Three Ways to Happiness

The second Tri Hita Karana Forum returned to Bali in October 2018, five years after the inaugural gathering. The Forum aims to align global action for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular focus on mobilizing private capital and innovation for the SDGs in Indonesia and South East Asia. As the fourth most populous country in the world, and one of the fastest growing emerging markets, Indonesia’s leadership on sustainable development is critical.

Tri Hita Karana is a traditional Balinese philosophy of life, meaning ‘Three Ways to Happiness’. The literal translation is ‘Tri’ for three, ‘Hita’ for happiness and ‘Karana for causes or ways. The three ways to happiness are: (i) harmony of people with people, (ii) harmony of people with nature and (iii) harmony of people with the spiritual. Participants across the Forum were invited to consider this philosophy as they engaged in their sessions.

 President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo in the audience at the Tri Hita Karana Forum

President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo in the audience at the Tri Hita Karana Forum

The Forum featured a swathe of exciting announcements and partnerships. Highlights included:

The launch of the Sustainable Commodities Conservation Mechanism (SCCM), an innovative financial mechanism to promote long-term conservation through global commodity markets. Developed by environmental startup Lestari Capital, the initiative is a landmark success for the Partnerships for Forests program. Lestari Capital mobilizes private sector finance for ecosystem restoration, conservation and community forestry projects that deliver climate, community and biodiversity impacts over a 25-year time period. Initial finance will come from palm oil companies which need to support conservation projects as part of new sustainability commitments associated with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The announcement was made alongside the DFID Permanent Secretary, and Lestari’s first client, Cargill Tropical Palm Oil. Read more here.


Every day we aim to integrate the cost of landscape conservation and restoration into the operational costs of corporate actors. We felt that our ideas gained real traction at the THK forum, which made it an incredible venue to launch our company and announce our first client.

- Gabriel Eickhoff, CEO, Lestari Capital


President Joko Widodo delivered a special address on the second day of the Forum, stating that Indonesia can show the rest of the world how to be happy. “We may not be the richest, we may not be the most advanced, but it turns out we are among the happiest people in the world,” said President Widodo speaking in front of the more than 400 people attending the Forum. The President pointed to a 2018 study which found that Indonesians were the most optimistic people in the world, and the eighth happiest people in the world.

President Widodo called on the audience to look beyond materialistic desires and the pressures of modern life, to instead focus on the simpler things: “we should remember to ask from time to time, are you happy?” The President’s message found a receptive audience at the Forum. Named after the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana, or the “Three Ways to Happiness” through the harmony with people, nature and the spiritual. President Widodo thanked participants at the Forum for the innovative and ground-breaking work that is taking place to finance the SDGs, saying “blended finance will help reduce suffering, poverty and ignorance.”

sonny and signing.JPG

Champions support the “SDG Indonesia One” Blended Platform led by the Ministry of Finance and Indonesia’s national infrastructure financing institution, PT SMI (Sarana Multifinance Infrastruktur) SDG Indonesia One is targeting US$4 billion for largescale green infrastructure projects. Funds collected through the platform have already reached US$2.34 billion. Read more here.

FOLU Indonesia lead Sonny Mumbunan outlined the challenges and opportunities Indonesia faces to partner sustainable food and land use systems with strong and resilient economic growth. Sonny shared his at two points during the Forum - during the Plenary Session and in the FOLU-hosted session on financing sustainable food and land use systems. Read more on the FOLU session here.