Through encouraging transparency and responsible practice, Positive Luxury’s aims to inspire people to buy better and influence brands to do better.
Ogunte: How did your early life influence your career choices, Diana? When did your interest in sustainability begin?
Diana Verde Nieto: I grew up in a dictatorship in Argentina, so human rights have been a passion for me from a very early age. I have always believed it’s important to fight for what is fair – which later evolved into my interest in sustainability, and how to pair this with a career in business.
Ogunte: How do profit and social impact work together in your mind? Who has influenced your opinions on this matter over your career?
Diana: For me, it’s essential that businesses in the 21st century find a way to integrate profit and caring about people and the planet.
Everything I do is rooted in the belief that business can, and should, be a force for good in our world.
There is a growing demand for this from consumers too; brands can no longer afford to ignore this mind-set. Consumers, especially in younger generations, are a lot more socially and environmentally conscious than they used to be. They have more global awareness and they want to know that the brands they buy share their values.
My thinking in this area has been particularly influenced by Gro Harlem Brundtland – an ex-Prime Minister of Norway. The Brundtland Commision’s 1987 report presented the concept of sustainable development, which has helped shape the international agenda ever since.
It defines sustainable development as ‘development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
This concept continues to drive my own philosophy and work.
Economic and social development cannot occur through measures that are detrimental to the environment.
Ogunte: What is the most valuable piece of advice you have received in business?
Diana: My co-founder Karen Hanton always says to me that I should think like Edmund Hillary did when climbing Mount Everest: "don’t focus on the summit, focus on how to take the next step".
Ogunte: What kind of a leader are you, Diana?
Diana: I try to set a good example and emulate the qualities that I want to see in my team. I’m not sure if I always succeed, but I try hard to keep true to this!
Ogunte: Which numbers do you check on every day?
Diana: I keep up to date with the traffic on our site and social media numbers - Instagram is my personal favourite! I also have a great CFO who keeps us out of trouble.
Ogunte: What is a major challenge you foresee coming up in the next decade?
Diana: If we are to truly succeed in the next decade, as a society, I believe we will need to reaffirm our humanity.
Creativity and empathy are the qualities that set us apart from machines