The story behind

The idea for crept into my mind a couple of years ago, when on a perfectly ordinary working day, I had gently let down a company that was eager for me to profile them in my newspaper.

As bad as I felt, such is the nature of news that some stories don’t make it to print, especially when it concerns precious column inches in a national daily.

As the incredible momentum of environmental and climate change awareness gripped Asia in recent years, however, I became acutely aware that there were amazing stories out there not being heard. Stories of efforts by businesses who were innovating within their industries to create more efficient products and solutions, and of local communities across Asia starting community projects to tackle the environmental impact of modern society’s consumerism.

I recall an interview with the UNEP executive director Achim Steiner during which he told me the world needs economists to be more like environmentalists and environmentalists to be more like economists.

It’s only when the two disciplines meet, that businesses around the globe will realise they need to revolutionize the way the world consumes, in order to put it on a sustainable path; and when environmentalists will realise that the only way the world will go green is if businesses are also convinced.

What he said really struck a chord. As I surveyed the green business landscape in the Asia Pacific region, it became apparent that there was a need for a news resource to serve this community – one that didn’t seem to exist. Conversations with NGOs, policymakers, businesses and the general public convinced me that there were stories to be told, and information to be shared, to help put Asia on a growth path that is low-carbon, and sustainable.

And so, was born.

One of my favourite journalism-related quotes comes from Arthur Miller: “A good newspaper, is a nation talking to itself”. In some ways, it is my hope that becomes a reflection of Asia’s environmental business community. That it will be a platform for the region’s diverse communities to speak to each other and in turn, speak to itself.

The journey to set up has been a challenging but rewarding one. I am grateful to the British High Commission Singapore and the Singapore Environment Council for their vision and support  as founding partners in helping this project take off.

And similarly, I’m extremely thankful for the experienced journalists across the region who have agreed to write for on a voluntary basis outside the demands of their own full-time jobs. One thing I did not find lacking was enthusiasm and passion among the writers I had approached; these qualities seemed naturally present in those who wrote on environmental issues. Perhaps such is the nature of the issues at hand, that it renders it impossible for one to be unaffected by the forces of what is now happening globally, especially in the run-up to the highly-anticipated global talks in Copenhagen in December.

So as embarks on the first chapter of its journey, I hope those who have a stake in this community will participate in this conversation.

Whether you’re a business, or a non-commercial organisation with a story to tell, or even a journalist who wishes to be part of this network of environmental writers, please get in touch!

Jessica Cheam

Founder and Editor of

November 2009

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