Since she won audiences over with her portrayal of Reena Malhotra in 2001 hit Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, Dia Mirza has donned many hats – one of them is of an investor. Dia Mirza, part of many environmental initiatives and fan of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, has a string of green and sustainable start-ups that she has invested in. The actress-turned-activist is not only their investor but also their customer as she aims to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
Organic clothing company Greendigo, handmade wooden toys firm Shumee, eco-friendly household products company Beco, and bamboo baby diapers and organic wipes company Alter are only some of her investments. Mirza told Business Today that she is in conversation with several others. “I think what these four investments have done is really opened up conversations for many others to connect with us. It has sent out a very clear message that I am interested in supporting companies and organisations that are sustainable and truly believe in walking the talk and creating a safer world for our children,” she said.
For Mirza, it is important to know if these products are safe enough to use at home and with her children. She believes, if the products pass this simplistic but bankable test, they would “naturally extend itself to the definition of being natural, safe, free of toxins and harmful chemicals, and healthy for the planet”.
While she herself has adopted a sustainable lifestyle, getting masses to use the same has been challenging. However, she hopes that the association of her name with these products would make these products accessible and enable conscious parents to make better choices. The actress-turned-activist said that she did extensive research on natural diapers, sustainable clothing, natural clothing, safe-natural and sustainable toys for her child, which is when she found these brands.
Giving an example of how her investments also go hand-in-hand with her personal consumption, Dia Mirza said that she discovered Beco – a brand she invests in – when she was looking for alternatives for the products she uses at home. She said that Beco has grown a lot since 2019, which is evidence of the fact that more and more people are understanding the need for a sustainable lifestyle.
Similarly, she said that Greendigo – another company she invests in – does not only make organic clothes for children but also is a completely carbon-neutral company, and is aligned with all the 17 sustainable development goals.
Mirza pointed out that even though there is a cost difference, people are willing to invest in these products because they understand the price of not making more sustainable choices are far higher than the cost difference of purchasing regularly available products.
But that’s where the challenges lie. Like traditional businesses these companies need a robust business model too. Mirza believes that these companies aim to do good, more than they aim to make profits.
She also acknowledged that accessibility and cost differences make it harder for mass adoption of sustainable products and lifestyle. “The biggest lie that we have told ourselves as human beings is the lie of convenience – because what may appear to be convenient is in fact causing the biggest inconvenience in our lives. Climate disruption, pollution levels, loss of habitat, all of these things impact everybody’s life everywhere and it is incumbent upon us as human beings to change our behaviour, alter our patterns of consumption, and make choices that are good for the planet and for each and every one of us,” she said.
Mirza said that she herself follows a sustainable lifestyle. For instance, she refuses to use single-use plastic bottles. Managing waste better at homes, schools, hospitals and industries, being more conscious towards energy consumption and using more LED bulbs and energy-efficient appliances, reading and considering the product labels for a better under understanding of the ingredients, adopting a more plant-based diet and avoiding packaged foods, and supporting conservation efforts, if possible, are some of the ways of leading a more sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyle.
Sustainable lifestyles are yet to be adopted widely in the country because, according to her, that there is a lack of knowledge, and that the cost is not the only factor at play.