What businesses should know about tackling sustainable investing

Planning for the future health of our planet starts today, with everyone playing their part from little businesses all the way up to the global players.

Where you put your money can send a powerful message.

One example of this is UBS, which is investing more client money into companies that meet specific sustainability criteria, typically as part of sustainable portfolios that span a broad range of countries and sectors. UBS plans to direct $5 billion of client money over the next five years into impact investments related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“If you arent in the model of disruption disruption for the good then you will be disrupted.” -Nishan Degnarain

Nishan Degnarain, who chairs a Special Initiative on Oceans at the World Economic Forum and is co-author of the upcoming book Soul of the Sea: In the Age of the Algorithm, recently stopped by the Mashable office in New York to chat about all things sustainable investing on a special episode of #BizChats.

Watch the replay of the video above and read on to get tips from Degnarain and Rina Kupferschmid-Rojas, Head of Sustainable Finance at UBS, on all things sustainable business.

Tip #1 – Become a disruptor

Degnarain points to other companies that are reshaping the way we look at the world ones like Uber and Airbnb and says that its about time we applied the same approach to sustainable business models.

How can technology be used as a force for good for the future, he says. We need new technologies, we need to build new business models, and we need to look at how we could augment our capacity.

Tip #2 – Make sustainability core to your values

Dont let sustainability be an afterthought it should be a driving force behind operations and should seamlessly integrate with how business gets done.

Degnarain believes that businesses of the future will need to have sustainability as a core part of their business models and the entire supply chain. Its about creating new values not about optimizing within the current structure, Degnarain says.

Tip #3 – Pay attention to your supply chain

You dont have to own a sustainable business to take part in sustainable business. In other words, a more sustainable future is one where all business owners are taking a deep look at their supply chains and making decisions based on how what theyre doing can have a positive effect on our environment and our world.

By looking at that transparency of the supply chain, we can change the business practices in those countries from the retail side all the way down, Degnarain says.

Tip #4 Prove that the money is there

Businesses will have a greater license to spend more on sustainability-related causes if they can show investors this spending will improve their prospects and is likely to increase or unlikely to drag on long-term returns, says says Rina Kupferschmid-Rojas.

Tip #5 Take stock and prepare to adjust

While basic sustainability goals may not alter much over the long term, the ways businesses are able to support them can alter drastically, Kupferschmid-Rojas.

Investors should reassess them regularly, particularly when it comes to technological change, she says.

A business you may not have thought of as being sustainable one year may shift their values the next, creating new opportunities for sustainable investing in the process.

Tip #6 – Dream big

Some of the biggest players on the current market are the ones who havent let perceived barriers stand in their way. Instead, theyve pushed beyond what is already being done to dream about what could be done instead.

Take for example Elon Musks PayPal, who forever shifted the way we exchange money.

This kind of out-of-the-box thinking has led us to entirely new ways of doing business.

We need creativity. We dont need left brain, logical thinking. We need that right brain, entrepreneurship and creativity to really rethink the business models of the future, Degnarain says.

Tip #7 Champion the wins

A good way to get people paying attention to sustainability is by championing the businesses that are doing things right, and bringing attention to why this path is the correct move.

Businesses should not only try to move the needle on sustainability but prove they are doing so and raise awareness, says Kupferschmid-Rojas. Showcasing sustainability’s rewards helps inspire others to take the same path.

Watch the video below to learn about how The Ocean Cleanup is driving impact investment.

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#BizChats + Sustainable Investing

Paid Content by UBS // On this episode of #BizChats + Sustainable Investing, we're learning about the importance of investing in sustainable causes with Nishan Degnarain, author of 'Soul of the Sea' in partnership with UBS

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