Gundeep Singh hasn’t exactly gone from riches to rags, but he has turned over a green leaf and is determined to help others do the same. Formerly a banking executive who owned a yacht and porsche, the Dubai-based man has switched to a hybrid vehicle and founded The Change Initiative, the first shop in Dubai to offer a massive range of green products.
Each of the sixty products available – everything from organic food to sinks that capture and recycle grey water – goes through a rigorous vetting process to ensure that they are genuinely healthy both for the people who use them and for the environment.
A green warehouse
Mr. Singh took The National’s Vesela Todorova on a tour of the new showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road in Al Barsha. The 5,109 square meter facility is stocked with all of the products that will be available to the public starting on Thursday.
The building itself is a showcase of what strides can be taken to reduce one’s environmental footprint. Not only does it feature sophisticated energy monitoring technology that slashes waste, but 30% of the energy is derived from solar-panels, water is heated the same way, and much of the lighting is solar-powered as well.
Every detail has been taken into consideration, right down to the last drop of non-toxic paint.
Making sustainability fun
For many people, sustainability is such a complex issue that it stunts their ability to act, according to Mr. Singh, who wants to make it easy, fun, and commercially viable for ordinary people to green their lives.
Valerie Hawley is the company’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Before any new products are brought on board, she ensures that the companies behind each product are living up to their promises, which can be monitored by independent organizations such as Ecocert.
The Change Initiative is concerned with supporting businesses that reduce energy and water consumption in the manufacturing process, and that make a concert effort to create products that are easily recycled. And the materials used should be non-toxic, which promotes better public and environmental health.
After living a luxury life, Mr. Singh, whose own home now solar-powered as well, eventually came to the understanding that there is more to life than buying things and worked hard to make substantial changes.
“I suddenly realised none of this made any sense,” Mr Singh told The National. “What really matters is relationships and what you do every day.”
:: The National
image via google maps
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