I had the opportunity to have breakfast this morning with the CE-YO (title of CEO for a yogurt company) of Stonyfield Farm, Gary Hirshberg. Gary is the author of the recent best-seller Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World and Chief Executive Officer for the multi-million dollar yogurt and organic food manufacturer. Although, I do not share common political beliefs with Gary, he had a lot of great wisdom to share that applies to everyone regardless of your political or religious views.
Here is an environmental activist putting his money where his values are. I asked him a question about the premise of my upcoming book, The Faith-Based Millionaire: “Gary, you and I share a common opinion that people vote every day with the choices they make: where they work, where they spend their money and where they donate money. Yet, most people do not hold these same principles when they invest. Do you agree investing with values is important and what is your take?”
His response was that he personally only invests in companies that share his values. He has a process in place to make sure his investment dollars support companies in alignment with his beliefs. He also echoed my opinion that if investors, like you and me want to change this world, more and more change will happen in corporate board rooms. I couldn’t agree more with Gary. When you invest every day, you vote for something. Do you know what you are voting for? Do your investments reflect your morals, beliefs, and values?
Other lessons reflected: In order to succeed in business and your financial life, you need drive, motivation, and to stick to your principles. He also recommended being more involved politically and always asking, “why not?” Rather than accepting things as they are, Gary believes we should find ways to overcome all of our obstacles. He believes that we limit our success when we stop after facing difficulties. He is a big fan of social responsible investments and saving the environment. All of the choices he makes each day, he tries to vote with his belief system in mind.
Though I disagree with a lot of Gary’s personal political beliefs, his lessons and philosophies ring true with me. The Faith-Based Millionaire is about how you can change the world, change your finances, and bring glory to God. If we all took the same approach with moral responsible investing as Gary takes with social responsible investing, what a difference we could make!