Dia Mirza, an actor and producer, is the UN Environmental Goodwill Ambassador and UN Secretary-General’s Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. She is also an eco-investor and global ambassador for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, as well as being an ecological entrepreneur.
As an environmental advocate, she puts her money where her mouth is and has invested in sustainable companies such as home care and kitchen products company Beco India, children’s wooden toy company Shumee, organic clothing brand for babies and children Greendigo and the bamboo diapers and wipes company. All.
In a conversation with Forbes Advisor India, Mirza talked about why he thinks sustainable investing is the need of the hour, why it’s urgent to rethink the investments we’re making, and ways you can start investing sustainably.
What different aspects of investing are you exploring and why sustainable investing?
Let me start by clarifying that I am no kind of expert. The only way to respond to the market is from my heart. And I truly believe in the power of healthy investments to contribute to the health of the planet.
A lot of what I’m doing now with investing my resources comes from a place of understanding conscious capitalism and investing in companies and organizations that care about both people and the planet. And that’s really the benchmark.
I believe in the importance of doing a good amount of research and understanding if the companies that are making the claims that they are, are they really talking and are they really aligned with the goals of sustainable development and are they really delivering on the promise of the values they stand for? And what really interests me are these very important factors.
The idea really is to encourage more people to understand how important it is to use our resources to build a healthier planet in a healthier world for our children. Because it’s time we became more discerning about how we spend our money, not just on our daily needs and essentials, but also on how we invest.
How can people in general be inspired to think before they invest, and how can they really engage and deliver their efforts in sustainable investing?
So if you’re dealing with a bank – a lot of people tend to take that traditional route of asking their banks to help them invest – the first thing to do is do a little research on what your bank finances. Does your bank finance fossil fuels? Does your bank finance the kind of organizations or companies that are destroying natural systems? If the answer is yes, you need to change banks. That is the first step.
The second is to align yourself with investment firms that ask all the right questions. And if you want to know which company is doing good for people and the planet, any company should be able to answer those questions for you. If the answer is no, you know, you shouldn’t be putting your money there.
Even if they come to you with a portfolio and say this is a great investment, you should be doing these mutual funds or these bonds, ask your investment advisor to give you data and research or some kind of information about the companies that they.” that you investigate based on whether the company is aligned with the ESG index and how it is impacting the planet.
What is the biggest challenge to be able to invest in a sustainable way?
When we think about wealth, I think the first thing we should address directly is that human well-being and growth, and peace and prosperity are directly related to the health of the planet. When we make investments with this in mind, the long-term benefits of these investments will be huge.
Do you think the influential fraternity’s sustainable investment efforts need to be fiercer?
Oh, absolutely. I think what we must collectively recognize is that we are living in a moment of profound crisis. And we have to stop living in denial, and all our attitudes, all our choices, affect everyone, everywhere. So forget being a part of any industry. I think that just like individuals as human beings, we need to become aware of the fact that we really need to change the dynamics, we need to change the systems we need to change a lot of things around us. And that means breaking old habits. That means understanding that sometimes what we perceive as comfortable or convenient is harmful.
And I absolutely agree with you that our choices need to get tougher. We need to make stronger, more informed choices when it comes to what we project into our everyday lives as well. What are we endorsing, what are we promoting? Who do we support?, what kind of stories do we tell, it impacts everything. And I really believe in the power of choice. And I believe that when we choose, we can inspire more people to do so.
What would you like to say to people who are not yet looking into sustainable investing? Are you interested, but do not know the way forward?
There will be no way forward if we do not take the sustainable path. And that is the truth facing the human species. We’ve wiped out 69% of wildlife in the last 50 years alone. Our ecosystem is in complete collapse.
If we, as human beings, don’t change the way we do business, if we don’t change the way we live, if we don’t change our consumption patterns, it will be a very, very dark future for our children. and our grandchildren, and within our lifetime, we will witness or encounter changes. So it’s time to wake up and make the changes we need to see.