Pooja Grover
MD, Strategy Director - DIA Brands
Pooja's introduction

I am the Managing Director and also lead the Strategy and Sustainability Communications offer at DIA Brands. I have been a brand consultant and a communications expert for over two decades. My role enables me to see how brands drive their sustainability efforts, and if they view it as an investment or a cost. I work closely with several organisations to infuse purpose led branding and ESG focused brand messaging and communications into their strategic agenda.

My personal interest in Sustainability has only grown in the past few years and I am committed to collaborating with both the corporate sector and the larger community to create better awareness around Sustainability and make knowledge around it easy, accessible and actionable.

Countries where Pooja can help you: APAC, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam

What brought you to sustainability?

I have been keen on Sustainability even before it became a buzzword, because of my nearly vegan (I had switched from being a meat eater to becoming a vegetarian) way of life. This inspired me to have an empathetic and compassionate view of the world, as it relates to the massive impact of animal based diets have on climate.

Next, it was my daughter's passion for wildlife protection, meatless diets and minimalist living that shaped my way of thinking about the sheer over consumption around me - be it food, clothes, gadgets, travel, transportation, and much more. As a brand and marketing professional, this excessiveness of consumerism made me question how brands can act more responsibly as they do influence consumer's' choices greatly. Surely we all can make better choices in our daily living and working that can go a long way in reducing the heavy carbon footprint that we as consumers and marketers generate unintentionally.

I finally undertook a training program at the UN Global Compact Network Singapore on 'Foundation in Corporate Sustainability' and learnt about how corporations need to think, act and report on ESG goals.

Which sustainable actions are you in charge of or have you implemented in your organisation?

At DIA Brands we are putting Sustainability at the heart of our consulting work, and for me as a Strategy Lead, it is a critical start on almost all projects. Whether I get an opportunity to work with a food manufacturer client or another in natural gas, I am acutely aware of motivating my clients to prioritise Sustainable practices - from the kind of packaging materials they could use to communicating strategies in launching Solar Panels and EV Charging businesses, I have tried to support my clients on their journey towards embracing ESG practices.

I advise them to review their strategic planning, goals and align them to a clearly defined ESG mandate. We start with research with stakeholders to understand the gaps and opportunities in the company's ESG practices, we then develop strategies before embarking on design and communications of Sustainability linked programs, initiatives and communications.  We also do a brand tracking that reviews the shift in stakeholder perceptions after having done and delivered key sustainability led changes.

It is a highly strategic and creative process that all companies regardless of size (we work with a lot of SMEs also) should embark on. At our own company we practice several small yet impactful ways to aligning with sustainability so we walk the talk  - be it work from home, pooling in together for commuting, using electricity saving devices in offices, no single use plastic amongst others, we also support a diverse and supportive, socially connected and safe working environment.

Which challenges did you meet and how did you overcome them?

Main challenge is that many organisations see Sustainability as a cost not as an investment that will bring in rich returns eventually. I remember asking a client to consider doing 'green websites' so as to lower the carbon footprint, I thought it was a good concept as most people do not understand how having a heavy website (lots of rich visuals, videos)  is not really earth friendly.

But to make people see the connect is difficult, just as it is for them to see how for example a little more budget than planned on environmentally friendly packaging design and materials can benefit the brand, especially now that consumers are more open to supporting brands that have sustainable packaging.

Changing mindsets is a challenge but I think both as brands and as consumers we are getting better. Organisations are listening and changing for the better.

What are you most proud of?

I am really proud that I have been able to influence both my personal and professional life with sustainable ways of living and working. From my daughter choosing to become a passionate Environmentalist and a student of Environmental Sciences to some of my clients aligning their businesses with ESG goals, small but important steps are being taken.

What would be your top 3 pieces of advice to the Matcha Initiative users?
  1. Never give up - it is not easy to change mindsets, but with resilience change is bound to happen
  2. Influence with positivity - Sometimes talk about Sustainability can be seen as threatening or gloomy, but if presented as something positive and friendly, people tend to be more open minded
  3. Build your community - connecting and working as a team is so important, to go far, we have to work as a team, so here we are!
In which field could you help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?
  • Kick Start Help
  • Best Practices sharing
  • Experience Sharing
  • Expertise Sharing
Please describe how you could help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?
  • Ideas sharing and best practices
  • Volunteering and planning for Community led initiatives and events
Pooja's 3 main sustainability skills

Research / Consulting / Communication

Pooja kindly accepts to answer your questions.

If you need additional insights, you can send her a message.