How EcoNest Philippines helps people live sustainably one cassava bag at a time
The Philippines lags far behind much of the world when it comes to environmental sustainability. Out of 180 countries, the Philippines placed 158th in the biennial Environmental Performance Index this year, which ranks countries based on their progress towards improving environmental health, protecting the ecosystem, and fighting climate change.
Unfortunately, our country is still addicted to single-use plastic, dumping at least 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste each year. To make things worse, we only recycle 9% of the plastics we use.
If we want to accelerate our progress toward environmental sustainability, we must pick up the pace.
Fortunately, there are companies like EcoNest Philippines that not only create sustainable products but also deliberately influence other people and organizations to live sustainably. Here’s how EcoNest does it.
A one-stop shop for truly sustainable products
The idea for EcoNest was born when Nikki Sevilla, EcoNest’s co-founder, tried to join a bazaar that prohibited the use of plastic packaging. “I searched for green packaging items in the local supermarkets and was disappointed to see that the majority of materials marketed as ‘eco’ are still made of plastic,” Nikki says.
At that time, her partner and EcoNest co-founder Joshua Caampued began researching innovations used in other markets that they could adopt, such as cassava bags that dissolve in hot water, sugarcane bagasse containers, and bamboo cups, among others.
In 2018, Nikki and Joshua decided to build EcoNest as a one-stop shop where local businesses can access truly sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solutions, with the vision of creating a community of conscientious entrepreneurs that thrive using sustainable practices.
Today, it’s the leading distributor of environment-friendly and technologically advanced packaging solutions such as its cassava bags called CassaBag, kraft eco cups and straws, birchwood eco cutlery, and sugarcane bagasse containers. It has supplied these to over 1,000 MSMEs and corporations who share their passion for developing a greener future and protecting our planet.
Making an impact
Beyond selling sustainable packaging, EcoNest is committed to alleviating the consequences of plastic and chemical waste through its three brand pillars: Prevent, Cure, and Sustain.
Prevent means reducing dependence on petroleum-based packaging by encouraging businesses to use eco-friendly materials like cassava bags. The second brand pillar, Cure, means educating and guiding stakeholders on switching to environmentally friendly solutions and practices. Lastly, Sustain involves urging their business partners to further pursue sustainability by getting their customers and employees involved.
In the past three years, EcoNest has prevented over 70 tons of plastic packaging from occupying our landfills and polluting the environment by distributing compostable packaging items nationwide. They have also conducted more than 30 webinars and talks about sustainable packaging with 50,000 participants and encouraged over 80 individuals to take the Net Zero By 2050 Pledge and give up single-use plastic.
A tech ally for a challenging mission
Nikki admits EcoNest has a challenging mission. Eco-friendly products, in general, could be more cost-efficient, and educating the market is not easy.
“Promoting and selling your products while educating the market is not a walk in the park,” she says. “It’s challenging to introduce a new product to a market that is so used to using plastics and cheap packaging without considering their impact down the line. It can really affect one’s morale if you’re not up for the task.”
Another challenge for EcoNest is finding the right device to support their operations and all their activities as a startup. Thankfully, their collaboration with Dell Technologies meets both their needs and their values. Dell Technologies is at the forefront of advancing sustainability globally, part of which involves spotlighting and collaborating with notable companies like EcoNest that share their mission.
“I’m really amazed that Dell Technologies has invested so much in sustainability. They created a whole line of gadgets that are based on post-consumer recycled waste. It’s good that we have a role model like Dell Technologies that has executed it already,” Nikki says. “This collaboration of brands from very different worlds shows how we are all interconnected. It just takes reaching out and engaging with those who share the same values and vision.”
The EcoNest team, half of which are working from home, uses the Dell Vostro 15 3510 laptops, powered by an Intel® Core™ i7 Processor, allowing them to enjoy smoother and faster day-to-day operations, more productive meetings, and crystal-clear quality for all their creative output.
“We want to spread the word on how sustainability can be achieved one transaction at a time by carefully curating content and sending the information through social media and newsletters. These things have become much easier since we equipped our team with the Dell Vostro 15 3510,” Nikki says.
The benefits of collaborating with organizations like Dell Technologies go beyond enabling EcoNest to sell their products and operate smoothly. Nikki says it’s about reaching the right people through technology and helping them realize the possibility of creating a more sustainable future together.
“Saving the planet is not an easy feat, and there is not one individual or one company in the world that can do it singlehandedly,” she says. “Sustainable business models and committed leaders are needed now more than ever by the people and the planet.”
Our country’s progress toward environmental sustainability may be slow, but it’s encouraging to see organizations like EcoNest making it their mission to encourage and support sustainable choices for both individuals and other businesses.