Become part of the solution, not the problem: Green Is The New Black

 

Alarmed by the impact that her industry was having on the environment, Steph was faced with a pressing moral dilemma – to continue on working in the industry that she loved, or fight for an important cause.

To commemorate World Environment Day this year, we speak to founder of Green Is The New Black and host of Live Wide Awake, Steph L Dickson, as she shares her journey on building a sustainable company from scratch, and how businesses like yourself can contribute to a more sustainable future.

“My world came crashing down around me”

Steph started off in the fashion industry where she helped to coordinate and execute fashion festivals in Asia. “It was truly a dream for me as I had always wanted to work in fashion. Life was chaotic but so much more exciting in the fashion industry,” Steph shares.

“However, it wasn’t until I watched a documentary called ‘The True Cost’ that my world came crashing down around me,” she states. “I realised how polluting the fashion industry can be and how I was contributing to the problem without actually realising it”.

“I wanted to be part of a solution, and not the problem anymore”

With that, Steph made the decision to leave the industry and work towards creating a solution that could bring greater awareness to the environment.

Together with co-founder Paula Miquelis, Steph created Green Is The New Black – a lifestyle media and events platform that focuses on connecting brands with people, and educating consumers.

Steph used her prior experience in events management to conduct small meetups and events that ultimately culminated in the creation of the Conscious Festival.

Held annually, the Conscious Festival garners up to five thousand attendees per event and celebrates the best in sustainability – from eco-friendly brands with sustainable practices to tackling environmental issues via talks and workshops.

“We take complicated issues, and break them down into tangible little ‘green’ steps that people can do,” Steph shares.

“There are moments where you question yourself in the beginning”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing at first. Like all businesses, Steph struggled in gaining traction as a new business in a climate shrouded with doubt.

“It was really hard to find the right community who believes in the same values as you,” she proclaims. “They were there though! There was an amazing community of people doing great stuff for the environment – it just wasn’t mainstream; so the biggest challenge in the beginning was really in creating an event that was relatable enough to resonate with audiences”.

Another challenge was the next step to any great business idea – how do you sustain this business and make money? “Pivot, and don’t be afraid to try new things,” advises Steph who shares the importance of staying adaptable in a business.

“Being a festival-oriented business, we found ourselves facing an additional challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she states. “But we adapted and pivoted once again, and are now in the midst of hosting our first hybrid event for our upcoming Conscious Festival”.

“More people are waking up and realising that this is no longer a choice”

When asked to share her opinions of the Green Movement over the years, Steph noted a critical change in large corporations that was largely driven by the younger generation.

“The youth, who are ultimately future consumers, are being very active and vocal about what they want and the changes they want to see” she says.

“Companies are now practicing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and being more open to discussions about integrating sustainability into their practices”.

“Businesses for good”

“One trend I’m most excited about is the idea of social enterprises becoming more mainstream,” continues Steph.

Social enterprises are becoming more actively involved in creating solutions that solve some of the biggest environmental issues in the world – but in a way that is also profitable to them as a business.

“And that’s the beauty of it! When businesses realise that we can literally solve some of our most pressing problems but in an amazing way that we can actually make money from”.

“Your business may not survive”

However, with some businesses still being apprehensive towards the idea of sustainability, what advice would Steph give to them?

“My honest answer is brutal. If you don’t start prioritising sustainability and figure out a way to integrate this into the fabric of your company, you will not survive. You may be able to survive the next decade, but then what?” she answers.

“Consumers are getting smarter about their purchasing behaviours, governments are finally catching up in policy regulations and more businesses are adapting to such changes”.

“Sustainability has to be done at some point”

For companies contemplating sustainability, Steph shares that it is simpler to integrate sustainability and make it part of a company’s culture at the beginning than trying to weave it in later when you’re already established. “You’re just pushing off harder decisions later on,” she continues.

When asked about companies who are still wavering on the picket face, Steph reaffirms that consumers are not expecting brands to be perfect.

“However, they should be committed to something. They should be integrating from the onset and have clear trajectory goals of how they’re going to do more,” she states.

“Ultimately, transparency is key. The more transparent brands are in their business operations and goals, the more trust they can build with the consumers – which will inadvertently be a win-win situation for all,” she concludes.

 

 

This year, the Conscious Festival is going hybrid for the very first time! Join Green Is The New Black from 23 to 26 September 2021 in its annual Conscious Festival, held both virtually and physically at La Caserne, Paris! Find out more here.

To learn more World Environment Day and how you can commit to a better future, find out here.

Discover more about Sleek’s own sustainability journey by continuing here.

Talk to our sales team to get started!

 

Other articles that might interest you

Related content

Get in touch.

Start your Sleek journey today

Ready to grow your business to the next level?
Let us help take the load off your shoulders so you can continue doing what you love.

50GB data with unlimited talktime for only S$18/month and additional add-ons!

Circles.Life is a telco provider in Singapore that provides no-contract mobile plans. Their end-to-end integrated service allows customers to manage and design a plan that best fits their needs.

Enjoy the following offers:

  • 50GB data with unlimited talktime (SIM-only) for S$18/month

Once you are a Sleek client, you can access this offer.

Get access to investors, corporates and business advisors

TiE Singapore is a vibrant eco-system of Asian entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists and industry professionals – TiE has 61 worldwide chapters, 10,000 Startups, 80,000 Attendees and 15,000 members.

Benefits:

  • Exclusive access to an ecosystem of advisors, mentors, investors, corporate heads via discounted programs
  • Expand your reach beyond Singapore by attending all local and global events
  • A chance to showcase and pitch your ideas to industry leaders and investors
  • Network and build connections to engage with business experts, thought leaders and fellow entrepreneurs

Form your US company with Stripe Atlas

Stripe Atlas is a safe and easy-to-use platform for forming a US entity by removing obstacles that are typically associated with starting a company such as – legal paperwork, bank lines, obscure fees and regulatory barriers.

Enjoy the following benefits:

  • Get a discount from SGD $200 onwards on an Atlas incorporation
  • Use their services from anywhere in the world
  • An opportunity to connect with other founders and learn from experts

Enjoy up to SGD $1,425 off on eBay store and promotion fees that are incurred in the first quarter of your operation

eBay is a world-leading online marketplace that facilitates consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales.

Sleek clients can benefit from a special promotion when they:

  • Sign up as new sellers on eBay
  • Offer a minimum of 100 SKUs in their online store

You will be eligible for:

  • 100% reimbursement of the store and promoted listing fees for up to 3 months, capped at SGD $1,425, subject to promotion T&Cs

How do you qualify?

  • Leave your contact details in eBay’s New Seller Form
  • eBay’s New Seller Account Management team will review your application and reach out to guide you on the account setup
  • Once approved you will receive a promotional email from your Account Manager

Enjoy your stay with Hmlet by getting corporate rates

Hmlet provides a custom designed, fully furnished, affordable and hassle-free coliving housing solution, perfect for entrepreneurs arriving in Singapore.

Enjoy the following benefits:

Get 10% when you stay with Hmlet in Singapore
Perfect opportunity to expand your network with Hmlet’s diverse community
Enjoy dedicated assistance from Hmlet Community Managers
Flexible month-to-month membership plans

*For new members only

Promotion is valid for any length of stay up to one year.

Contact Joanna at +65 8462 6446 to get the discount.

Gain instant access to the top coworking spaces around Singapore with FlySpaces Passport


FlySpaces provides short-term flexible workspace solutions, fully-furnished and fully-serviced, for entrepreneurs, SME’s, and corporates setting up their businesses in Southeast Asia.

Enjoy the following benefits:

  • 1 month free trial of Passport Starter package and 25% off the first month of any Passport package
  • Flexible packages that scale with your business
  • Dedicated assistance from a FlySpaces Space Expert

*For new members only 

Get 3 months free trial

Metigy is the world’s leading Digital Marketing Decision Support technology made for SME Marketers. Metigy’s AI platform helps SME’s achieve 2x-3x improvement quarter on quarter.

  • AI-powered real-time insights and recommendations platform
  • Set objectives and follow Metigy’s content recommendations
  • Planning calendar, content library and social analytics
  • Prioritised to-do list and approval workflows

Once you are a Sleek client, you can access this offer.

Join Hubspot for Startups and get up to 90% off your Hubspot subscription in your first year

We’re excited to partner with HubSpot for Startups to offer their program designed specifically to help startups grow and scale better, and faster – at a startup-friendly cost! Read on to learn more about the program.

What is the HubSpot for Startups program?

  • Education resources and tailored training
  • Professional software, startup pricing
  • Integrated platform for startups

Who is eligible?

Any startup that is a current customer of Sleek and meets certain funding criteria is eligible for this exclusive program! See below for more details:

  • A startup with under $2 million in funding: ou are eligible for up to 90% off HubSpot software in your first year, 50% off in your second, and 25% off ongoing.
  • A startup who has raised over $2 million in named funding up to and including Series A: You are eligible for up to 50% off in your first year, and 25% off ongoing.

*The HSFS startup-friendly pricing is only applicable to net-new HubSpot Hubs or upgrades of existing Starter subscriptions to Basic, Professional, or Enterprise products; customers may not apply the startup program pricing to existing Basic, Professional, or Enterprise Hubs.

Once you are a Sleek client, you can access this offer.

Get 10% discount on Google Workspace licenses

Google Workspace offers custom email for your domain, online storage, shared calendars and a range of collaboration tools to increase the productivity of your team.

  • Gmail for business
  • Gsheets, Gdocs, Gslides and Google Meet
  • High security and online file storage

A 10% discount is provided for all new domains and transfers.

Once you are a Sleek client, you can access this offer.

Get US$5,000 in AWS Promotional Credits

*Only available for technology startups

Amazon Web Services provides startups with low-cost, easy-to-use infrastructure needed to scale and grow any size business.

You will be eligible for:

  • US$5,000 in AWS Promotional Credits valid for 2 years
  • 1 year of AWS Business Support (up to US$1,500)
  • Opportunities to qualify for additional credits 
 
Note: Companies may not be eligible for AWS Activate Credits if they previously received a similar or greater amount of credit. Companies may be eligible to be “topped up” to a higher credit amount if they previously received a lower credit.  For more information, please review the AWS Activate Terms & Conditions.
 
Once you are a Sleek client, you can access this offer.

Manage your company spending with a 3-month free trial

Spenmo is a B2B spend-management platform with physical and virtual card offerings. We aim to digitise expense processes and help companies eliminate fraud and overspending.

Enjoy the following benefits:

  • Free physical and virtual cards for up to 15 employees and 2% unlimited cashback for the first 6 months
  • $100K worth of free local and international invoice payments
  • Free cash reimbursement software

Once you are a Sleek client, you can access this offer.

Get S$10,000 in processing volume credit

Stripe is the best software platform for running an internet business. Stripe provides the technical, fraud prevention, and banking infrastructure required to operate online payment systems.

  • Fast, reliable and secure
  • Faster eligibility period for custom processing rates
  • Priority betas and special event access

Once you are a Sleek client, you can access this offer.

Free multi-currency account for businesses and online sellers

WorldFirst is an innovative global payment platform, helping businesses move money around the world faster, easier, safer and cheaper. 

Sleek clients can enjoy the following:

  • Open up to 10 international currency accounts for free: SGD, USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, HKD & CNH
  • Receive, hold and make payments in international currencies
  • Open your account for free with no monthly account fees and no annual transfer limits
  • Access great exchange rates
  • Manage your global finances all on one platform
  • Instant FX transactions between currency accounts

Do note that WorldFirst only works with online sellers.

Open a Singapore dollar business account from anywhere.

Wise is a global technology company that’s building the best way to move money around the world. Whether you’re sending money to another country, spending money abroad, or making and receiving international business payments, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Enjoy the following benefits:

  • Enjoy S$2,600 fee-free transaction
  • Get bank details in 6 currencies: SGD, GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, NZD
  • Sleek customers get access to the Wise Platinum debit Mastercard
  • Get support from our global team in Singapore, Europe, and the US