Astghik Zakharyan, the founder and CEO of Kendani.com marketplace, shares her advice after analyzing “EVERY” sustainable brand in Spain. Her startup currently works with more than 100 sustainable Spanish brands.
What makes a sustainable brand more successful? What makes the business good? Is Impact everything? Since we represent thousands of products on the platform, we also get to see what people click on, and what they look for in a brand.
Nowadays, regardless of real intentions, every brand is trying to have a connection to sustainability. A lot of times, they use marketing and the power of storytelling to appear more impactful than they really are. But we won’t be talking about them today.
Today we dedicate our time on sharing knowledge for brands which have positive environmental or social impact as their main indicator for success.
When an entrepreneur is starting a business, there are always limited resources available. Limited money, limited time, limited manpower. So focusing on the key indicators that lead your business to success is very important.
Often, when running and building an environmentally and socially responsible business, a dilemma comes up between investing in sustainable practices and investing in marketing and design.
My team at kendani.com – the marketplace for sustainable brands and products – has analyzed and connected with around 1000 Spanish sustainable consumer brands. Our mission is to create visibility for sustainable brands and to enhance conscious consumption. With that in mind, our team has been working with both small and medium, as well as big sustainable consumer-goods brands.
There are very simple points which determine if a brand is going to stay small or it will grow and be successful. Note that here, when we talk about success, we are referring to financial success. Even for brands that have high social and environmental impact as their core values – the one thing that ultimately defines the positive impact created is the business’s ability to sustain itself financially.
1. The design and the “feel”
Spanish consumers hold design and aesthetics at a very high regard (sometimes even too high). We see this reality also at our platform, as we get to see exactly what people click on, and what they end up buying. It is a pity, but even conscious consumers almost always prefer a product that has an appealing design, well-designed packaging and good brand visual presentation.
I (Astghik) believe the same applies also to most non-Spanish consumers. Typically immediate personal needs have higher priority than issues of sustainability or caring about the wellbeing of others. This means that many times it is the wealthier people that have the capacity – the luxury – to think and act in line with sustainable values. It is important to realise this aspect, and to understand that wealthier people will not be satisfied with average design or quality. They simply have higher demands, for the values a product or brand represents, as well as for aesthetics and convenience.
To conclude: the majority of conscious consumers also have higher aesthetic demands, so product presentation and visual (digital) design are aspects that help make or break a brand.
2. The Brand
There is not much you can do about this, when you are just getting started. The only way to make a difference with your brand in the beginning, is to present and represent yourself as a more established one, rather than a very new one. We look at it with pain, but this is the reality. When there are two identical products listed on the platform, the customer usually shows more interest towards the products of a bigger brand or the brand they are familiar with.
To solve this, when you are building your brand, make sure you establish the important cornerstones correctly. Decide on a few key messages, set visual designs, and the purpose of your brand. Always communicate the same message, because through repetition your brand will eventually be remembered by your target audience, and next time they will take a deeper interest in your products too.
3. Communicating your sustainability values.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming because you understand your impact others understand it too.
Moreover, nowadays many non-sustainable brands try to make themselves look better by claiming to be all-natural, green, or eco-friendly. They might colour their brands and logos green, add a non-existing certificate-like logo, use marketing messages that make them seem more responsible than they really are, or use other means for greenwashing their brand.
This has caused many consumers to be very critical when they see claims like that. So unless you explain why your product is all-natural, or what all-natural means for your brand, you are risking to be judged and potentially your impact claim being dismissed by your audience.
Your impact statement needs to be as clear and simple as possible. For instance: 1 of my products = 3 plastic bottles. Sure, find creative ways to express your impact but keep it very simple.
Ok, here I feel you. If you are not a professional brand designer or don’t have the pre-knowledge of how to build coherency, you may understand this point but not know how exactly to implement it. When we say coherency we mean your words need to match your pictures,your pictures need to match your impact, your impact needs to match the feeling you want to create, and they all need to be in harmony, but even more – remind people of one another. Meaning, if they see your text they should imagine or recognize your brand pictures and so on. Simply put, everything your business communicates, needs to match.
If you don’t know how to carry this out, ask for feedback from friends, that will help. If you have a few hundred euros saved, your brand design and creation, including implementing coherency may be the palace you invest in, by hiring a professional.
5. Show up and promote
This may sound obvious, but people want to know who they buy from. With the majority of the sustainable brands we work with, the founder/s remain invisible and hidden behind their brand. Well, I know who they are, but neither our nor their customers know them.
People buy the face behind the logo, the stories behind the brand, and they want to support people who are creating a better world. But only once they get to know them. Most people are willing to help anyone, but only if they know them. This is true especially in Spain. So if you are making a product video, appear there. If it is a product picture, show your face. They will eventually get familiar with it, and what follows is – they will love it, subconsciously.
6. Collaborate with anyone relevant
I also see a lot of brands closing themselves down to only work with retailers, being afraid to do unconventional things, or limiting their options in other ways. There are great marketplaces out there, that want to give your brand visibility and help you grow. Reach out to them and ask if they can feature or represent you, or let you list the products on their website. Kendani.com is a great example, where it takes only signing up and qualifying for the positive impact you are making. And voila! You have an active promoter that promotes you more than you do alone.
7. If you have a chance, focus on products that have high use, on daily basis
One good example of this are toothbrushes. 10 years ago no-one was talking about toothbrushes. They were this oral hygiene product that you used twice a day and it wouldn’t come to mind any other time than when you were in the bathroom starting or finishing your day. Nowadays, they are one of the most trending sustainable products. It’s sad but happy at the same time. By switching to a bamboo toothbrush, we don’t save the world, but it is still a step that many people know they can take to avoid the next piece of plastic entering their home.
We interact with hundreds of brands and customers and these points keep coming back as a foundation for any brand’s success.
While there are many more steps and challenges in building a brand, these seven points sit on the brand’s foundation and determine where the brand is headed to.
There are five highly polluting industries. Most of them are not dispensable, we actually need them.
But we can reduce the impact they have on the environment. Through our actions and responsible use of these industries, we can reduce our polluting emissions.
These are the 5 most polluting industries and sectors on the planet, and ways to reduce their impact.
One of the main causes of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions is the production of electricity. This is because fossil fuels, such as coal, oil or gas, are burned.
Of all the emissions produced on the planet, between 60 and 70% of the total is produced to generate energy (Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions).
However, in more developed countries, electricity production has diversified and the weight of the most polluting thermal power plants has been significantly reduced in recent years. In fact,
In areas such as the USA and the European Union, the energy sector emits around one third of the total polluting gases in less developed regions.
¿What can I do?
Reduce your energy consumption as much as possible. You will see it accounted for in your household bills. Among some recommendations:
Turn off the lights
Fill appliances to maximum capacity.
Use air conditioning responsibly
Use efficient light bulbs
We recommend our article on the subject.
Also, if you can, opt for renewable energies.
Another of the sectors most responsible for air pollution is the oil industry. In fact, oil companies are responsible for about 31% of total greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.
¿What can I do?
Try to save on gasoline. Don’t overheat your car, avoid rough accelerating and check your tire pressure. If you can, share your car with friends.
Avoid petroleum products. These include plastics in general as well as some cosmetics and clothing.
The transportation sector is another of the major sectors with the highest emissions and responsible for the production of greenhouse gases. The vast majority of vehicles, whether cars, trucks, buses or ships, run on diesel or gasoline combustion engines. They emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other pollutants.
In the most developed areas of the planet, where there are more vehicles, transport is responsible for more than a quarter of pollutant gas emissions. Thus, in the EU, passenger and freight transport is responsible for 24% of total emissions. In the USA, this percentage rises to 30%.
For aviation transport, the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions per passenger is very high, which is why it is considered one of the major pollutants. Moreover, 2% of global pollution emissions are attributable to air traffic.
¿What can I do?
In the city, choose sustainable means of transport. The main ones are public transport, cycling and walking. If you can invest in an electric or hybrid car, do so.
Also, avoid flying. Now with telecommuting and the pandemic situation this is easier. So, take advantage!
Another sector that has a major responsibility for environmental impact and emissions is the fashion industry. Not only because of the consumption of water and chemicals it requires, but also because of greenhouse gas emissions.
A UN report claims that the fashion industry is responsible for more air pollution and carbon emissions than the sum of all flights and shipping on the planet.
The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. This was reflected at the last UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
¿What can I do?
Shop responsibly. Simply reducing the money you spend per month on clothes is a good option. Plus, you don’t need to have such a large closet now, as the pandemic requires us to spend more hours at home.
Or, you can buy clothes from sustainable brands. There is a wide variety of eco-friendly clothing and accessory stores.
Last but not least, we must take into account the food sector, both in agriculture and intensive livestock farming. It is another of the industries with the highest emissions.
The EU states that greenhouse gas pollution from agriculture contributes 10.1% of the total.
In the world, around 5,000 million tons of CO2 per year come from agricultural and livestock production and around 4,000 million tons of CO2 from the conversion of forests into cropland.
FAO estimates that greenhouse gases from activities such as agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries have increased by 200% in the last five decades.
Moreover, they could increase by an additional 30% by 2050 if the necessary measures are not taken.
¿What can I do?
The best option is to reduce meat consumption. Meat consumption requires an enormous amount of natural resources (water, land, food). By shortening the food chain by having a more plant-based diet, you will help the planet a lot.
In this article we describe the health benefits.
Also try to buy local and seasonal. This way, you will reduce transport emissions and other polluting consequences.
Several scientific studies have shown the health benefits of a plant-based diet. In addition, this is the most sustainable and ethical diet. Once again, what is good for the environment is good for us.
In times of Covid, our health takes on greater importance. We have to take care of our health more than ever. We also spend more time at home – the perfect opportunity to learn new recipes and ways to eat healthy!
There are several types of plant-based diets.
- Vegetarian: Vegetarians may eat cheese, eggs and milk, but do not eat meat, such as chicken, pork and beef.
- Vegan: these people choose to forgo animal products (including milk, cheese and honey) and eat exclusively plant-based as part of a vegan lifestyle.
- Flexitarian: this is the one we recommend if you want to start taking care of your health and the environment. It consists of reducing meat intake and following a mainly plant-based diet, but with some animal products occasionally.
Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can increase the risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Fortunately, a proper diet can reverse this. Several studies have shown that following a plant-based diet can reduce blood pressure and, therefore, the risk of these diseases.
A meta-analysis published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine explored data from 39 studies. It concluded that people following a vegetarian diet had lower blood pressure e than those following omnivorous diets.
And another study published in 2016 in the Journal of Hypertension found that vegetarians had a 34 percent lower risk of developing hypertension than non-vegetarians.
Cares for our heart
Meat contains saturated fats, which contribute to heart problems if consumed in excess. So cutting back on meat and increasing consumption of plant-based foods is the best option.
A study published in 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 16 percent. The chance of dying from this health problem in was also reduced by 31 percent.
Prevents type 2 diabetes
It is well known that there is a relationship between diet and type 2 diabetes. Weight is a major risk factor, as more fat tissue makes cells more resistant to insulin.
But what type of diet is best for avoiding type 2 diabetes? Studies suggest that a plant-based one is beneficial.
A study published in June 2016 in PLoS Medicine found that eating a plant-based diet full of high-quality plant foods reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 34 percent.
Helps you lose weight
The risk of obesity decreases when switching from a meat-rich diet to a plant based one. In short: plant-based eaters tend to weigh less, even if that is not always their primary goal.
A Diabetes Care study found substantial differences in body mass index (BMI) between non-meat eaters and meat eaters. The average BMI of vegans was 23.6, while that of non-vegans was 28.8, which is considered overweight.
Reduces cancer risk
As we have seen, following a plant-based diet has many health benefits, but can it help prevent cancer? Research suggests that the answer may be yes.
The American Institute for Cancer Research says that the best way to get cancer-protective nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, is to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
The same is true for cancer survivors. A review published in 2011 in Cancer Management and Research points out that this diet has protective benefits. This is probably due to the nutrients present in plant foods and the fact that eating this way promotes a healthy weight.
Improves cholesterol levels
High cholesterol can cause fatty deposits in the blood, which can restrict blood flow and potentially lead to a heart attack, stroke or heart disease. But a healthy diet can help keep cholesterol levels under control.
Specifically, giving up a diet full of animal products and opting for a mostly plant-based one can reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 10 to 15 percent. But those who follow a strict vegan diet can reduce their LDL cholesterol by as much as 25 percent. This according to a review of 27 studies published in The American Journal of Cardiology.
Reduces the risk of heart attack
The risk of stroke increases if you have high blood pressure, are overweight, have diabetes or heart disease, have high cholesterol, or smoke, drink or use drugs.
As noted above, most of these risk factors can be eliminated by following a plant-based diet and making healthy lifestyle choices. After all, half of all strokes are preventable.
The highest consumers of fruits and vegetables had a 21% lower risk of stroke than those who consumed the least, according to a study published in June 2014 in Stroke.
Strengthens your brain
A review of nine studies, published in 2017 in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, found that eating 100 more grams of fruits and vegetables a day (about half a cup) led to a 13% reduction in the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in polyphenols, which are in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Polyphenols may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and may help reverse cognitive decline, according to a review published in 2014 in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.
Increases your life expectancy
All the other potential benefits listed here add up to one main one: living longer. The Journal of the American Heart Association study found that a plant-based diet reduces the risk of all causes of mortality by 25%. And beyond that, protection levels increase if you stick with healthy plant-based foods.
A study published in April 2018 in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating healthy versus unhealthy plant foods extends that layer of protection by another 5 percent. To determine healthy plant foods, researchers assigned various non-animal products a score between 1 and 17.
Less healthy foods – such as soft drinks, pastries and white bread – while meatless, received a low score. Meanwhile, the healthiest plant foods – such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits – received a higher score.
At Kendani.com, we want to help you create a sustainable and cozy home. To do so, we rely on the secret happiness principle of the Danes: the Hygge lifestyle. But what exactly does this word mean?
Hygge is a Nordic and Danish word, a lifestyle, which is best understood through our sensations.
Imagine yourself cozied up on a winter evening with your loved ones, having a cup of hot chocolate wrapped in a blanket in front of a fireplace. Or else, having a barbecue in your garden on a warm summer day with your friends. That feeling of warmth, of wellbeing, is what Hygge means.
Choosing this Nordic style for your decoration is your best choice if you want your home to be that safe place in which you can enjoy both your friends and family and your own company comfortably, and mindfully.
In other words, the main objective of a hygge atmosphere is to build a space that serves as a haven from the speed and stress of the outside world.
Simplicity, contact with nature, enjoying the little things… those are concepts related both to the Hygge lifestyle and to sustainable products.
Hygge philosophy is not only about décor, it is the art of living harmonically and being present, hence one of its main tenets is taking care of the environment. Online platforms like Kendani.com offer decoration products which will help you live the Hygge lifestyle.
Hygge decoration is based on neutral colours and plain materials, as well as plenty of house plants, as nature and everything that reminds us of radiates an immediate feeling of peace. Therefore, harsh, strong colours and plastic should be avoided.
This is another good reason why choosing environmentally-friendly brands is preferable, as these brands tend to avoid colours and materials too artificial-looking.
There are no strict rules as to how this type of decoration should be; no one knows better than yourself what makes you happy and helps you relax. Obviously, radically transforming your whole living room from head to toe to this style would be costly and time-consuming.
This is why we recommend starting with some accessories, like a warm lamp, a cozy blanket or some scented candles. The goal is not having the best decorated home, but the one that makes you the most happy and at peace.
The global pandemic situation we are currently living has led us to spend more time at home, and that is why we want to insist upon the importance of building our own haven of enjoyment and relaxation.
Our home no longer serves the sole purpose of resting after a long day of work; a lot of us are now forced to work from home, as well as to spend more hours with our families or with ourselves. It is thus important that our environment helps us overcome this rather odd situation in a calm and blissful way.
From Kendani.com we encourage you to take this step towards a more welcoming and homely environment, that radiates serenity, calmness and blissfulness. And what better way than to do it sustainably?
Making the kitchen a more sustainable place is within everyone’s reach. It can also save you a lot of money.
To do this, we will focus on habits in and out of the kitchen. It all starts in our shopping cart. Then, we’ll give some tips that will help you take care of the environment from home.
Buy seasonal and local
Products from local, seasonal farmers are not only more sustainable. They are also more nutritious, cheaper and much tastier. This is because they are consumed at their optimum ripeness.
Nutritionists are pointing out the need to adopt this habit. That is, we need to internalize that food is seasonal. In this way, we will reduce our carbon footprint. (La Vanguardia)
Less meat, more veggies
The health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables are well known. But the environmental benefits are also great.
The livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of gas emissions, and 80% of deforestation. (GreenPeace)
It takes 9 calories to produce one animal calorie. So you also have to take into account the high agricultural cost of feeding livestock.
Simply reducing our consumption of meat and fish can have a huge positive impact on the planet. In addition, we will help reduce our risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Use glass containers
Plastic lunch boxes and containers take about 500 years to decompose. Those made of glass, on the other hand, can be easily recycled. In addition, they can be safely heated and are much more durable.
In general, avoid plastic products and utensils. You can also reuse coffee and honey containers…
Avoid all "single use"
In order to reduce plastic use, it is crucial to avoid single-use packaging. Plastic and aluminum packaging cannot be recycled, having a negative impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are many sustainable alternatives to these.
One million plastic bags are used every minute in the world. Therefore, we should reuse bags as much as possible.
It is also essential to completely eliminate plastic cups, cutlery and plates.
Choose reusable products
There are several changes that can be made in our kitchen products and utensils.
You can replace cloths and scouring pads with more durable alternatives. At Kendani.com we offer you these products:
Another good idea is to replace paper napkins with cloth napkins. These will also give a more sophisticated touch to your table.
Use household appliances properly
Household appliances consume a lot of energy and resources. Therefore, making a responsible use of them is key.
Here are some tips:
- If you buy new, make them environmentally friendly and efficient.
- Fill the dishwasher to its maximum capacity.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator, not in the microwave.
Reduce your waste
In Spain we throw away 7.7 million tons of food every year. Between 30% and 50% of edible food is thrown away. Households are responsible for 42% of waste.(Consumo Responsable)
Some recommendations to reduce our waste are:
- Use leftover food scraps. Zucchini skins, broccoli stems, citrus peels… all can be used for other delicious recipes.
- Plan your shopping list in detail. This will help you avoid missing expiration dates.
- Know your fruits and vegetables. Keep an eye on their ripeness and buy them in season.
After trying to reduce our waste, it is important to properly recycle the waste we produce.(Oxfam)
The top 5 reasons to recycle are:
- Reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions
- Reduced use of raw materials and natural resources
- The manufacture of new products from recycling
- Job creation
- Environment preservation
We are what we eat. The kitchen is an ideal place to respect the environment and take care of our health at the same time. In addition, there are many eco and zero waste alternatives, so let’s go for it!
Valentine’s Day is not usually a sustainable celebration. It is one of the days in which more resources are consumed and more waste is generated. But we can reverse this.
We can use this day to love not only our loved ones, but also our planet. There are many sustainable and very romantic alternatives for February 14.
There are many plans you can make with that special person. You don’t need to spend large amounts of money and resources to have an incredible time.
You can take a romantic walk in nature or in your city. There are plenty of parks and museums you can visit. You can also choose a hiking trail and spend a day enjoying the fresh air.
Visiting nature has many benefits, and what better than sharing them! Among them are:
- Increases concentration and memory
- Reduces stress
- Combats depression and anxiety
- Protects eyesight
- Improves life expectancy
All these benefits have been confirmed by studies. Fundación San Rafael
Prepare a romantic dinner
What is Valentine’s Day without a romantic dinner? This is the perfect time to share how you both care for the environment. That is, to prepare and enjoy a sustainable dinner.
You can cook a delicious dish together. It is a better option than ordering delivery, thus avoiding transportation and plastic delivery containers. Besides, it is an activity that will bring you closer together.
For dinner, don’t forget to use local and seasonal products. These not only respect the environment, but are also much more delicious and nutritious. And if you avoid or reduce animal foods, all the better!
And of course, don’t forget to toast your love with an organic (and local) wine or cava.
Give a plant as a gift
Receiving a bouquet of flowers is a very nice gesture. But it is even nicer to receive a living plant from your loved one.
Following the premise that “love must be cultivated”, a good gift can be a plant. This can signify the love that blossoms between you. Whenever they water it, they will remember you.
In addition, plants are a good decorative element. They expel carbon dioxide at night, but the rest of the day they bring fresh oxygen. In addition, they absorb pollutant gases, improve and purify the air and make the environment a little more humid.
Choosing the right plant for the right person can be wise: orchids, clivias, joys, water lilies… you have many options.
Make a DIY present
There is nothing more sustainable than making something yourself instead of buying it. Furthermore, it’s much more personal and expresses our feelings better. In other words, it’s much more romantic.
If you have clothes or fabrics that you no longer use, you can try making a teddy bear. It’s very easy: you will only need fabric, thread and needle and whatever you want to put as stuffing.
If you are handyman or handywoman, you have a thousand options of crafts to give as gifts. Your partner or loved one will love to know that you spent that time thinking about him or her.
Write a letter
Yes, there are still hopeless romantics. Writing a letter is a very nice gesture in which we can express everything we feel. You can make a beautiful card with recycled materials. You have a lot of room for creativity in a letter or card – let your inner romantic out!
And if you want to surprise your partner with a gift, at Kendani.com you can choose the price that best suits your pocket in the “gifts” section. Here are some ideas.
What to shop for her
Here are some original gifts to buy for that special girl in your life.
Who doesn’t like sustainable makeup?
So that she remembers that your heart beats for her:
A comfortable backpack to carry everywhere:
What to shop for him
These gifts will leave him impressed by your good taste.
For those who like to be clean-shaven:
For those who are too much on the computer:
For those who are always well groomed:
True love is sustainable
Enjoy an “eco” Valentine’s Day and fall in love with your planet. Your loved ones will appreciate your environmental awareness and will be inspired by your values. Your gifts and presents will be more memorable and personalized.
Because real love is sustainable!
Making your bathroom more sustainable is easier than you may think. It is also a good place to start.
On average, 80% of the 140 liters of water a Spaniard uses are from the bathroom. If we add to this all the bottles, chemicals and electricity, the consumption is excessive and inefficient. (Revista Circle)
Don't throw everything away!
Don’t make the mistake of immediately starting to buy new stuff. The key to sustainability is to reduce. Finish the bottles and cosmetics you already have. Once they run out, replace them with more sustainable alternatives.
And don’t forget to recycle them properly!
Shampoo and gel
Walk into any bathroom, and you’ll see a multitude of plastic shampoo and gel bottles. If we extend that to our entire population, we can be aware of how unsustainable that habit is.
As sustainable people, we need to say goodbye to unnecessary plastic. Not only are they anti-ecological. They are also much more expensive and less durable than their zero-waste alternatives.
You can substitute your liquid gel for a bar of soap (you’ll find it’s much more convenient). Shampoo also has a solid shampoo alternative.
It is clear that traditional options to menstrual hygiene are highly unsustainable. The amount of waste they generate is enormous.
The best option is the menstrual cup. And not only for sustainability purposes. Among its benefits over other methods are:
- It has no chemicals. Perfumes and bleaches can cause allergies and reactions.
- Long-term savings. It is estimated that not having to buy intimate hygiene products saves up to 600 euros in the 10 years of life of the menstrual cup.
- It lasts longer. The cup has a longer longevity than any of the other products.
With these small habits, you can save up to 20,000 liters of water per year:
- Showering instead of bathing
- Turn off the tap while showering, shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Not using the toilet as a wastebasket
These bulbs consume 80% less energy than traditional bulbs. They also last up to 25 times longer. In other words, switching to LEDs will save energy and reduce waste.
Clean it with natural products
Supermarket bleaches and detergents are highly polluting. They are also harmful to our health if they come into contact with the body.
You can get your bathroom squeaky clean with baking soda and vinegar. And if you are looking to mask the smell of vinegar, lemongrass and rosemary are the best option.
You can also buy sustainable cleaning products, like this one:
The use of disposable blades and razors generates a huge amount of waste. Disposable blades last very little time, and their quality is highly questionable. Here are some advantages of switching to its zero-waste alternative: (Kuoka)
- Sustainability: not only do the blades have to be replaced every few years, but they are not recyclable. Therefore, this change is highly beneficial for the planet.
- Profitability: In a year, a person spends an average of about 52 disposable razors, spending on average between 4 to 10 euros per pack of blades.
- Durability: if you take good care of your stainless-steel razor, it can last a lifetime.
- Better shave and safety: shaving is much better than with a traditional razor.
- Unisex: can be used by both men and women.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of sustainable cosmetics. You can gradually incorporate them into your routine, replacing the previous ones.
These products will have fewer chemicals and will be better for your skin. You’ll be more aware of the ingredients, and you’ll notice their benefits immediately.
What better way to take care of yourself than by taking care of the environment?
Say no to cotton pads
Cotton is the world’s “most polluting crop” because it is grown with the worst pesticides developed. It is one of the top four GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops in the world. Nearly 95% of that world cotton production is GMO and/or not grown sustainably. (Portal Fruticola)
We can eliminate makeup remover cotton pads from the routine altogether by using a makeup remover oil. Or else, we can use the alternative of reusable makeup remover pads.
These are readily available and inexpensive. We sell these at Kendani.com:
Avoid products that contain large amounts of plastic. Avoid chemicals that are harsh on your skin and the environment. Avoid products that are single-use.
And above all, take the opportunity to pamper yourself in the bath while taking care of the environment – your skin and the planet will thank you!
We are facing that time when we must lower our bills. Christmas shopping has not only taken a toll on our pockets, but also on the environment.
Natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. As sustainable individuals, we have to aim to reduce their consumption. That way, we will reduce our environmental impact and our monthly bills.
In this article, we will give you some tips and tricks you can incorporate in your everyday life to reduce your consumption of light, water and gas.
Beware of the “stand-by”.
Many devices, when we turn them off, continue to operate in sleep mode. You can see this in the little red light on our television, microwave, stereo, etc.
The problem is that this standby consumes between 8 and 10% of the total consumption. The solution is to unplug the devices completely. You can speed up the process by using a power strip.
Switch to LED
LED bulbs consume 70-80% less than incandescent bulbs, and 30% less than fluorescent bulbs. In addition, they are more resistant and durable, light up quickly and do not emit UVA rays.
They require a small investment, but the long-term savings will make up for it.
Don’t leave the lights on
This is very obvious, but not less important. Light only the areas of your house that you need. And don’t forget to turn off the light when you leave a room. This will also increase the duration of your bulbs.
Defrost your products at room temperature
Many of us make the mistake of defrosting our food in the microwave. But we consume a lot of extra energy that way. Just remember to take the food out of the freezer a little earlier.
But do use the microwave
The microwave is much more efficient than other appliances in our kitchen. If you can avoid turning on the oven or gas, you will save on electricity (and save some precious time!)
Shower instead of bathing
Without a doubt, this is the best shift to take to save water. Replacing a bath for a shower will allow you to save about 200 liters of water a day. With the water spent when taking a bath, you could take four showers or more.
Take care of those leaks
Although a dripping tap may seem insignificant, in the long run it can be a huge expense. For example, a tap that loses a drop every two seconds costs 6,000 liters a year.
Turn off the tap
Just turning off the tap while soaping our hands, body, head or brushing our teeth could save up to 12 liters of water per minute.
Fill up your household appliances
Filling the washing machine to capacity saves about 74 liters of water per month. Whenever you can, fill the washing machine and the dishwasher to the top of their capacity. Or use half-load programs.
Don’t be tempted to use the toilet as a wastebasket. One single flushing uses between 8 and 12 liters of water.
Watering at night
Watering the plants at night instead of during the day helps the water not to evaporate quickly and avoids wasting 20 liters per minute
Don’t heat your whole house
If you live in a large house, you will notice that it is practically impossible to heat the entire house. Besides, it is a huge expense. Now in winter, heat only those rooms in which you spend most time.
Cut on the hot water
Be aware of your hot water consumption. Apply the previous water saving habits especially when it goes through the boiler. This applies especially to the bathrooms, the washing machine and the dishwasher.
Isolate the heat
Before starting the heating, make sure that there are no escape routes. That is, that all doors and windows have a good insulation system. Also, avoid ventilation when you heat your house.
Take advantage of the sun
The sun is the best source by far, so do take advantage of it! When the sunshine is strongest, raise the blinds, especially on the windows with greater luminosity. It will help maintain the room temperature so that the boiler is not running all day.
Every degree counts
The ideal temperature to maintain a comfortable environment is between 21 ºC and 23 ºC. Each degree you add more, increases energy consumption by about 7%.
We are going through quite a complicated situation. The pandemic, which seems to have no end, is having a negative effect on the mental and physical health of many people.
And that’s not surprising: with all the uncertainty, apprehension and possible unemployment making life insecure… and countless hours spent at home thinking about our problems.
But we can (and should!) turn the tables and view the situation as an opportunity. We can take this time to evaluate the way we live our lives, to reinforce the positive aspects and implement new beneficial habits to replace the ones that are bringing us down.
The psychological effects of the pandemic
The Secretary of the Spanish Society of Psychology, Iria Grande, said that anxiety and depression are psychological problems that have grown with the current social situation. Emotions such as helplessness in the face of the situation, loss of loved ones… They all impose challenges to mental health.
It is, therefore, time to take care of ourselves. And not only by maintaining social distancing and keeping safe from the virus, but also by maintaining our mental and physical health.
It is time to take advantage of those hours at home to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. Here are some things you can do to improve your life at home.
Release those endorphins
Physical exercise has many positive effects, supported by many studies. Here are some benefits of exercising:
– Releases happiness hormones
– Increases self-esteem
– Fights insomnia
– Increases productivity and concentration
– Reduces stress and anxiety
Exercising at home may seem harder. There is not as much space, you can disturb the downstairs neighbors, etc. But there are a variety of exercises you can do at home to raise your heart rate and, therefore, your mood.
Fortunately, the Internet offers a wide variety of online videos that can be useful. They are for all fitness levels, and there are many types (yoga, pilates, cardio, etc).
You are what you eat
Many of us live very busy lives. We end up eating anything and anywhere. And not always the best for health, nor what our body really needs.
We can take advantage of this extra time at home to cook for ourselves. Preparing our food at home is very beneficial compared to eating out. Among the benefits are:
– More nutritious food: at home we can reduce unnecessary sugars, salt and fats, generally present in junk food.
– Awareness and creativity: we will learn to distinguish the most beneficial foods for our health. We will also learn new recipes and incite our creativity.
– Savings: preparing food at home is much more affordable than eating out.
Drink your water
We no longer have an excuse. Now that we are at home much longer it is even more important to drink water. These are some of the benefits of increasing our water intake:
– Relieves fatigue
– Prevents headaches and migraines
– Aids digestion
– Improves the immune system
– Helps control weight
And if you are a busy person, you can have a water bottle on your table. This will make you, almost unconsciously, drink a lot more water.
But always use a reusable bottle. If you don’t have one, here at Kendani.com you may find some:
Take up that hobby again
We all have, in some corner of our house or of our life, a hobby that we have abandoned due to lack of time. We think that it is key to our happiness to have some activity that we like aside from work and our domestic obligations.
Some positive aspects of practicing a hobby are
– They distract you from the world and your worries (especially important now)
– If it is a challenge, it will help you manage frustration and overcome yourself
– Raises your self-esteem, especially if it is a manual activity such as cooking or painting
– Encourages creativity
And if you don’t have any hobbies that can be done from home, take advantage! Take the opportunity to stimulate your mind with something new. Open an attention-grabbing book, challenge your partner to a chess match, or try that grandma’s recipe you had tucked inside your cookbook for years already.
Pamper yourself (you deserve it)
Another very good way to rest and take care of yourself is through skin care. Our skin is constantly exposed to the free radicals of pollution, and to the stress of our daily lives. Therefore, taking time to pamper it can be a good act of self-love.
There are many ways to do this, and you can transform this care routine into a true experience of relaxation and disconnection.
This is where we most recommend the natural ingredients. The skin absorbs everything, so it is very important to “feed” it well.
Let it all out in a diary
Many times, and especially now, we feel that emotions take-over. Besides, being at home makes us feel like we can’t escape them.
We recommend managing these feelings through writing. It is not necessary to have a precious diary. Simply, when you feel that your emotions are piling up, you can write them down on any piece of paper or device you happen to have at hand.
This act, which seems so simple, is surprisingly effective. According to psychologists, writing down our emotions brings us: https://lamenteesmaravillosa.com/escribir-para-liberar-emociones/
– Stress reduction
– Self-knowledge and motivation
– Freeing up suppressed emotions
Do not forget about others
Do not forget about others
While we recommend taking care of ourselves, it is also very important to take care of our loved ones. Especially if they live alone.
There are many people who, being especially vulnerable to the virus, are forced to quarantine alone. It is important to keep these people (our grandparents and elders, the sick…) in mind, and call them regularly. You may, for instance, schedule a Skype meeting.
It’s okay to do nothing!
Sometimes, as a society, we become obsessed with productivity and constant activity. It is important, from time to time, to hit the pause button and live more slowly and consciously.
Don’t blame yourself for your mood, or for not having done “anything” useful during the day. Observing your feelings, breathing a few minutes, or hugging that loved one (or pet) is a great achievement just like any other.
Cuéntanos un poco sobre Awana y cómo surgió la idea
La historia de Awana Taller comenzó a gestarse en 2012 en las selvas del pacífico colombiano, un lugar muy hermoso del país pero que tiene también muchas problemáticas en cuanto a nivel de pobreza y también temas de contaminación ambiental. Por esa época yo estaba trabajando con mujeres artesanas del pacifico colombiano y tuve la oportunidad de conocer los hermosos paisajes que hay pero también una realidad muy difícil. En ese momento empezó a gestar la idea, en 2017 buscando ayudar y aportar soluciones a las comunidades artesanas decidí crear Awana Taller. Awana Taller es una empresa social que busca, por un lado, crear lazos para el reconocimiento de las tradiciones artesanales que tenemos en colombia y, por otro, mejorar las condiciones sociales y económicas de las comunidades asociadas a la empresa.
¿Con cuántas personas está trabajando el taller ahora mismo?
Trabajamos con 75 familias indígenas de la Guajira, también con comunidades del Putumayo y con Risaralda en la ciudad de Pereira.
Empezamos con 2 comunidades y creo que el el trabajo que hemos estado haciendo en Awana Taller haya empezado un voz a voz y las comunidades han empezado a llegar para ser parte de este proyecto.
¿Cuál es la importancia de comprar algo artesanal y cómo saber cuando algo es artesanal?
Creo que la principal característica de algo que se considera artesanal es que sea hecho a mano 100%, que utiliza materiales industriales (como el Okama que es de plástico pero está hecho a mano). Yo insisto mucho en 2 cosas: en comprar cosas hechas a mano y no pedir rebaja. He visto que es una práctica que se da en todo el mundo, no solamente en Colombia, yo muchas veces digo que si ustedes van a tiendas de grandes superficies como a Zara, a nadie se le ocurre entrar pidiendo una rebaja. Un artículo hecho a mano significa que el tiempo y trabajo que dedica la persona para realizarlo es de días y hasta meses.
La importancia de tejer en las comunidades indígenas y la relación con la tradición
Aquí en Colombia llamamos al tejer como el oficio de tejeduría y eso es parte de las tradiciones culturales, no solo de las comunidades indígenas, sino también de los campesinos y mestizos, está muy arraigado en nuestro país.
En las comunidades indígenas, a través de la tejeduría ellos pueden expresar muchas cosas que son parte de sus tradiciones. Por ejemplo, hay una comunidad conocida como los indígenas arhuacos y ellos a través del tejido expresan el pensamiento del hombre y de la mujer. El tejido va más allá de ser un oficio, tiene una carga cultural muy importante para las comunidades que trabajan este oficio.
El Okama, refleja también la historia de cada persona, ¿nos puedes contar más..?
Dependiendo del tamaño del Okama la mujer lo utiliza según la experiencia que tiene, una mujer mayor ya utiliza Okamas muy grandes y los de las jovencitas utilizan collares más pequeños que representan la corona del Sol. Las piezas artesanales todas tienen una historia y una carga cultural y cuando yo estuve en contacto con la comunidad indígena fue cuando empezaron a verlas pero estas piezas son parte de su día a día y todo tiene su significado. De ahí de nuevo mi insistencia de no pedir rebaja porque no es solo una pieza artesanal sino que compras también un poco de la historia de esa comunidad.
¿Qué representan las mochilas?
Lo bonito de las mochilas es que representan el útero de la mujer, en la mochila se va guardando lo más importante, así como en el útero de la mujer se gesta lo más importante que es la vida. Cuando una mujer indígena está tejiendo su mochila, como están constantemente tejiendo, esa mochila y ese tejido se cargan de esas historias diarias que vive la persona mientras cose. La elaboración comienza desde 0, desde esquilar las ovejas para elaborar los hilos de lana y empezar a tejer. Es un proceso larguísimo y a la persona le van pasando muchas cosas, y es por eso que se dice que en las mochilas arhuacas se expresa el pensamiento de la mujer y del hombre.
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Lealtad, amor por la tierra y solidaridad. Creo que son 3 características que identifican a las comunidades y admiro un montón. Una cosa que admiro es el sentido de la palabra, estamos acostumbrados a que todos nuestros acuerdos importantes tienen que quedar por escrito, para ellos el valor y la importancia de la palabra, si quedas en algo con ellos lo cumplen.
Tienen un amor y una conexión increíble con la madre tierra. Como anécdota, uno de los indígenas solo con saber la dirección del viento sabía que iba a llover y yo creo que mucho de esto se ha perdido en las ciudades, también ha ayudado el cambio climático a que se vuelva más impredecible.
Son personas muy solidarias, uno puede pensar que no tienen nada material, pero tienen una solidaridad y un corazón inmenso que creo que nosotros hemos perdido también un poco. Creo que con la pandemia deberíamos volver la vista a las comunidades indígenas, muchos han podido seguir con su vida, cultivan sus alimentos, tienen acceso a agua limpia, viven con la luz del Sol, etc.
¿Cómo ha impactado a las comunidades la pandemia y a Wana?
Este es un tema complicado, hay muchas comunidades indígenas con las que nosotros trabajamos decidieron aislarse en sus territorios para evitar el contagio porque en esos territorios las condiciones médicas no son las mismas. Esto hizo que nuestra producción y nuestro trabajo con ellos se pausara pero es totalmente entendible. A comienzos de la cuarentena en Colombia en el mes de marzo, las comunidades indígenas tuvieron una emergencia alimentaria, no tenían como comer ni cómo vender y ellos viven de esto, de nuevo la importancia de no pedir rebaja ya que significa que tienen menos dinero para obtener comida y alimentar a sus familias.
Nuestros esfuerzos este año estuvieron centrados en apoyar a las comunidades, hicimos campañas de crowdfunding para poder enviarles alimentos. Este año las prioridades de todos cambiaron, pero es una situación en la que estamos todos y creo que una de las grandes enseñanzas que nos trae esta pandemia es que somos muy vulnerables y a pesar de la clase social, todos somos iguales porque a todos nos afectó, a unos más que a otros, pero nos ha tocado a todos.
Estamos viendo que hay empresas que hacen greenwashing, ¿cómo identificar una marca que apoye el comercio justo, hecho con materiales sostenibles?
Primero ser una empresa 100% sostenible es muy difícil y muy costoso. Hay muchas iniciativas que hacen un esfuerzo importante por ser sostenible pero no es fácil, creo que una de las formas en las que podemos darnos cuenta es investigando las empresas, uno se da cuenta si están implementando los 10 principios de comercio justo de la manera en que comunican las cosas. Una empresa que se dedica a mostrar sus productos pero nunca cuenta quién está detrás de eso, nos podemos preguntar cómo será el trato con los trabajadores y también en el momento de elaborar los diseños de las cosas que sacan al mercado, en teoría las comunidades deberían participar en ese diseño, no solo ser visto como mano de obra y ya.
Con respecto a los materiales, tú puedes decir que trabajas con materiales reciclados. Por ejemplo, el tema del micro plástico, si tienes una camiseta que cuando se lava empieza a desprender micro plástico que se van al mar. Es un camino retador pero lo más importante es investigar y preguntar.
Un ejemplo es una iniciativa que era socialmente sostenible, que hacía mascarillas con molas, y yo les decía que estaban usando mal la mola, y la mola no se puede cortar, es una forma de escritura y es romper completamente con la tradición. No se puede vender esto como que mejora la vida de las comunidades cuando se rompe la tradición cultural y se hace un uso incorrecto de la mola. Si los dueños de las molas deciden hacer ese cambio, es su decisión pero es diferente cuando alguien externo hace un mal uso.
El consumidor tiene un papel muy importante. El tema de la sostenibilidad está muy de moda pero a mi cuando me hacen preguntas de si las comunidades indígenas llevan a cabo procesos sostenibles en la elaboración de sus piezas yo les invito a que les pregunten cuál es su concepto de sostenibilidad. empieza a haber cierta mirada de querer imponer a las comunidades un concepto de sostenibilidad que es ajeno a su modo de vida.
Has mencionado alguno de los errores que cometen los consumidores a la hora de comprar moda, ¿tienes más consejos para evitarlos?
Hay que investigar bien y ser consumidores responsables. A mi me genera mucha desconfianza cuando alguien me dice que trabaja con artesano pero no veo esto en ninguna parte de su storytelling y esto me hace dudar. El mejor consejo para comprar moda sostenibles (no solo prácticas adecuadas con el medio ambiente sino también de prácticas sociales y culturales con el medio ambiente) es investigando y conociendo el origen de lo que compramos. Muchas empresas cuando venden una pieza artesanal cuentan la historia de dónde viene, esto también genera confianza en el consumidor de que algo se está haciendo bien.