Triodos Bank: Hey Johnny. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Johnny SD: So I’m a single guy in my early 30s who aspires to find, but hasn’t quite landed upon, that awesome thing that he should be doing. I’ve sampled a fairly diverse range of careers and ultimately landed a PhD in Biomedical Engineering in the process. I recently left regular employment and am wanting to dig into something that addresses global challenges more immediately. At some point, I’m intending to start an urban farming business. Done poorly, urban farming is just growing overpriced lettuce, but done right, I think that it can have a real impact.
TB: What do you value most in life?
JSD: People tell me that I say “big picture” too much, but that’s honestly what motivates me! I love being useful, but I’m not a natural carer, so I see my role as playing some behind-the-scenes part in improving the lives of as many people as possible. I’d like to exercise my technological chops to meet this end in a sustainable way.
TB: What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt?
JSD: Let me think about that… Never assume anything about someone, people always surprise you. Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. Finally: take note if you find yourself being overly self-reflective when someone asks you a question like this!
TB: What’s important to you when it comes to investing?
JSD: Essentially, it’s about who’s benefiting. Many investments won’t even disclose where the money is going. I’m uncomfortable with the thought that I might be blindly investing in things like arms, fossil fuels or crazy financial schemes. I want to know what my investment is funding and I want it to fund things that promote sustainability and equality.
TB: Why did you choose to invest in a Triodos SRI fund?
JSD: I came into some money and wanted to invest it where I new it would do some real good. Things like positive technolgoies, responsible businesses and microfinance, where individuals in the developing world can be given a wee leg up for the benefit of themselves in a world that is geared towards exploiting them. I found out that Triodos as one of very few organisations set up to do this at a level comparable to traditional banks. Your investment criteria fully allayed any questions about where my money would go and what I might end up investing in. And the return on investment seemed equal or even better than the majority of traditional investment organisations. It was a win-win.
TB: How do you think finance can be a force for good?
JSD: By ensuring that ethical and environmentally conscious businesses have money to grow, it will be possible to improve the world in spite of the system we now have. By lending to the little guy, we can help to beat a path towards equality and sustainable development by empowering the least powerful.
TB: What’s your best top tip?
JSD: Just like choosing where to invest, the more small things you can do to learn about the world, the better it is for you and for everybody else. Maybe one day you’ll learn something that lets you do a big good thing that seems easy.
Triodos Bank is about helping real people use their money to make a real difference. As a Triodos customer, Johnny was featured in our recent Socially Responsible Investment campaign. You can find out more about the campaign on the Triodos Bank website.
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