Friday, 14 January 2022

Why happiness is good for the planet

What makes us happy?

Money? Stuff? Success? Relationships? Family? 

An increasing foundation of scientific research shows a significant linkage between personal well being and environmental behaviours. This is not a coincidence; it is a profound truth of crucial importance in the quest to create sustainable socities. It proves beyond a doubt that sustainability has nothing to do with sacrifice and everything to do with creating a better world for ourselves and our children. 

If you think about it from an anthropological point of view, it is not surprising. Happiness is an evolved trait that optimizes our behaviour for successful living and therefore survival. No surprise then that behaviour that harm ourselves and the planet are increasingly lowering our well-being and vice-versa.

According to EcoHustler, below are 5 of the top reasons why people are happier.

1. Living a more local life

Modern transportation brought a new era of individual freedom; however society has restructed it around a range of social problems; pollution, congestion, obesity, stress, respiratory problems and traffic accidents. When one's life revolves the same local area, it results in fewer resources used, less pollution, more time for leisure or family. Other well being benefits include a resurgence of active communities, greater closeness of people to the natural environment, improved safety and improved environmental quality of communities. 

2. More vibrant healthy communities

Walking or cycling to work, school and shopping increases your regular contact with people in your community. This is fundamental to improving wellbeing because human relationships are consistently found to be the most important correlation with human happiness. 

3. Connection to the natural world

Green people have an appreciation of their place within the great natural scheme of things and tend to feel closeness to other organisms and to wild spaces. This can be a source of inspiration and enrichment thoughout life. Caring for nature focuses ones attention out of oneself which helps to void the angst and self obsession that is a by-product of our individualistic consumer times. 

4. Less materliastic

People who are less interested in material things have a tendency to consume less and therefore use fewer resources and have a lower ecological footprint. These people are also usually happier than those who hold on to stuff and constantly crave for more. Once we have all that we need to survive (food, water, shelter), additional material things have less and less impact on our wellbeing. Many surveys have discovered that people were happier after spending money on experiences, rather than physical things. Socializing, sport, creative arts, performance, music, cooking, gardening, hiking - all are popular pursuits that increase happiness and reduce ecological footprints. 

5. Personal development

When we look at the 'Hierarchy of Needs' (as described by Abraham Maslow), we see that the lowest levels are occupied by physiological needs. As these are met, higher levels of needs emerge, these are termed growth needs and are associated with psychological needs. While our lowest needs must be met, our higher needs are continually shaping our behaviour. Marslow, who studied people such as Einstein and Roosevelt, declared that self-actualized people embrace facts and realities rather than denying or avoiding them; they are interested in solving problems, and have a system of morality that is fully internalised and independent of external authority. Personal development allows people to turn their attention and create energies to find solutions to big challenges, such as our collapsing biosphere.

Happiness vs GDP

Some argue that, GDP is crucial for governments to make investments that improve well-being for their citizens and protect the environment. But is it really so? The Venn diagram below compares the 10 highest-ranked countries in three categories; wealth, happiness and environment. 

The central takeaway from this diagram is the significant overlap between happiness and environmnt. Seven countries appear on both lists: Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Austria. Out of the tp environmental performance, the only countries that failed to earn a spot on the happiness list are the same ones that overlap with GDP (UK, France and Germany).

Click here to see Happiest countries in the World 2021 list

At a bare minimum, we can conclude GDP is not the most important factor in determining environmental sustainability and th well-being of people. That's because GDP only measures how much money a country has, not how it chooses to spend it!

For this reason, GDP can b counterproductive to happiness and the environment. But it doesn't have to be. Governments need to start seeing GDP as a limited measurement that factors into national progress, but is ultimately inferior to the measurement of happiness and environmental sustainability. Such a fundamental shift would allow lawmakers to prioritize the issues that save the planet while improving the lives of everyone on it.


If you want to be happy for an hour, get drunk.

If you want to be happy for three days, get married.

If you want to be happy forever, make a garden.

Chinese proverb

Thursday, 23 December 2021

The ultimate checklist for a Sustainable Christmas

Christmas is a time of giving, of joy and of warm fuzzy feelings. At least, that is how we imagine it. In reality, today, Christmas is the most unsustainable festive event in the world. What once began as a religious holiday and a jolly celebration of life has now become a season of spending, splurging and over-indulgence. 

These shocking facts highlight the extend of Christmas waste worldwide:

Just imagine...

* The amount of (unrecyclable) wrapping paper used is enough to go around the globe - 9 times!

* 1 billion Christmas card end up in the bin each year!

* The equivalent of 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million puddings end up in the bin each year!

* 1 in 10 unwanted gifts end up in the landfill!

* More than 1.6 billion tonnes of food is wasted each Christmas!

* 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging is discarded during December worldwide!

* 100 million black bags full of Christmas packaging are discarded each year in Christimas time!

Sadly, it is evident that Christmas has gotten a little bit out of hand and from an environmental perspective, the holiday season is quite a disaster. So, how do we make changes that can result in a more sustainable Christmas? We have prepared a list for you to consider and check, to help you make your celebrations even more meaningful and special:

1. Choose decorations that will last a lifetime

Not all plastic is bad - if it can be reused over and over again, you don't need to shy away from a pretty plastic decoration. Opt for sturdy decorations, or make your own! Objects such as wood, twigs, ribbons, make great decor items and you'll enjoy them for years to come.

2. Switch to sustainable/reusable wrapping

You can wrap gifts in plain brown paper, something that can easily be reused and recycled. If you are looking for more colourful and fancy alternatives, get your hands on reusable fabric wrapping and check out all the elegant ways in which it can be used.

3. Buy memories over things

Research show that an experiences result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions. A sight seeing jet flight, a cooking lesson, a pampering day at the Spa, a hobby course, the options are endless! Gifting experiences is memorable, and produces less waste. 

4. It's ok to gift second-hand items

Let's get something straight, 'second-hand' is NOT a dirty word! It is a great trend in a new eco-sustainable, less consumerist world. It is an inspired choice, and usually quite personal and thoughtful. Vintage and pre-loved are cool!

5. Support business that give back

Whether its a business that plants a tree with every order, or donate a % of the profits to a worthy cause, your purchase will have a ripple effect and in true Christmas spirit, you will feel good by doing good.

6. Shop local

When you buy local, you are helping your local community to grow and create more jobs. Shopping local also means tastier, fresher and healthier food options. Buying from a local small business usually means a better and more personalised service. Plus, local products carry a much lower carbon footprint relating to packaging and transporation.

7. Go for LED lights

LED lighting provides many environmental advantages including being energy efficient, producing zero toxic elements, requiring less light fixtures and having a longer life span - meaning they are good for your pocket as well.

8. Plan meals in advance to avoid food waste

People are getting pretty good at finding creative ways to use left-overs and that's good! But to avoid food waste, simply buy less fresh stuff that goes bad and more stuff that can be opend if needed or consumed months later. Rest assured that nobody's going to leave hungry!

9. Reuse everything!

Gift boxes, filler paper, Christmas cards, advent calendar, crackers... everything can be reused and repurposed. If you have kids, you'll probably re-use them for crafts or projects. The trick is to be considerate of what you throw away and use your imagination to turn trash into treasure.

10. Remember the true meaning of Christmas

What is truly important at Christmas? It is not the gifts, the clothes, the excess food or the sparkly decorations. Its all about spending time with loved ones, and reflecting on the year passed and the year ahead, on your personal evolution, on your life goals, on your dreams - and most importantly, Christmas is a time to be grateful for what you already have!

We want to take the opportunity to wish all Eco Market Malta fans, partners, collaborators, supporters, customers, volunteers and all our precious friends a Joyful Merry Christmas and a meaningful New Year 2022! May next year bring more awareness and action towards the most important things in life! 

Love from us at Eco Market!

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Under €22 Quick Eco Guide

Christmas means time with family, friends and loved ones! Time to enjoy a well-deserved break! Its time for sharing, gifting and celebrating together with food, decorations and fun! 

All of this doesn't have to cost the Earth - really! 

We cannot afford to put more pressure on our planet with a careless throw-away culture and we don't need to spend lots of money to show we care and have a good time. 

Here's our 2021 quick eco guide, highlighting some of Coral's best Christmas-related sellers - all ethical, sustainable and with a price tag of under. €22. 

Festive decor €18

An organic decorative item made primarily from sustainably sourced olive wood and resin mini statues, this Nativity scene is a treasure of craftsmanship and organic beauty. 

See more

Coziness at home - €20

Luxury chemical-free soy wax candles with must-have Christmas time fragrances, such as chestnuts, gingerbread and berries, filling your home with warm winter scents.

See more

Children's book - €5

Elfis the Singing Elf is a funny and inspiring read-along ideal for kids between 5 and 7 years old. 

See more

Feast your Christmas buds - €5-22

Vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free and so so yummy. Choose from mince pies, Christmas pudding, Egg Nogg, Gingerbread Latte, a new Christmas ice-cream bombe and much more!

See more 

Reusable Gift Wrapping - €2.20

Fancy and metallic Christmas wrapping paper isn't recyclable. This year you can choose these pretty cotton reusable gift wrapping instead.

See more 

Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Green Team

The green movement dates back from the first water pollution bill signed in 1948 and started to gain more popularity thanks to the first Earth Day celebrated in 1970. During the past couple of decates, most eco-friendly efforts were made by everyday people and a handful of large corporations - but that's now changing!

On May 14, 2019, Forbes published an article entitled 'What's good for the planet, is also good for business.' Since then, many companies around the world are increasingly responding to a more sustainable way of doing business. This also came as a result of consumer demand. According to an international survey, more than 80% of consumers respect companies and brands that adopt earth-friendly pratices.

Today, sustainability is becoming a priority for businesses. Apart from the global imperative and pressing climate issues, businesses actually profit from going green; increased customer loyalty, increased sales, improved efficiency, cost savings, tax and other schemes incentives, and a healthier workplace, amongst others.

In August 2020, Reuters commissioned a survey to understand the current pulse of workplace culture. It was discovered that 83% of workers reported that they are disappointed because their workplace was not doing enough to address climate change. Almost two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents said that they were more likely to work for a company with strong environmental policies. 

Following are some ideas for a company who wants to boost its image and attract responsilbe, conscious and dedicated employees.

The Green Team

The concept of a ‘Green Team’ is to identify a group of individuals from your workforce, ideally people who already possess certain attributes and already have the environment at heart, to help you understand how your company can be greener and more sustainable. A group of few committed individuals who are excited to take on such a role, who will automatically help spread eco-awareness with the rest of the employees.

Monthly meetups of the Green Team will help them roll out new ideas and plans to reduce your business' environmental impact and create a greener environment at the workplace, such as making the kitchenette and the bathrooms more environmentally-friendly with a reduced use of plastic, and more organic and natural products, for instance. They can also brainstorm affordable plans to save the company money and resources whilst remaining sustainable, such as reuse paper, keep printing to the minimum, and focus on energy and water efficiency. Greenifying the work place with plants, is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also helps morale and improves air quality.

One of the most eco-effective changes that you can do as a business is reduce the waste generated from your work place. Creating recycling stations in a visible area will motivate people to use them more efficiently. Usually, 4 containers are required for glass, metal, paper and recyclable plastic. You can also leave smaller containers for e-waste and used batteries. The Green Team will then be responsible of arranging for the disposal of the items correctly with the proper entity, explain the rules to the other employees, and monitor the system.

Other activities that the Green Team can organise are Meatless Mondays, or a swap of second-hand items between employees – such as garments, accessories, books or children’s toys. Alternatively, they can host a fund-raising event and donate the funds to an environmental organisation. By leveraging social media, the good use of hashtags, and keeping it fun, online fund-raisers can be truly impactful.

Mobility programmes, such as car pooling or bike-to-work, are generally very well received by employees and have an immediate benefit. There are other initiatives that seem simple and doable with minimum effort, such as switching to chemical-free and eco-friendly cleaning products for the work place, or making a list of caterers who use sustainable packaging for staff meals and parties. Your Green Team can ensure that meetings and conferences are planned with sustainability in mind, suggesting alternatives to plastic water bottles, for instance, and choosing organic and fair-trade coffee brands.

Christmas gifts can be well-thought to promote the Company’s sustainability mission. If you have a remote workforce, you can opt to send care packages to their homes, with reusable and zero waste alternatives to everyday consumables. Check out these ➡ Corporate Eco Gift Boxes.

Educational activities are a great way to raise awareness and get people invested in a cause. You could invite an expert on sustainable development to conduct a talk or a workshop for your employees. Environmental CSR outdoor activities serve as a rewarding and needed break from office routine. There are many great ideas… tree-planting, beach clean-ups, organic farm tours, etc. If you do not have the resources to organise these activities, you can refer to an Event Organiser, or ‘lend’ your employees as volunteers to an activity organised by someone else. 

A passionate and driven work force has the potential of transforming the company’s culture and create a reputation for your business that both employees and customers will be proud of. To get both employees and customers involved in your mission, you can create a pledge supporting the environment and invite them to sign it. This will inspire long-term commitment.

Millennial employees want to feel that their work matters and they are keen to work with companies they feel can make a difference. Therefore, a Company with a sustainable mission benefit from employee engagement and retainment. Likewise, modern consumers are willing to support and remain loyal to brands that show serious environmental responsibility.

Whether you combine a few of the above ideas or stick to something simple, make sure that your Green Team is engaged, but also regarded and considered. They will help you bolster a culture of sustainability in the workplace which will undoubtedly result in numerous benefits and ultimately, increased profits for the Company. This is achievable if the efforts really change how the organisation operates, alongside genuine environmental commitment. 

Monday, 27 September 2021

Go green or go home

Right now brand owners are being faced with one important choice. Go green or go home. 

All recent surveys, studies and researches direct to this one important trend - that today's customers - specifically millenials - do not want to shop for products and services that are harming the planet. Whilst some will see this is as a challenge, it is actually a great opportunity. Brands moving towards sustainability now, will become pioneers of the new normal and have better chances of consolidating their millenial market.

What does it take to make a brand sustainable? This blog post promises to give you some guidance and insights into your action plan.

1. Rewrite your mission statement

Responsible sustainable brands know that the fundamentals on which their business is made of, matter. Therefore start from the mission statement. You don't have to change it completely, but rewrite it or reword it in such a way that it will reflect your commitment to making a positive impact.

2. Define your values

There are so many ways to become more sustainable, that sometimes people get discouraged. Our advice is to focus on one or two things and make them part of your business culture. There is always time for improvement later. 

3. Re-think your packaging

Zero-waste is something that is becoming more and more popular. If you really cannot get rid of your packaging, look into more ecologically friendly alternatives for instance recycled paper, corrugated cardboard or perhaps a return and refill scheme would work for you.

4. Sourcing materials

Being transparent is a focal point that customers will appreciate and learn to come to trust you. For this reason, you need to ensure that your raw material (or ingredients) are derived from a genuine source. Research your sourcing carefully and avoid items tainted with child labor and modern day slavery.

5. Re-design your offer to extend its life

What is the life cycle of your product? What happens to it after the client has done using it? Is it recyclable? Maybe parts of it are recyclable? Can you extend its life and minimize waste? If so, make sure you educate your customers accordingly.

6. Get verified

A recognized international green stamp will help new customers recognize your professionality and commitment in being a sustainable brand. Though the verification process can be expensive at first, the return in the long run could be extremely beneficial.

7. Marketing

So you are a sustainable brand? Do you have a series of actions that make your business more environmentally-friendly than your competitors? Then don't be shy! Advertise - Advertise - Advertise. Get the word out. Consider hiring a marketeer who specialises in communication for sustainable brands.

The benefits for a sustainable business are endless. These include lower production costs, brand image, more loyal customers, and invetable increased profits.

If you'd like to learn more about this subject, we have compiled a very interested quick e-book for you entitled 'Success through Sustainability'. Get a free copy in your inbox today by signing up to our newsletter.

This ebook was purposely written for the small business-owner. It contains further insights and suggestions for a brand to go green, with small and easy steps that you can start performing immediately, and you can read about the multiple benefits in more detail. 

What else can a sustainable brand do to succeed?

In order to increase sales and grow awareness around your brand, consider joining a sustainable online marketplace community such as Coral. Be part of a community of several sustainable brands selling across Europe!

Limited time offer to join as a vendor on Coral.

No joining fees

No recurring fees

Low commission rate

Contact us now to arrange a no-obligation online chat to explain and answer your questions. Or go here to submit your eligibility request.