The Pacific Green Business Centre has conducted the following short interviews with executives from companies operating in Pacific Island Countries and Territories with the intention of inspiring peers to consider steps they could take to green their own businesses.
Interview with Ms Vera Chute, Managing Director of Value City (published on 27 February, 2020)
Ms Chute says, “Buying second hand clothing, shoes, bags, books, toys etc reduces the processing of raw materials. Recycling reduces energy with fewer carbon emissions. By recycling we are saving water and reducing waste as all these items are not going through the manufacturing process. Furthermore, less manufacturing means less toxic waste into our atmosphere and our water systems – creeks, rivers and our ocean. So, reducing, reusing and recycling we help to tackle climate change.” Vera Chute manages Fiji’s largest recycled clothing importers, wholesalers and retailers business.She has led the company since 1990. Value City now has 16 stores and 4 warehouses Fiji wide with 200 employees with franchises in Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati which are operated by women entrepreneurs. Read the full interview.
Interview withMr Amitesh Deo, Senior Consultant, Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited. (published 8 July, 2019)
Mr Deo told us that “A major setback is just the lack of interest in recycling and what we do. Since we are a private run company, most times government ministries and departments, such as the Department of Environment, discount us as “just another business” rather than an important stakeholder. Our work has not been taken very seriously as we only work with what resources we have available. Government stakeholders need to put more efforts in recognizing our work in order to help facilitate more programs with other stakeholders such aid donors to work with WRFL, help subsidizing costs to make sure we have better resources through government funding programs.” Read the full interview.
Interview with Ms Christine Pickering, the entrepreneur and Creative Director behind Kavara WoodArt. (published 8 July, 2019)
Ms Pickering said that Kavara WoodArt was born from the idea of utilizing this precious resource ensuring our logs are used to their full potential and not gone to waste. “I hope to grow the business by empowering the disadvantaged (people living with disabilities, young, uneducated, etc.). Teaching people who lack qualifications to find a decent job, teaching people that craft work and art is also a form of business,” she told us. Read the full interview.
The interview with Nakita discusses her green business ideas and also delves into the obstacles new women entrepreneurs have to overcome. She says, “The regulatory system sucks, is prohibitive and is discouraging for starting a business for any given normal person! Fiji is ranked 101 out of 190 in terms of ease of doing business. It’s easier to do business in Samoa and Tonga. I face a lot of sexism and ageism too. People assume I am a lot younger than I am and make sexist judgments based off my appearance.” Read the full interview.
Interview with Ms Natasha Woods, Founder – Eco Conscious (Fiji) (published 3 February 2019)
Ms Woods has an innovative green business and makes good use of social media to sell her products. In this interview she says, “After a lot of anxiety, nerves, excitement, lots of doubt and some indecisiveness, I finally made the choice to do something I was more passionate about. I took the next step and chapter of my life to follow my passions. In October 2018, I officially opened the online business ‘’Eco Conscious (Fiji)’’ in the hopes of helping people reduce their plastic waste by providing better alternatives to some of the everyday plastic and single-use plastic that we use. It was a huge move for me, but I felt that I needed to do something that kept me happy and content at the same time. Another huge reason I decided to start an online business is because I get to spend more time to take care of my grandmother at home who has taken care of me for the last 28 years.” Read the full interview.
Interview with Mr. Matt Simpson, Founder of Green Banana Paper. (published 2 December 2018)
Mr. Simpson said that their business recycles agricultural waste and transforms it into export-quality finished paper products. From our backyard jungles to our customers around the world, our products promote Micronesia with a message of sustainability, social enterprise and love for natural fibers. Banana trees are the most abundant and rapidly renewable resource that our island has. With our processing technique we can participate in the world-wide economy, bringing new money into the economy. We use these earnings to invest in people, and in things such as solar energy and further R&D. We all must strive to reduce our environmental footprint. Read the full interview.
Interview with Mr. Shane Hussein, Fiji Airways General Manager Corporate Communications. (published 25 September 2018)
Mr. Hussein said that the large scale vision of Fiji Airways’ actions is to be an organisation that leads by example and takes a principal role in championing conservation and improve the environmental impact of air travel in the region. On the issue of waste associated with air travel, he said that Fiji Airways was in the process of carrying out a complete inflight audit of onboard plastics and wastage. The results of this audit will drive a project which will aim to remove as much plastics onboard, find more sustainable solutions, recycle, upcycle, and reduce waste. Read the full interview.
Interview with Mr. Sandeep Chauhan, Director of Star Printery Limited (published 17 August 2018)
Asked what was the motivation behind greening their business, Mr Chauhan said their conscience was the motivating factor. “My brother and I both strongly felt that we had to be the leading example and practice what we preached. It was not an easy step but someone had to start and we both felt that we had established the business to a point where we could slowly start to implement the measures we wanted to. Most of the Fijian citizens are pretty spiritual and we treat nature as a gift from God, so how could we contradict ourselves and continue to ruin and pollute it. Read the full interview.
Interview with Ms. Mere Rakoroi, Tanoa Plaza General Manager, Group Sales Executive (published 12 June 2018)
In this interview, Ms. Rakoroi acknowledges the fact that the tourism business has a “huge impact on the environment and failure to take care of our environment today will inevitably lead to it not being able to do the same for us, and future generations”. She adds that “to reduce energy consumption, measures such as installation of LED lights, usage of energy rated refrigerators have being employed. Additionally, notices are placed around the hotels to turn off lights and other electrical appliances when not in use.” Read the full interview.
Interview with Ms Tessa Price, ANZ Bank’s Regional Executive, Pacific Islands (published 1 May 2018)
In this interview, Ms Price tells us that “ANZ strongly believes in managing our business in a sustainable manner. We must be mindful of our impact on our environment, manage our resources carefully and play our role as responsible corporate citizens. Sustainability at ANZ is about ensuring our business is managed to take account of social, environmental and economic risks and opportunities. By taking these factors into consideration across all areas of our business, we can create and preserve value for customers, shareholders, our people, the environment and the communities in which we operate. For instance, we are continuously looking at ways of making our energy usage more efficient across our branch network. We are very proud that 30% of our power usage at our operations centre in Kalabu, Fiji, is now via solar energy, and we’re saving over 48,000lts of diesel every year – that’s approximately 2900 trees!” Read the full interview.
Interview with Ms Namrata Singh, Executive Director, Charan Jeath Singh Group (published 19 March 2018)
The Pacific Green Business Centre had an interview with Ms Namrata Singh on the South Pacific Waste Recyclers, a subsidiary of the Charan Jeath Singh Group. She said that the foundation of thought for the recycling business was laid with the realisation that Fiji, as a leading nation in the South Pacific, could do more in terms of creating a sustainable country to ensure the natural beauty of Fiji remains for future generations. “Being a subsidiary of a larger outfit, the onus is on us to be the catalyst for change,” she said.
“We believe that as society perceptions move towards a green and sustainable environment, businesses will be inclined to move with the trends and create opportunities that enable more time, energy, resources and effectively further employment in the Green sector.” Read the full interview.
Interview with Ms Jodi Smith is the Director of The Earth Care Agency (TECA) (published 23 January 2018)
Jodi Smith said that in the past year TECA has been able to set up Fiji’s first organic certified Fairtrade grower group (the Wainunu Organic Growers’ Association), assisted Bula Batiki Ltd with its Virgin Coconut Oil Production and now Batiki is set to become Fiji’s 5th organic certified island, and created the Fiji Queen Organics Association, a women’s grower group where women farmers grow niche organic products. Read the full interview.
Interview with Mr. Mosese Lavemai, CEO, Port Authority Tonga (published 14 January 2018)
The Pacific Green Business Centre was interested in Tonga’s efforts in transforming their port into a Green Port and we interviewed Mr Lavemai to learn more. He said that having a “Green Port” meant undertaking port activities in a sustainable and climate friendly manner. Mr Lavemai mentioned a number of advantages for Tonga in having a Green Port including the creation of jobs in the renewable energy sector and its supply, as well as promiting sustainable management of the maritime environment that contributes to alleviating poverty, creating sustainable livelihoods, increasing food security, improving human well-being and social equity while reducing ecological risks and environmental degradation. Read the full interview.
Interview with Mr Faiz Khan, Executive Chairman of Airports Fiji Limited (published 19 September 2017)
Mr Khan tells PGBC that “Education and training is the key for people to change their culture to become aware and mindful of the effect of our actions on the climate. Whilst the projects we are undertaking show our commitment, we would achieve our goals faster if all in our organization care.” Read the full interview.