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2.1 Interview with Troels Børrild, Autumn 2018. 

Previously we talked to Katherine Richardson, director and initiator of the Sustainability Science Centre at the University of Copenhagen. You can revisit the video here.  

In the interview below you'll meet Troels Børrild. He is the first person I have interviewed in the second thread of sending the relay on. Troels is Head of Responsible Investment at the Danish Pension Fund, MP Pension. 

If you are in a hurry, please read the3 main recommendations (written below the interview) that I have chosen to high light from the interview with Troels. Actions you can apply now.  

So why should we give Troels Børrild our attention? As he says in the video some banks have mentioned that investing your money wisely by choosing a bank or pension fund that invests your money sustainably has an effect up to 27 times higher than flying one times less per year, eating less meat every week and so on. 

Prior to working as Head of Responsible Investment at MP pension, Troels has 
- a background in advising companies on corporate responsibility and corporate sustainability and human rights issues in order to do better as a business and avoid loosing business. 

- he has also spent about 4 years on the side of civil society in an international NGO called Action Aid, where he worked on the same issues

Here are the 3 recommendations on what you can do as an individual to become more sustainable in your thoughts and actions according to Troels Børrild. If you wish, please sustain-apply!

1) Appreciate, research and understand the importance of responsible investment. 

Question: So with your background in responsible investment, what would be your number one advice for any individual to invest in a sustainable future? Just one advice.

In short he said:
It’s a big complex issue, but the one thing I would highlight is to appreciate and perhaps research and understand the importance of responsible investment.

Most people understand that there are things they can do and also politicians we would vote for and so on. Do they support climate friendly policies? So the one thing I’d highlight is, that it also matters how we invest our money! And most people that are fortunate enough to have a job, they at least in Denmark, are a part of pension schemes that are guaranteed by collective agreements. So every month most Danes pay a substantial amount of money, thousands of Danish crowns, to a pension fund or to a bank and they invest it on behalf of all of us. So it matters how you invest.


2) Ask your financial institutions the right questions

Question: If I had a nice portion of money that I would like to invest – what would you recommend for me to invest in and why?

In short he said: 
Well, it’s a big question. When it comes to investment, I’m not an advisor in terms of how to maximize your own returns. But what you need to look at is at positive impact and also potential risk. So what is it that can be achieved through a certain investment and what is the risk involved. So some projects promise a lot and could be great, but if they fail you’ll have lost your money and you won’t be able to put that money into other businesses or other projects that would also have positive impacts. So it’s really important to manage that balance between risk and potential return. Whether you’re looking for financial return or whether you’re looking to do good or to have a positive impact or combine the two. You need to manage that balance and for people who are very skilled and have a lot of time to study and understand what options are there to invest in then that’s great. But for most people they invest through asset managers, through a bank or through pension savings, so in that case, I would say, perhaps the easiest and the most important is to be conscious about the importance of responsible investments and start asking questions about it to the people and the organizations that are already investing on your behalf.

So it’s really about asking the right questions to your asset manager or your pension fund. And then that has also the added positive effect that it won’t just be your investment, your sum of money, but it will also be the total sum of money.

3) Manage the balance between risk and potential return.

Question: Would you recommend that someone would invest by setting money aside for their pension or that they invest in sustainable businesses or in both?

In short he said:
It’s not a neither or. It depends on the individual and your finances, right? So pension funds and we invest in businesses and we invest in shares and other asset classes, as it’s called. So it’s not either or. And you can do both if you have the means. Just be mindful of the level of risk, so you also have money next year to invest and you also have money when you retire at some point.

Finally) Who did Troels Børrild give the relay to?

The relay (the stuffed polar bear) goes to – Morten Lehman!

In short he said:
I would like to hear from Morten Lehman who is chief sustainability officer at Global Fashion Agenda. What his take is on the fashion industry becoming sustainable and what they are doing to solve these challenges. 



Interview by Celeste Elizabeth Arnold and film, sound and editing by Armina Dinescu

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