As the public face of Greenhouse, people often make assumptions about my diet and my lifestyle -- that it’s 100% clean and healthy. I’ll take the compliment but it’s really not the case! I do my best on all fronts, but I know life is full of surprises and life is all about balance.
I see people being so hard on themselves, especially at this time of year, a few weeks after the holiday Christmas party binge and into new years resolution perfectionism. I’ve fallen into that mindset before too, but these days, while I do my best to be “good,” I make allowances for real life.
Right now I think about green investing in the same way that I think about healthy living. It’s just one small piece of a larger goal to live all aspects of my life in a way that’s balanced and consistent with my values and the issues I care about.
I know that it wouldn’t make sense, for example, to push for carbon reduction measures at our juicing facility or commit to supporting small, organic producers, and then turn around and invest my personal savings in oil or massive agribusinesses whose practices I disagree with.
I’ve got a ways to go before you’d consider my investment portfolio to be “detoxed”
That said, I’m just getting started. I’ve still got some traditional investments and I’ve been taking my time learning about greener options, like fossil fuel free funds and even other impact investments. I’d love one day to be able to invest in sustainable agriculture and food, beyond the bootstrapped investments I’ve made personally in Greenhouse.
I’ve got a ways to go before you’d consider my investment portfolio to be “detoxed,” but if I had put pressure on myself to divest everything all at once and build the perfect, green investment portfolio, I’d have been paralyzed before I’d even taken the first step.
I’ve learned that being gentle with myself and aiming for balance over perfection is what keeps me on track. It’s the same with something like ethical investing or trying to run as sustainable a business as possible. If you burn yourself out you’re no good to the world. If you go a little easier on yourself and take things step-by-step, you’ll stay motivated and do more good in the long run.
If I had put pressure on myself to divest all my money all at once and build the perfect, ethical investment portfolio, I’d have been paralyzed before I’d even taken the first step.
The CoPower Green Bonds I invested in 2016 were my first impact investment, and I’ve actually already re-invested. They were a great entry point simply because I could actually understand how my money would be used -- to help fund clean energy projects -- and how I would be paid back -- from the sale of clean energy. That’s not something you can say for most investments.
Having been in this area myself for four years, I also have so much appreciation for other companies using business as a force for change. I know how much blood, sweat and tears goes into this especially when you’re doing something innovative and ethical.
It wouldn’t make sense to push for energy efficiency at our facilities, and then turn around and invest my personal savings in oil.
Running a company, you can’t realistically eliminate your ecological footprint, but at Greenhouse, we wanted to minimize ours as much as possible. Really early on we actually talked about the concentrated garbage patch the size of Texas in the Pacific and how our worst nightmare would be to add to it. So bottle collection was the first issue we committed to tackling.
Today we have a bottle return program and now, over time, we’ve gone several steps further. We make our juice from “seconds” a.k.a ugly fruit to reduce food waste, all organic and mostly local produce. We use electric delivery vehicles and have invested in energy efficiency in our production facilities.