JEDDAH: A new generation of Saudis taking on the mantle of saving the planet is promoting eco-friendly practices to increase the “green footprint” in industries ranging from food to fashion.
Home-grown businesses and influencers are using social media to focus on sustainability and green solutions, while also showing how to develop eco-friendly habits and help minimize environmental impact.
Yasmin Hamza and Hawazen Zahran, two Saudi women with a strong interest in sustainability, launched the @indulgethyself Instagram account to promote their environmental message.
Hamza, a fashion designer, said that her “sustainability journey” began while attending fashion school in New York.
“My studies shed a lot of light on the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry. It made me reflect on my daily environmental impact as an individual and I began incorporating eco-friendly practices in my daily life,” she said.
However, their efforts to adopt and promote eco-friendly practices often ran into difficulties.
Hamza said that initially it was hard to find budget-friendly eco-products in Saudi Arabia, but after considerable research they were able to find local enterprises that matched their environmental principles.
Indulge Thyself offers a safe platform to spread knowledge and encourage dialogue on environmental protection, while also providing information and accessible lists of products and resources.
“Most importantly, it shows that being sustainable is attainable and not as complex as sometimes portrayed in society or the media,” Hamza added.
Brands that take special care in catering for the planet as well as customers include Carton Shop, Nawah, Home Grown Market, Noon, Sukkari store, and Eco-Shop KSA.
Nouf Bannan, founder of Nawah, said that the brand’s aim is to become a “one-stop shop for a greener lifestyle.” The eco-friendly online platform raises awareness on recycling, reducing waste and protecting the environment.
Bannan said that when she launched the website, her aim was to merely to recycle, but she realized that this becomes easier if basic products are available.
“I began looking for items and bought a few that can always be reused. Once I saw how they made my life easier and how they were so eco-friendly, I was intrigued even more and began to offer the products through Nawah.”
All products offered via the platform are bought from entities that are also 100 percent eco-friendly. Items are made from bamboo, silicone, glass, metal and other materials that do not pose a threat to the planet.
Third Culture Co., founded by Shaima Shamsi, relies on ethical design practices to further the environmental cause.
Shamsi said that her team “believes that everything around them carries energy and the brand’s process is conscious of it.”
She added: “This extends to all things involved in the process, from our artisans to raw materials, resulting in objects that are a reflection of the observer, passed from hands that created it to ones who appreciate it.”
Third Culture Co. begins by looking at how materials engage with surroundings and what role they play with a person’s emotional values. “From there we study and understand where our materials are coming from, how the communities are producing the material we are interested in.”
“We produce in small quantities, ensuring fair wages and a clean working environment for the people who work on every piece we make. Finally, we look into the end of life of our products and ask our clients to send back their purchases for mending and recycling to ensure they are disposed of or repurposed with respect to the environment.”
The influencers behind Indulge Thyself advise those who are looking to adopt a more environment-friendly lifestyle to live by the motto “reduce, recycle, reuse and reconsider.”
“Reduce means to minimize the amount of waste we create. Reuse refers to using items more than once. Recycle is to put a product to new use instead of throwing it away, and reconsider is about considering how our actions affect the environment.”
The brands, as well as the influencers, encourage locals to avoid being overwhelmed by information online, explaining that adopting eco-friendly habits is not as difficult as sometimes portrayed.
Their message? Those who are interested can take baby steps and, slowly and gradually, work toward a better and safer environment for this generation and those to come.