Those with a thirst for knowledge for sustainability could walk away with new craft-making skills, relationship wisdom or ethically produced goodies at Singapore’s Green is the New Black: The Conscious Festival, where a host of new attractions have been added.
The Festival returns for the third time from 12-13 May and will run a bumper programme of talks and workshops thanks to new partnerships with Asian artisan showcase Meet the Makers Singapore and local festival SPARK, which discusses issues surrounding sex and relationships.
Stephanie Dickson, founder of Green is the New Black (GITNB), told Eco-Business that the founders of Meet the Markers Singapore and SPARK approached her last year to co-brand the three events. “Our missions are all very aligned. There was an understanding that what we hope to achieve is bigger than any single one of us - we know that together we can be stronger and make more impact.”
GITNB will continue to promote its message of conscious sustainable living through crowd favourites - the Mindful Marketplace of responsibly produced items, food offerings, live performances and an outdoor yoga session.
Dickson said in a statement that living consciously is about understanding the impact of one’s decisions on his or her surroundings and the environment. “If each and every one of us was a little more conscious in a few aspects of our lives, we would be happier, healthier and less of a burden on the planet.”
The event will also bring back panel discussions with a host of well-known names in the sustainability industry to discuss topics including sustainable fashion, climate change and mindfulness, and the audience can expect to hear from WWF’s Kim Stengert, Procter & Gamble’s Maggie Lee, Eco-Business’ deputy editor Robin Hicks and executive editor Teymoor Nabili, and Papayapaths’ Muriel Boutin-Becuwe.
Slated to speak on the panel Waste Not Want Not: New Business Opportunities, Boutin-Becuwe told Eco-Business that she hopes the session will help individuals and companies alike come to think of waste as a business opportunity. Papayapaths runs an online platform that matches unwanted hotel inventory such as furniture and other items with organisations that need it.
She said: “It is scary to think that a lot of the waste we have ever created is still on the planet. But there is a lot of innovation happening and it is exciting to see new business models emerging that tap into the circular economy and extend the life of products like we do at Papayapaths.”
Eco-Business’ Robin Hicks will talk about how brands are saving and making money by being more sustainable in a panel session entitled Environmental Leadership - Pioneers and Innovation. What companies do matters “because businesses represent the most realistic way of keeping a lid on global temperature rises, and governments have shown that they cannot be relied on to act alone”, he said.
The Festival will be held at Equarius Hotel Resorts World, Resorts World Sentosa and while entry is free, the talks are paid events. Last year’s edition of the festival attracted the participation of 1,000 attendees, 76 brands and 20 speakers.
SPARK will run its own Love & Play Marketplace and series of talks, called Konversations, on love and intimacy parallel to GITNB. Founder Erin Chen commented in a statement: “Intimacy and relationships are as integral to our well-being as nutrition and exercise — yet there are still many myths and taboos surrounding topics like sensuality, body confidence, self-love and long-term passion for couples.”
For craft enthusiasts, there is the first international edition of Meet the Makers, which has gathered more than 25 experts in traditional Asian crafts for live demonstrations and workshops. Among the skills that can be learned are pandan leaf jewellery-making and pottery.
Meet the Makers is a craft show from Indonesia, where it has been held 11 times in the past eight years. After the GITNB event, the showcase will move to Trehaus Cowork on May 14 for a Mother’s Day show.
Naomi Jacob, Singapore representative for Meet the Makers, said the aspiration was for the event to become a “regional arts and craft showcase”.
“We see it as a step towards reclaiming the ‘Made in Asia’ label — which has become synonymous with unsustainable, even harmful manufacturing — for those striving to preserve the rich craft heritage of this diverse region,” she said.