Think people first. It is actually common sense, but in a highly commercial industry this is sometimes forgotten
INTERVIEW - Meet the editorial board: Marieke de Leede
Fieke van der Lecq invites Marieke de Leede as the next participant in this ‘relay interview’. Her reason: ‘Marieke is an expert in human rights law. Human rights are of utmost importance. Investors may not realise what they can do to improve the compliance to human rights across the globe.’
What is your personal motivation to SHIFT TO?
I’m convinced that if we invest in responsible companies, we can add value for shareholders and society at the same time – and if you want to invest in sustainable companies, a long-term view is required.
How does this fit into your professional ambitions?
My aim is to contribute to a more sustainable and equal society. If the financial industry continues to focus on short-term results, we will fail to create long-term value for all of our stakeholders. This needs to change. I am aware it requires patience, but it all starts with raising awareness about the importance of a holistic view: to think about People, Planet and Profit as the ‘triple bottom line’ all of whom must benefit from the financial industry’s choices .
In your opinion, where should the financial industry be in seven years’ time?
The industry should move from a focus on money making to a focus on serving society. In such an industry, financial and societal targets go hand in hand.
Who should we definitely hear from in this newsroom?
Arnold Schwarzenegger: he demonstrates that if you really want something, you can achieve it. He is a great example of demonstrating a major SHIFT, from body builder to movie star, to a political player striving for a clean environment. He also demonstrates that small steps and (legal) changes are needed to reach a long term goal: fighting climate change.
Which issue is most urgent in your view/field of work?
Think people first. It is actually common sense, but in a highly commercial industry we sometimes forget to use this. Protecting people and the planet is key for establishing a long term sustainable society. Treat people and the planet the way you want to be treated yourself, and the world will be a better place. It is not too difficult, but it requires leadership and focus to establish this change in the financial sector.
Extra question from Fieke van der Lecq: How can investors make a difference to people whose human rights are violated?
Investors can use their influence and talk to the companies they invest in. They can start a dialogue and encourage companies to protect and respect human rights. If companies don’t respond to this request and continue to violate human rights, investors can divest and no longer provide capital to these companies. Most important in this process is active raising of awareness: use your voice as an investor to demonstrate that it is no longer accepteable for companies to make profits while violating human rights.
Marieke de Leede invites: Anna Grebenchtchikova as the next participant to this ‘relay interview’.
Reason: She is the youngest member of the Editorial board and we need young people to change our future.
And adds one question: How can we involve more students and young professionals in the network of SHIFT TO?
The members of the editorial board of SHIFT TO all have professional but also very personal reasons to join this initiative. In a ‘relay interview’ we learn more about their motivations as they ask each other: ‘Why do you want to SHIFT TO?’