Strengthening Asia’s voice for sustainable development

Eco-Business has launched new subscription plans for our community. We invite you to support our independent journalism and thought leadership initiatives to forge a sustainable Asia and beyond.

Eco-Business Changing Course exhibition
Eco-Business marks 15 years by launching its new digital subscription plans. It has evolved from a small start-up focused on reporting on climate and sustainability issues in 2009 to a regional media and advisory platform for sustainable business and policy, with a presence across Asia that helps to shape the region's development path. Image: Eco-Business

Dear readers, 

This week, as our team prepared for the milestone launch of our inaugural digital subscription plans, the headline that dominated our newsroom conversations was the Guardian story that hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists believe we have blasted past the 1.5C increase in global temperatures — a target guiding the global Paris Agreement on climate change.   

The scientists predict a “semi-dystopian” future including famines, conflicts and mass migration, driven by heatwaves, wildfires, floods and storms “of an intensity and frequency far beyond those that have already struck”. Many reported being paralysed by a sense of hopelessness from the inaction of governments and business.    

At the same time, new figures by London think tank Ember revealed that 2023 was a record-breaking year for renewable energy sources. For the first time, 30 per cent of electricity produced worldwide was from clean sources such as solar and wind farms, with China being a main driver.   

Depending on what type of news you consume, it can have a significant impact on one’s mental health — recent studies have linked news consumption and “doom-scrolling” with increased stress and anxiety.

It is evident that we are living through an unprecedented era of transformation — from the accelerating climate crisis to the energy transition, complicated geopolitics to the threat of the next pandemic and the advancement of artificial intelligence.    

Amid this state of (what some historians call) ‘polycrisis’, there remains a distinct role for trusted media to be a platform for discourse, and to help societies navigate how they should respond to the megaforces shaping our daily life and the future.   

When Eco-Business was launched 15 years ago, we set out to play this role and pioneered a unique brand of purposeful journalism that sheds light on underreported issues in the Asia Pacific region.    

We were the first in the region to provide news and views on business and policy trends, through a sustainable development lens. It is reflected in our name, which is the combination of ‘ecology’ and ‘business’.  

The former is a term derived from Greek; ‘logos’ means learning or thought, and ‘eco’ comes from the Greek word ‘oikos’ meaning ‘household” — in other words, the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment, at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level.    

Eco-Business was set up to investigate the interaction of our ecosystems with one another, and it is still the north star that guides our coverage, advocacy and thought leadership activities throughout the region.   

This 15-year journey was not without its challenges and deep existential moments. We went from being newsroom journalists focused only on what was printed the next day, to having to learn the brutal commercial realities of running a media business. Every year of survival was hard fought and we continue to navigate the headwinds facing the media industry. 

We hope that you will support us to strengthen our journalism, raise the quality of discourse and ultimately help to shape the policies, business and consumer thinking that will define our future.   

We had some advantages — we started as a digital platform and kept costs low, even as we expanded our news coverage across the region and explored new revenue streams that enabled us to keep going.    

We were not spared from the rise of the tech giants and their disruption to the media landscape. Like many others, we suffered advertising losses. The democratisation of content and changing consumer patterns have also forced us to stay nimble, and above all — have a distinct value proposition to survive.    

Today, we mark a new era in our journey by launching our new EB subscription membership plans. (“EB” is an affectionate abbreviation of our name which we use internally, and increasingly, externally too.) Our move to a subscriber model mirrors many other media organisations that have done the same in an effort to build recurring revenue and depend more on their readers than their advertisers.   

There have been many successful examples around the world that have given us hope that we can count on our community to help support and strengthen the independent journalism we provide.  

Our approach is however unique in that we are committed to putting more than half of our content in front of any wall, and still offering a free membership tier which enables anyone to access our exclusive content.    

We’re excited to be offering a lot more benefits and perks to our subscribers, from unlimited access to our content and archive, to training programmes, community events, discounted tickets to flagship conferences and publishing services.   

We hope that you will support us to strengthen our journalism, raise the quality of discourse and ultimately help to shape the policies, business and consumer thinking that will define our future.   

We operate in a region that is today the epicentre of global economic growth and trade flows. It is the fastest-growing region in the world with the largest population undergoing dramatic transformations. At this critical juncture, Asia needs to get its development pathway right, and this requires a coordinated approach between the public, private and people sectors.

The role of the media is ever more critical in these times, providing a platform for discussing key issues, fostering dialogue and diverse perspectives, and helping to hold institutions — and ourselves — accountable.    

We remain laser focused on expanding our services and scaling our impact in this region and beyond. We will build on our strong track record and deep expertise to continuously build capacity at all levels across the region on sustainable development issues.   

Thanks to the support of our readers and partners thus far, we have since grown from a small Singapore-based operation to have a presence in Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, India, Dubai, and hopefully even more countries in the future.  

To continue doing what we do, we need more of you. We aim to be the independent voice of hope amid a polycrisis world. From covering the climate crisis to human rights issues, the energy transition to sustainable finance taxonomies, US-China climate diplomacy to United Nations negotiations, we are dedicated to delivering critical news and commentary through a unique lens for our readers.  

We cover the fun and entertaining stuff too — everything from the latest technological innovations defining our daily life to zero waste fashion, interviews with interesting personalities and published in multimedia formats including stories, long-form interactive reportspodcasts, documentary-style videos and reels. We invite you to engage with our content and be part of the conversation. Could “purpose-scrolling” counter “doom-scrolling” perhaps? 

We will continue to serve as Asia’s voice on sustainable development issues — enriching policy dialogues, informing business decisions, and shaping perspectives for a better society. We hope you will support us on this journey. 

With gratitude,
The EB team.

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