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January 19, 2019

AND JUST LIKE THAT, WE’RE TEN!

A lot of detractors told us we would not last more than a year when we first opened ECHOstore. Now, we’re ten going on eleven. Because many retail shops come and go, we knew we were also at risk, a social enterprise at that. But, look, there are even people who have copied and replicated our concept of selling good, green, eco-friendly, locally-sourced food, goods and even body care.

We are quite flattered with people who copy the concept so we just need to differentiate, move quicker and be as agile as can be. The biggest differentiator we think we have is our body of work in the social enterprise sphere. We have established a non-profit organization (ECHOsi Foundation Inc.) and have collaborated and partnered with good groups like the Global Affairs Canada (GAC), USAID, and the New Zealand Embassy among others. We are supported by like-minded organizations like Peace and Equity Foundation, Sun Life Foundation and many others who believe in what we do.

Come Christmas (and sometimes even mid-year) we get corporate orders from big companies who appreciate what we do and share the spirit of giving by also advocating social enterprises like ours.

How sustainable are we? We believe that for as long as there are people without market access, we have a role. For as long as there are bad things to remove in society we have a role to play (think plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic packaging, etc).

We want to make ourselves obsolete—to save the planet. But we have a long way to go. So we must spread the word and make change. Over our ten years we have witnessed the following societal changes:

  1. NO MORE PLASTIC BAGS. We never thought but we hoped this would happened, and it has happened.
  2. NO MORE PLASTIC STRAWS. Can you imagine? Local governments have moved and banned the unimportant formerly ubiquitous plastic tube.
  3. NO MORE SINGLE USE PLASTIC. This is being implemented in many places now and soon to be in your neighborhood.
  4. NO MORE MSG AND SLS. These ingredients in food and shampoo, respectively, are going away.
  5. NO MORE CHEMICALS. People have understood what organic is and are asking for organic vegetables and fruits.

See? A little store from a small company rode the change and is witnessing societal change.

Sustainable lifestyle for the next generation

So, what’s next?

We want to advocate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Already we tap the following goals with our very business:

  1. SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION – Goal 12
  2. GENDER EQUALITY – Goal 5
  3. GOOD HEALTH AND WELL BEING – Goal 3

Our farmers harvesting fresh greens at ECHOfarms while wearing T-shirts stating our commitment to SDGs.

If all businesses aped our concept and maybe added more features they may even tap more goals like Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11), or something as big and ambitious as Goal no. 1 – Ending Poverty.

With my business partners, Jeannie Javelosa and Reena Francisco

How about your business? Does it solve any of these problems of our present world? Maybe it’s time to think about the SDGs to make your business relevant.

 

 

 

Photos by ECHOstore, ECHOsi Foundation, and ECHOstore CDO

 

 

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