Personal experience and moral responsibility have driven many young businesspeople to start up green and sustainable businesses, a phenomenon known as “greentrepreneurship”.
Dian Elvira Rosa, for example, started designing, producing and selling eco-friendly home accessories under the brand Kemala Home Living in 2014 to develop her passion for natural home décor.
“I don’t have a factory so I work with local craftsmen in Central Java, West Java, Flores and Bali, based on the fair-trade principle,” Dian told The Jakarta Post during the Pasar Ragam organic bazaar at The Breeze, Tangerang regency, recently.
The staffer at a foreign embassy in Jakarta said her eco-friendly moves included purchasing certified wood for use in her products, a feature she believes could give her an opportunity to export her products in the future.
Astrid Reza, the cofounder of Banyuripan, which sells organic home products including bath salts and aromatherapy oil, said she aimed to empower local farmers in Yogyakarta and Madura, East Java, by using their salt.
“We are a maritime country but our salt farmers are underpaid. I think we have a responsibility to create a sustainable business that also benefits our local farmers,” she said. Astrid added that she also allocated 10 percent of the firm’s profits to support the farmers.
Meanwhile, Anglir Amaranggani, the founder of Samaradakara, decided to develop an organic skin care line and cloth menstrual pads after suffering two miscarriages.
“I tried to avoid disposable menstrual pads that contain dioxin. I’ve also developed a special soap to wash the pad, which then led me to develop organic soap bars and shampoo,” she said, adding that she could sell up to 60 bars of soap each month.
A road trip, meanwhile, inspired a group of young graduates of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) to develop a DIY mushroom grow box brand, Growbox, which has been exported to countries as far as Iceland.
A Growbox is a box containing oyster mushroom seeds that can be cultivated easily anywhere and anytime. The price of one Growbox is Rp 75,000 (US$5). After two to four weeks, the mushrooms are ready for harvest. Each Growbox is designed for up to four harvests, with each harvest able to produce 200 to 400 grams of mushrooms.
Architect Ronaldiaz Hartantyo, the CEO of Growbox, said that besides cooperating with mushroom farmers, the group also aimed to popularize urban farming.
“We give mushroom seeds for free to the farmers for them to sow. We buy back the seeds at above the average price,” Ronaldiaz said.
Pasar Ragam founder Helga Angelina said that the growing number of organic-product developers was exciting.
“More players in the business doesn’t mean fiercer competition. On the contrary, we need more players, so we can work together to raise the public’s awareness and expand the market,” said Helga, who also owns Burgreens Organic Eatery. She added that the community always cooperated with local farmers.
Sharing the sentiment, Astrid said that greentrepreneurship was also about “collaboration and not competition”.
“We’re motivated by the same things, such as supporting local organic products and the farmers while developing sustainable businesses”, she said.
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