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Inspiring words from Raju Gurung of Planetlocal, the winner of oikos Develop Prize 2016!

In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake, when everyone saw disaster, me and my co-founder Irma saw an opportunity to make a difference by providing a global stage for craftsmen from Nepal. That was when the idea of Planetlocal was born. Since then, we’ve fundraised for the disaster relief through small pop-up craft sales in Germany and run through lean concept development at courses during my Master’s degree. Until then we have been constantly putting the puzzle pieces together and we’re learning everyday how to better portray the works of our artisans and how to better serve our customers.

Back in April 2016, exactly one year after the earthquake, I found myself in Copenhagen participating in oikos Develop Prize— a social entrepreneurship competition geared towards addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals—with our newest team member, Julie Friis Nielsen. During the competition, we had the chance to receive great feedback from an impressive group of dedicated mentors (Heather Thomas, Michael Hedegaard, Sahra Josephine, Jacob Lennheden, Marianne Haarh alongside Liana Hoornweg, Gerardo Reyna and Pamela Lynn from Net Impact). In addition, the event really made us rethink how we should leverage our key strengths and how to best communicate them. After an intensive week with the mentors, we presented and won the final competition and the prizes from it have greatly boosted not only our enthusiasm but also given tangible effects through graphic design help by Frolina, web development consulting by Ljæon and strategy consulting by KPMG. I can therefore recommend to any fledging startups aspiring to work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals that they participate in the Develop Prize to gain a very fruitful and enlightening experience.

After many iterations, Planetlocal took shape and we went live in the end of November last year. Planetlocal now brings you curated collections of unique jewellery, accessories, decor and spiritual products from developing markets like Nepal. All of our products have been sourced with fair treatment of workers and sustainability in mind, right from the start.

We have a vision for the sustainable future of handcrafted objects that blend traditional materials and techniques with the stories in lives that are woven into them. We are more than an e-commerce platform; we are on a bold mission to provide a meaningful platform for amazing artisans from developing countries worldwide, to empower women through skill development and to help our artisans build a better future for their families. Thus with every purchase you make, comes a lasting impact on their lives.

 

PLANETLOCAL PRODUCTS STITCH THE LOCAL STORIES OF OUR ARTISANS ONTO THE GREAT CANVAS OF OUR DIVERSE PLANET. YOU CAN HELP US WRITE THE FUTURE.

Share our story,

Shop meaningful gifts of social impact

& Be part of the Change.

 

Much Love,

We and our Artisans

www.planetlocal.co

 

PS: Like us on Facebook to follow our journey!

 

 

 

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Sustainability lecture with Jeffrey D. Sachs

Last Friday late afternoon I pushed myself out from the home to go to hear the sustainability lecture organized by the University of Copenhagen. Even though Jeffrey D. Sachs’ name was familiar to be, the selling points were also to visit some other university buildings in Copenhagen besides of CBS and hear American accent that would be music for my ears.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is mainly famous for being the world-renowned professor of economics and leader in sustainable development. In addition he is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals. So seemed like must-see-person for me. The lecture was about implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.

The lecture hall was full of people from different ages but it was an advantage to be among the youth since they had the advantage at Q&A session. Even though Jeffrey is American he prefered the Scandinavian way of living over American where richer gets richer. While introducing the UN Social Development Goals he mentioned that in African case the best solution would be to keep the girls at school as long as possible. And I was quite surprised to hear that the average age in Africa is about 19 compared to around 47 in developed countries.

The bonus information I got out from his lecture was to invest in an apartment in a higher floors. He pointed out that the rising sea level will let the lower points in a world under the water and it means good bye to Netherlands.

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oikos Develop Prize 2016

Last week I was lucky to take part in the oikos Develop Prize final and listen the pitches from the teams. Before the teams started to present the ideas the CO & Founder of Roots Food – Jacqueline Hansen – shared her story. Like always the idea comes from the simple question that does not have the answer and her question was – “Why are Filipinos so poor even though the nature is magnificent?” Her solution for the problem was Moringa tree and hopefully soon everybody can purchase the products from this “vitamin” power.

To come back to the competition there were 4 teams that were competing for the 10 000 DKK and consulting services. All of the business ideas were connected with developing countries. Team Grow Willow were trying to provide an extra income for the Zimbabwe women farmers by helping them to make willow extract and sell them to pharmacies. Sustainable fashion was also a hot topic and as we know how bad are actually the employment conditions in the cheap labour markets and we never know where the product comes from. Team Kontrast was dealing with that problem by providing sustainable T-shirts and you could track down the whole supply chain of the shirt. Team Trend Cycle focus was to reduce textile waste by cloth donation and reselling them in Shanghai.

And the winner was team “planetlocal” that brings the local hand craft to the world. The business idea had already been tested in Nepal so that local craftsman can sell their products online to all around the world and increase their sales. After the pitches but before the winner announcement I approached one of the “planetlocal” team members about the whole week and he said that all the workshops were very helpful and he learned a lot. To conclude with, hopefully I can soon purchase a necklace made in Nepal.

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oikos at Spring Meeting ’16 in France

One of the great things about oikos is that it provides a platform for members to meet and network with students from around the world over their shared passion for sustainable development. This is exactly what happened when we sent four of our members to participate in the annual Spring Meeting ’16 – hosted this year by the chapter in Lille, France.

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As all chapters are invited to participate in the conference, it’s a major event. This year, there were around 80 participants who had the chance to attend a conference, learning circles and workshops centred around the theme of Creating an Entrepreneurial Mindset. Some of the high-profile speakers and workshop leaders included:

• Ignace Schops (Director of the Belgian NGO Regionaal
• Lancshap Kempen en Maasland (RLKM), President of EROPARC federation and Green Nobel Prize winner)
• Francois Tasmowski (Coporate Social Responsibility & Communications Director of Continental Europe at McCain Foods)
• Thomas Buerki (CEO & Co-Founder at DigiMeals)
• Jerome Lhote (Founder of koom.org)
• Anna Beyer (Executive Board member of oikos)
• Adrianna (Advisor in oikos International)
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One of our attendees, Helene Krøigaard Andersen, describes the experience:

“Participating in oikos annual Spring Meeting conference is always a very cool experience, meeting old and new faces from our global chapters! I personally had a lot of fun and shared interesting ideas and theories with likeminded new friends on social entrepreneurship business ideas”

Finally, not only did attendees have a great experience, but they also presented our newest project, oikos Education, at the Project Fair at the conference, which proved to be a great success.

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oikos Academy Spring 2016 Lecture 4: Disrupting Unethical Supply Chains

After not really sustainable Easter for me it was good to hear some great ideas about unethical supply chain. This time there were two great speakers – Gert Sylvest, Co-Founder of Tradeshift and Dr. Andreas Wieland, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at CBS. The final 5. Lecture will take place 12th of April and don’t forget that by attending at least four lectures you will receive a certificate.

Have you ever wondered how many pieces make up a car?! I actually have not but the presentation’s answer was about 30 000 in a case of Toyota and each piece is part of the supply chain. I was quite amazed by hearing that 2013 Horsemeat Scandal happened due to the disruption in a supply chain. While there are many chains before the meat arrives to the store it is not surprising that without control these things may happen. I consider myself quite sustainable minded person but I was informed that the largest polluting factor in the supply chain is the production so by choosing bike over a car while going to a store does not save the much energy.

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Representative for Tradeshift introduced their business and I was quite amazed that the oldest invoice was hewed into a stone. And since then the amount of invoices have been increasing tremendously. An interesting idea also came out that Nike is using a 3D printing for making shoes and it can save up to 80% of the material.

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Finally, the most surprising point was that Denmark’s ecological footprint is forth largest according to the researches from WWF – seems like my biking does not help.

 


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Green Week 2016: Sustainable Fashion + Show

If somebody says “sustainable fashion” then I would imagine dress collection made up from old potato sacks – ecofriendly but not really pretty. To get rid of this imagination I decided to participate the lecture about the sustainable fashion by H&M and Vero Moda. I was actually quite surprised when I heard that H&M has been engaged with sustainability about 30 years so before I was born. I would classify myself also economically conscious person but since I am student my shoppings are being done under budget. That is why it was good to hear that H&M sells economically friendly products at the same price as the regular products (that was the case of cotton). And the goal is to use sustainable cotton in all the clothes by year 2020 (at the moment the rate is 31%).
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Interesting was also to compare myself with average shopping pattern, where design is most important followed by price, quality, brand value, and finally sustainability. And I must agree with the presenters that if I have been looking for the T-shirt with a specific design and if I finally find it with a reasonable price I would not go to start over again if the one would not be considered as sustainable product. In addition I had not heard about the H&M Garment collecting initiative and they have already collected 26 000t of garment. Even though I prefer to spend my money more on traveling than clothes, it is good to know that there is a place where I can take my old clothes.
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In these lectures it is also fun to learn who owns what because I did not know that Vero Moda brand is under the Bestseller group and in total there are 23 different brands. And Vero Moda has had its Green Attitude since 2014. The lecturer was so engaged in the initiative that she has even been wearing the same shoes every day for 2 years.
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As a cherry on the cake I also saw pretty nice outfits (and models ;)) in the sustainable fashion show. NIXONBUI T-shirts for men were pretty cool and one dress made of the old towels looked so good that I will even consider of going to store, buy the new ones and make the dress.
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NIXONBUI T-shirts


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oikos Academy Lecture 4 – Green city vision vs. outcome

Sustainability, sustainability and again, sustainability. Something you can brag about living in Copenhagen. Well, at least I thought so, as after the lecture last Tuesday about Green Cities delivered by Anne Katrine Harder made me realize, how hard it is to lead sustainable way of living and how it is even harder to measure the levels of sustainability.

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While lecturer kept asking questions, like why do we take metro instead of a bike, I felt really guilty about my daily routine. Would you go to Madrid from Copenhagen by foot in order to call yourself “Greeny”? The thing is that leading a sustainable lifestyle is not CONVENIENT. But even though the answer was really logical and even calming me down, I felt like I care even more than before. I think Anne was right – sustainability has to become convenient, it shouldn’t stop us from moving, from doing what we have or we are used to and even to feel comfortable.

And here we have a simple issue. Well, simple to understand, but truly hard to tackle. We have to make it work. As the lecture revealed, it is not enough to build a line for cycling, you need to make it work. Even though we have a lot of visions, they, sadly, do not become a reality. The case of Calsberg City District is quite a good example. Another question we discussed about – what is sustainable? Sustainability became a truly complex definition, since it’s not enough to be green, as it became really popular and cool. To become economically, socially, environmentally friendly requires not only a bunch of things to do, but a common vision and collaboration as well.

Ironically, lecturer finished the lecture with the slide “It depends on… you!” I would like to correct her. It depends on… all of us.