The founder of GreenPush shares how she started a green community in Singapore, and what everyone can do to save the planet.
Meet Alya Annabi, a change agent who wants to help businesses implement sustainable practices and have fun doing them. She actually started out by bringing her neighbours together via WhatsApp and educating them on reducing waste and increasing sharing opportunities. Alya also organised free workshops and held talks on sustainability. Through this, she developed the expertise and experience, leading her to start GreenPush, which helps businesses cultivate more sustainable actions.
Alya’s story is so fascinating, and she shares it on Launchpad’s Good Business podcast (listen to the full episode here). Her deep commitment to sustainability also made her the perfect choice to be one of our Sustainability Champions for our first-ever Sustainability Awards. Alya helped us out by selecting the nominees and giving her suggestions.
Want to learn more about this sustainability superstar? Here’s what you need to know about Alya Annabi.
5 things we learnt about Alya Annabi, founder of GreenPush
#1: Alya built a green community in Singapore during the pandemic through WhatsApp.
And that’s not even the full story: she actually started it due to frustration! Alya often spotted things that didn’t belong in the trash being dumped there by her neighbours. To encourage them to donate, she started a WhatsApp group and went door-to-door to let her neighbours know about it. To date, there are more than 130 people in the group, and they’ve managed to save, rescue, borrow, and share over 3,500 items. Alya repeated the same steps when she arrived in Bali.
#2: Without a mentor, GreenPush probably wouldn’t have taken off.
Being an action-oriented person, Alya did everything by herself to spread awareness about sustainability to other people. However, it wasn’t not going as well as she’d hoped. This led Alya to a programme organised by WWF, where she was assigned to a mentor for six months. According to Alya, her mentor challenged her by asking the right questions, pushing her to think more critically, and stick to one direction.
#3: She’s an action-oriented person.
Alya believes in a ‘test and learn’ mindset. She aims to create as much impact as possible by building many communities. She also wants to surround herself with the right people and drive change in as many businesses as possible.
#4: Alya believes that the government, organisations, and individuals should work together to combat climate change.
Her suggestion? Start with one action: join a community, have conversations with others, or learn something online. Small steps will slowly compound into a big change.
#5: She’s hopeful the climate challenge will get better in the next 10 years.
However, Alya adds that change can’t happen overnight – it’s a journey. Plus, not every solution works for everyone, so try to make it fun and exciting for yourself. If everyone can change their lifestyles, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 40% to 70% by 2050.
Let’s chat sustainability with Alya Annabi
With our Sustainability Awards in full swing, we asked Alya what it means to her, her goals and tips on staying sustainable in Singapore.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is a wide umbrella. To me, it’s both a mindset and a daily practice of taking small actions. As individuals, we have the power to choose better actions every day. It’s about understanding the impact of our actions and making informed decisions accordingly, not only for ourselves but for all living species on this planet.
What are some ways to live sustainably, especially in Singapore?
One of the first changes I made when I began my sustainability journey a few years ago was to start small. Choose a simple first step that seems doable and interests you based on your own lifestyle. Whether it’s reducing your meat consumption, reusing leftovers, or watching a climate-related documentary, taking the first step is what matters.
In Singapore, there are many sustainability-related events and communities that you can join to stay inspired and meet like-minded individuals. The more we are, the better!
What is your sustainable goal in 2023?
My biggest goal this year is to launch the GreenPush Community Hub! We have been working hard to create an all-in-one Sustainability Hub. It’ll make sustainability easy and practical for everyone.
Who is your favourite eco-warrior and why?
There are many inspiring individuals who are pushing forward the sustainability agenda. Some examples include my dear friend Carolin Barr K., founder of susGain; Christine Amour-Levar, founder of Her Planet Earth and Women on a Mission; and Jasmine Tuan, founder of Cloop.
If I had to choose just one, it would be Stephanie L. Dickson. I’ve been in awe of her journey since attending my first Conscious Festival in Singapore in 2019. Her mission is truly inspiring, and the leap of faith she took in her career showed me that anything is possible.
For more tidbits about the green entrepreneur’s life, listen to Launchpad’s podcast episode with Alya Annabi.
And don’t forget to vote for your favourite brands in our Sustainability Awards for a chance to win a stay at an eco-resort worth $950! (Voting ends on 21 May 2023)