Many of you might be wondering, “How was The Sustainability Project formed? Where did this brand come from? What is the story behind this? Who is running it?”
I realised that I have never penned down the detail of The Sustainability Project (“TSP”) journey before. So, I decided to share how a paper girl became the founder of The Sustainability Project.
For those of you who have been following my journey since 2018, thank you, I am sure you have heard about my journey quite a number of times. For those who stumbled upon the brand for the first time, welcome! 😊
Let me disclaim that this sharing is not to boast about the achievements of TSP. There are so many others making a change in Singapore.
I hope by sharing my journey, it will spark you to do something for Mother Earth.
As Gandhi said “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”
This is how I have been shaking Singapore.
The Start Of It All – Paper Girl
I would believe that the start of my journey is probably one of the most boring ones out there.
It was not a eureka moment. Instead, it started when I was studying accountancy in polytechnic back in 2014.
As accountants, we use quite a lot of paper to write down journal entries and doing up the financial statements. I started to realise that my friends were using one side of the paper and throwing them away after that. (P.S My friends who are reading this, i love youuuu)
At that point in time, I was quite conscious of the amount of waste I was producing. So, that action made me quite sad and I worked out an arrangement for them to give me their paper so that I can use the other side.
If you don’t believe me, to this day, I still have those papers actually! This might be something I am not proud of in terms of my habit of hogging.
From there, it sparked a change in my life.
This is what my dad called me and still calls me to this day. This was the phase when I started recycling more avidly. I was always saving or recycling things that my family wanted to discard.
That plastic bag. That carton box. That metal can.
Every resource was precious to me. Anything that can be recycled, will be, by me.
It was also at this point in time when I realised that my passion was towards the environment. It is quite hard to describe how I feel but if I am not doing anything for the environment, it just will not feel right to me.
Moving forward, after graduating from polytechnic, I wanted to pursue the studies of environmental science in NUS.
Unfortunately, due to the clash in my studies, I was unable to do so. So I went ahead with the safe choice of studying accounting in university.
Fortunately, I was enrolled in SMU. At that point in time, I told myself, I will do something related to the environment while I was in university. It would feel wrong if I didn’t do it.
Going to SMU was a blessing in disguise because during those 4 years, I did manage to take part in activities related to the environment.
I was fortunate enough to be vice president of the environmental club and run a few initiatives during my term
I travelled to Scandinavia to learn more about sustainability from companies such as IKEA, Volvo
I did an internship in a compostable and biodegradable firm and learned more about starts up
I did another internship related to sustainability reporting and learned about the regulatory side of thing
It was during my second internship that I started TSP as a blog in 2017. I love writing and I wanted to share with people more about sustainability and spread awareness through my own experience. Never did I planned to start a business from TSP actually.
I wrote articles whenever I had the passion to share about a topic and I am so happy that people were actually reading it.
Fun fact: Why the name The Sustainability Project? Because the nature of a project is that it occurs in many various phases. Like how I transited into a sustainable lifestyle, I saw the adoption of sustainable living as a step by step process, very similar to a project.
Exchange – That Defining Moment
In August 2017, I went over to Norway for my university exchange program.
Norway is a beautiful country and I really miss the amount of free time I had over there 😉 The free time I had on hand propelled me to start the retail arm of TSP.
I knew that the zero waste movement was starting in other parts of the world and it was slightly slower in Singapore. I was also thinking about how my life would be like after graduation.
So I took a leap of faith, incorporated TSP, did up my website, and purchased some essential zero waste products. I planned everything before coming back to Singapore because I wanted to launch TSP at the start of 2018.
I launched TSP retail website on the 4th of January 2018 and have been running it until today.
From the start until today, I am still very thankful for each and every order that comes to us. Also, I am grateful for all the support, partners, and interns that I have worked with since the start until now.
The aim of TSP has been the same since day 1 – Sustainable Living Made Easy.
Everything I do and all the decisions made are for the environment. I will continue to work on this vision until one day I feel that TSP is no longer need. That will be the day when sustainability is mainstream and I have made a substantial impact in Singapore.
If you have always wanted to do something for the environment and have been hesitating for the longest time, take the leap of faith. Like how I did back in 2014, I have never regretted the decision.
Over the past 3 years, I faced many ups and downs and also learned many hard lessons about running a green business. For that, I will reserve it for another time 😊 But shake the earth, in your own way. If you ever need to talk to someone, do not hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
And that is the story of The Sustainability Project. That is the 4-year journey of how TSP started as a blog and ventured into a shop and what it is today.
Saving the earth is never easy. Back in 2014, people didn’t understand the importance of reducing waste or even recycling. The journey was quite lonely at the time but I enjoyed every part of it. I knew it had to do it. If I didn’t, something just didn’t feel right.