiser.
I also thought I was a good father, while I wasn’t. I can thankfully say that I am today.
So while I thought it was journalists and other competitors that were damaging my name, I later understood it was karma. I had not always acted in the best interest of others, and I had also acted out of fear. When fear is your guide, things can go awfully wrong.
I had worked 18 hours a day to build a company with Euro 2,000 starting capital to reaching 500 million in revenues in just 5 years, but on one fateful day in January 1996 one of our power companies accidentally sent my company Euro 800,000. The amount was supposed to be Euro 8,000 - 100 times less; an accountant had typed too many zeroes into their transfer.
In my defence of what happened next I can say; 1) the money arrived on our company account that routinely had between 1 and 4 million euro on it, 2) I never personally touched the money - it simply went into my company’s cash flow, and 3) we did start repaying the amount a while after it arrived. But the truth is also that my company was struggling that winter of 1996, we had cash flow problems like every winter when outgoing electricity payments often were higher than incoming payments (due to colder than expected winter) and I knew that this erroneously sent money would help the situation. I was afraid of becoming illiquid, I was afraid of failing my 40 employees, and I was afraid most of all for myself - to lose what I then thought was my life’s work. A painful lesson to never let fear or your own ego make decisions.
So I did not return this payment right away to the power company that made the payment. I knew I had committed no crime by involuntarily receiving wrongly sent money, but deep down I knew that I was morally responsible to send this money back immediately instead of “in a while”.
For this I was later indicted for embezzlement. So life is just.
Though I hadn’t broken law as it was written, my case went to the supreme court where two out of five judges said that I could not have “criminal intent” when I was the involuntary recipient of a mistakenly sent money. However, three judges (in a 3:2 decision) said that this could be viewed as embezzlement if one stretched the law, and I was convicted to two years in prison and I was barred from being a director in a company for 5 years.
Why do I say I hadn't broken the law as it was written? Simply because the law states that embezzlement is "using money that has been entrusted to you". First of all, money sent by mistake to another company is not "entrusted to you". Secondly, I did not take any of this money out of my own company's account, nor did I take it out of the senders account. So technically, this conviction required an enormous stretch of the law, beyond what UN conventions allow. If what you have done is NOT in conflict with the wording of a law, or legal precedent, you should be acquitted.
That said, my case was reopened by the supreme court in 2012 and they acquitted me on almost all accounts, including the 5 years of being barred of being a company director
The problem with the media is that they usually print the bad news, but not the subsequent acquittals.
I have found that the only real solution to false news is this: always do what you say. That has been my motto in Skymining and in creating a new generation of Carbon Negative Fuels. I still make the mistake that every entrepreneur makes - some things take longer than we expect - but we always deliver on what we have said we will do.
We have said we will plant grass on marginal land, that we will reverse the carbon flow, that we will have fuel producing assets, and customers and much more. We have said we will develop Skymining into a service that can be attached to consumerism itself. For the last 10 years I have delivered on all of these promises and more, the only exception being that things took longer.
When my spiritual awakening began during 2012 I decided to change my name to the archetype that best suits the work I am doing; I changed my name to Carl Pendragon.
According to the Arthurian legend, King Arthur and his knights were searching for the Holy Grail. According to legend, the Grail was the chalice that caught the blood of Christ when he was on the Cross - and it was said to be able to heal the land. But the truth is closer to home: in the 1980s movie ‘Excalibur’ it is Arthur’s loyal knight Percival who finds the Grail - and it turns out to be a spiritual truth, not a spiritual object.
At the end of the movie Percival has a near-death experience, and in it he has a vision: he sees a white light and he is asked in a deep voice: “What is the secret that I have lost?”. The voice came form King Arthur. And Percival answers: “You and the land are one”. And that is what I consider the secret: humanity and the earth are one, the trees are extensions of our lungs, just as every part of each ecosystem performs a necessary function in keeping humans alive. The true body of the human being is the living planet earth, and not our bag of flesh and bones.
When we are ill, the earth is ill, and vice versa. This we must embrace, and together we must go through the biggest metamorphosis in human history.
I wish to share now the secrets I have discovered, and do all in my power to reconnect us to our living mother Earth - starting, of course, with me.
Changing a name is a serious decision, and usually controversial because the traditional motive is to hide an uncomfortable truth. In my case it was done to hide things that are negative but untrue. I also did it to give myself a “second chance” to live a better life, be a better man, and live a life of service. If anyone reading this would like more information about the previous name, or a copy of still existing negative press, please contact me.