A capitalist with an agenda

Having started my journey into activism at the age of 20, I got myself into a world I had no prior connection with. From designing and running social media awareness campaigns, to accidentally becoming a “food blogger”, it was all new, exciting, and eye-opening.

As activists, I think the notion of making money through activism is almost a social taboo outside the motif of donations. However, I think I started off strong with my campaign, in that, I was working with businesses in the angle of promoting their products. Essentially offering marketing services in exchange for monetary sponsorships which I used to raise awareness over different online platforms, workshops, and talks which I conducted for free aimed at the public.

It probably has to do with my economics background, seeing as I evaluate the world and my decisions through the model of opportunity costs (what you must forgo in order to get something). The innate fault in that is it’s not as scienti c of an approach being that we are irrational human beings. However,

I admit this, along with my entrepreneurial mindset, helped me incorporate financial benefits into my social work and convince various stakeholders in the campaign of the same.

Two years and many shifts in strategy later, I focused more on the importance of economic forces to enable social movement. This is what I’ve learned; as activists we raise awareness through educating people on different social issues and hope they change behavior or consumption. However, capitalism is always one step ahead as they have abundant resources to maintain or sway public opinion and “control” or at it’s worst, have a higher propensity to influence behavior and consumption through subconscious mass advertising tactics, lobbying state and national policies in their interests at the detriment of public and environmental health.

The plant-based sector is steadily growing, so I had to ask myself, where my time and resources are most efficiently utilized to meet my objective of increasing awareness and consumption of plant-based food. My solution was to leverage knowledge, trends, and data to help businesses expand plant-based and sustainable offerings. Thus encouraging and enabling people to make better choices for their health and the planet while making it pro table for businesses to do so. I’d like to think I’ve seamlessly transitioned from activist to a capitalist with an agenda.

Shivani is an economist, marketer and an expert on plant based business and living. She is the founder of Plant Based Bahrain & New Normal Consultancy.