Green.org sat down with George Mazzella, Director of Business Development for Aspiration, to learn about investing in climate assets. Aspiration helps people and businesses build sustainable impact into what they do every day by making it easy, automated, and powerful — whether it is in the ways people spend and save their money or the ways businesses engage their customers and employees.
The estimated cumulative climate impact of the Aspiration community thus far is the equivalent of taking more cars than every car in the state of Wyoming off the road for a year, every year. Aspiration is a certified B Corporation and has been named to the “Best for the World” list of the top five percent of highest scored certified B Corporations four years in a row. Aspiration has raised over $550M in funding to date, is growing quickly, and has announced its intention to be a publicly listed company.
George, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I currently serve as a Director of Business Development for Aspiration, which offers consumers, small businesses, large companies and investors access to a portfolio of high quality climate assets through innovative products, services and investments. Prior to joining Aspiration, I was the COO of Neutrl, a carbon offset payment platform where I was a member of the founding team. Earlier in my career, I founded and sold two technology businesses, and led sales for two global professional services firms. Outside of work I am an active startup advisor and investor across numerous verticals.
What is a fun fact about you?
I love to eat and never shy away from an eating contest (I’ve won several). I’ve actually been banned from one all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant in NYC for “eating too much”.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
Fortunately, we have arrived at a point in time where sustainability is top of mind for most people, and more and more companies are getting involved in that conversation. In fact, companies across every sector of the economy recognize the need to accelerate decarbonization, and at Aspiration we are helping them get there faster. For the first time ever, people from around the world are in complete agreement that climate change is a foe that we must work to overcome, and that we must do it together.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
As investor money continues to pour into the space and entrepreneurs continue to build new and disruptive products, we will see the current levels of growth and innovation skyrocket to new heights. Aspiration was a first-mover in this space, having started nearly a decade ago, and just look at how much the landscape has evolved since then. If you were to ask me what I believe the biggest shift will be, I would say that in addition to companies incorporating policies to reduce their own emissions, there will also be a move towards facilitating involvement from their customers. Imagine what we can accomplish if companies and their customers joined efforts. That could amount to real change.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
People often assume that you have to make massive changes overnight to make a difference, but that just isn’t true. Large-scale change is often the result of many small actions. We all know that we need to recycle, compost, eat less red meat, etc. Those things should already be a normal part of peoples’ routines by now. If the average person really wants to make a difference, they should be much more selective about the products they use and the companies they purchase services from. If consumers stopped buying a certain product because the company didn’t have an adequate sustainability strategy, I would bet you anything that that company would change almost overnight. One person as part of the many can move mountains.