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Be Your Change

22 EpisodesProduced by Juliette RoyWebsite

We amplify the voices of women change makers who are building a more equitable, sustainable and inclusive world one episode at a time. In our show, we take you on a journey across the globe to understand the solutions women are creating to impact the world. We also look at gender equality in media … read more

17:48

How to Spend Your Money To Create A Better World

Rosa Lee Harden: Rosa believes that the entire world stands a better chance if we focus on impact investing. 

Fair trade and changing the world starts by looking at how we spend money, from daily purchases to long term pension funds. Today on Be Your Change, we explore impact investing. The term has different meanings for different people, but ideally, we must ensure our investment has a good impact on the world. We get insights on impact investing from Rosa Lee Harden, a leader in the social impact movement and co-founder of Social Capital Markets (SOCAP). SOCAP is a large network of investors and entrepreneurs who want money to flow towards the greater good.

In this interview, we talk to Rosa Lee Harden about the meaning of impact investing, and how we can join this movement even though we don’t have a large amount of money to invest.

 

We have to start investing in a way that protects the planet, that protects its people. And I'm really hopeful that this movement is going to have a lot to do with that. The challenge to us is getting the word out to mainstream that there is this different way of investing, that is impact investing.

What Is Impact Investing?

Impact investing is when you take your investment portfolio and instead of just thinking about how much money you're going to make with your investment, you consider more important things. Think about what your money's doing, and how it is behaving out in the world. You should also consider the values that the investment company holds compared to yours. You may discover that you are investing in an ammunition plant or in a company that makes products with slave laborers or things that you ideally would really object to.

Ideally, you should employ investment strategies that ensure your investment will go towards things that you approve of first. And beyond that, your investment must have an impact in that it will change the world for good. This concept was developed about 10 to 15 years ago but it is rapidly influencing people’s investment decisions. People are understanding that their money can make a difference. That is the whole essence of impact investing.

The Inequality gap. According to Oxfam, the inequality gap has widened so much that the ‘world’s richest 1% gets 82% of the wealth’. (SOURCE: OXFAM/ oxfamblogs.org)

3 bits of Advice For Anyone who might not consider themselves investors because they can’t afford $50,000 dollars to invest?
  1. It is not only about investment: With impact investing, the focus shouldn’t be on the size of your investment but on placing your money among people who share your values. Well, it’s not just about the size of the investment. It could be the $100 that you put in a credit union. You should investigate your bank. Do you appreciate its values? If you don’t, then look for a credit union or a smaller local bank that supports your local community. Figure out what your values are and find a banking institution that supports them. Don’t worry if sometimes you never have any money to invest, instead, you should find solace in knowing that at least you allowed your money to be co-mingled with the money of other like-minded people.
2. Be Mindful On How You Spend Your Money

More than just what you do with investments what do you do with your money in general matters even more. Maybe you start looking more carefully at food labels about is it organically grown? Is it locally grown? Is it grown in a way that is good for the planet? Or you look at some of your clothing options and make sure that at least a few things that you buy that you know that it came from a factory that didn't use slave labor in any way. I think the key is to build products that don’t have a negative impact on the environment.

Find something in your life is OK in this area of my life, this is where I'm going to work to do a better job of being a conscious consumer.

As Beyourchange, we appreciate your obvious dedication to making a difference in the world. We see you are in the trench every day working at creating a better world for the future generation – towards impact investing. What are the most exciting trends you are witnessing in your community that give you hope for the future?

I am very hopeful we will not be able to turn the other way and say, “Well you know I just you know I live my life”. You can't live your life in a society that is so blatantly disrespectful of humanity. And one of the tenets I try to live my life by is to respect the dignity of every human being. And I'm hopeful that will become a mantra in this country that we respect the dignity of every human being.

3. Educate Yourself

Remember, the best thing that we can do as consumers is to educate ourselves about where our money is spent. Know about your bank, know their values. Think twice when you buy a product. Are you perpetuating a bad system? Or are you supporting companies with a social impact mission? And, if you are thinking of investing, ensure you understand what is being done with your money and the impact your investment has on the world. How we spend money is a form of activism and can be a direct route to a more equal society.

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