In this exclusive masterclass video, fashion entrepreneur and ESG investor Veronica Chou and HSBC Global Private Banking & Wealth's Fan Cheuk Wan share tips for how you can make a positive impact through more sustainable choices
Women truly want to make a difference with their money. That was one takeaway from The WealthiHer Network's 2020 research report, The Changing Faces of Women’s Wealth, which found that a majority of respondents recognise “less harm” is no longer an option.
It’s increasingly important to change how we do business, invest, and consume to combat the global climate crisis and safeguard the next generation. Indeed, WealthiHer’s latest research shows that 87 per cent of women in Asia want to invest with the future in mind.
Veronica Chou, founder of Everybody & Everyone, whose products are made from recycled materials, and Fan Cheuk Wan, managing director, chief investment officer for Asia, Global Private Banking and Wealth, HSBC each bring valuable perspectives on how to be a more conscientious consumer and investor. They share what inspired their passion for sustainability along with actionable takeaways in this exclusive masterclass, created by WealthiHer in partnership with Front & Female. Check out the video—using the timestamps to skip to each woman’s story and tips—and read highlights below.
1. Rethink how and where you shop
Asia's Most Influential honouree Veronica Chou is a huge advocate of pre-loved fashion and believes that women should aim to buy as much as they can second hand or vintage. She also highlights the alternatives of renting high-end items and sharing and swapping clothes with your friends.
If you do buy new items, she recommends prioritising everyday essentials that you can wear many times and that are made with organic or recycled materials. “Look for companies and brands that share your mission,” she says.
2. Educate yourself about how fashion is made
The more you learn about sustainability, the better you’ll be able to evaluate your options and understand which is the most sustainable. For instance, just as you may ask what is in your food, you can consider what is in your clothes—how are they made? What dyes are used?
Chou credits her older brothers for educating her on material science, and she now invests in innovative companies that make things in new ways, such as Modern Meadow, which grows leather in a lab.
She also references studies that have shown that the more sustainable a business, the better it does when it comes to long-term results. “Consumers want that, it’s really where the world is going,” says Chou, who encourages business leaders to continue pushing forward and exploring creative solutions.
3. Collaborate and share innovative ideas
An enormous problem like climate change can’t be tackled alone, which is why it is vital that businesses share information and find ways to work with and support others. In the past, the fashion industry has been very secretive, according to Chou. “But now if there is a technology, if there is a new fabric that is better than the conventional way, we should share it with more people,” she says. “Collaboration is important across people, companies, and countries.”
4. Align your wealth goals with your life goals
Academic research has shown that female investors are more likely to adopt a values-based approach, says Wan, and they are also more inclined to invest in vehicles that will make a positive difference to the world.
Wan has observed that her own female clients want to connect their wealth goals with their life goals. The more you understand your values, the better you will be able to make aligned investment choices and build a resilient portfolio that will generate income and capital gains to support your life goals. Portfolio diversification is also an important rule of thumb.
5. Use tech tools to inform your investing
Wan has found that women prefer a fact-based investment approach, which means that they tend to be more diligent when it comes to researching company fundamentals. This, in turn, helps them to build a more robust process, which protects their portfolios and mitigates risk.
Technological innovation has helped remove traditional barriers that previously limited access for women. Today, they can easily undertake online research and uncover market information, all of which can help them to obtain critical input that will influence their investment decisions.
6. Involve the next gen in sustainability
Both Chou, who has twin boys, and Wan, who has teen girls, recommend talking to children from an early age about the impact of our choices and the importance of looking out for the environment. Involve them in family decisions about sustainability, including where you invest and how you spend your money. The more we do this, the more responsible global citizens we’ll create.
Wan has made a point to bring her daughters along on eco tours and interactive field trips from a young age to immerse them in different habitats, from the rainforest to the savannah. “I believe this has changed their mindset and values and that going forward they will embrace their life purpose to build a constructive relationship with the environment and start their sustainability journey.”
Wan points out that they do something similar with HSBC's next generation clients by arranging trips to the rainforest in Borneo. “We help them acquire first-hand information and experience in understanding the importance of sustainability and how we can make an impact to preserve our world and make it a better future for the next generation.”
This masterclass and the research behind the article were produced by The WealthiHer Network as part of its partnership with Front & Female. WealthiHer is on a mission to drive the economic advancement and empowerment of women on a global scale by equipping them with the knowledge, tools, and confidence they need to prosper.
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