What is The Change Initiative? Is it a belief? Is it a group? Or is it a place? In some ways, it has all of these aspects. The Change Initiative is a facility that represents community, education, sustainability, and well-being in Dubai. The Change Initiative facility has LEED certification from the US Green Building Council. In this article, Carlo dei Tedeschi from TCI shares some information about the background and overall purpose of the distinctive facility
The Change Initiative is located on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, and was founded in 2008 by a highly man with a vision called Gundeep Singh, the current CEO. He founded the company with the intention to help and educate people to make more eco-friendly lifestyle choices. Singh established The Change Initiative after realizing the space for a brand that could offer sustainable solutions, a replacement for everything that is unsustainable. He realised the importance and potential demand for his project in the market, and worked hard to make it successful.
The organization is socially motivated to achieve its commercial goals that revolves around it. Its foremost activity is to educate consumers about sustainable consumption. TCI devised a criteria for product selection. The criteria include;water preservations, social development, safe materials, organic, natural, locally made, landfill diversion, intelligent design, indoor air quality, gluten free, forest friendly, fair trade, educational, durable, and biodegradable. The Change Initiative complex is located opposite to Wellington School. Its location might seem strange at the first glance – locked in a concentration of concrete surroundings. However, it certainly softens the area, and being located so close to a school, it attracts a lot of mothers with their children.
In 2013, The Change Initiative was honored with an enviable accolade. The establishment scored 107 points out of a maximum 110 for the LEED guidelines, securing a platinum certification. LEED is the most widely recognized and used green building program in the world. It is run by the US Green Building Council. LEED certifies 1.5 million square feet of building space each day in 135 countries. LEED is a certification program for buildings, homes, and communities that guides the design, construction, operations, and maintenance.
THE CHANGE INITIATIVE: ACCORDING TO CARLO DEI DEDESCHI
According to Carlo dei Tedeschi from TCI, “The Change Initiative was a brainchild of an insightful man called Gundeep Singh.” Gundeep envisioned a place that had a “multi-dimensional functionality.” He not only wanted to create a retail space, but provide an overall communal establishment – all eco-friendly. “A distinctive thing to understand about TCI is that it is not just about recycling, but also about the importance of sustainability for people, and making life better for them, thereby creating a fair society.” Often TCI lends smaller business and their offices to help out, which is a key characteristic of how TCI stands out in the community. Granola is apparently a very popular product at TCI. “We also sell an amazing amount of soap bars. TCI strives to provide products that people really want. “People have to understand that you need large volumes of people asking for things, in order to supply it.”
In terms of influencing sustainability into the community, Carlo confirms that people are ready for the change. “You’d be amazed,” he said. Expatriates are living in Dubai for a longer-term, becoming more considerate of the place. “People want to bring a responsible mindset to Dubai. I am completely inspired by the people I meet here every day, all dedicated to making a difference.” There is a sense of total sustainability at TCI.
According to Carlo, it is not difficult to source suitable products to sell. Naty’s Eco Nappies are very popular (decomposing nappies), as well as REN, which is “very pure and clean.” Dermacare (skin care) from Sweden is another top selling product. Customers seem to be looking at labels more, and have an increasing “depth of knowledge, people are challenging, which is good.” Children have also become very important to The Change Initiative. The incorporation of children has been “hugely successful” according to Carlo. Mothers enjoy going to the TCI store to attend classes with their children. With schools in close proximity, TCI’s youth numbers are growing. “There is plenty for mums to do – seems to have an appeal to mums,” said Carlo. TCI plans to expand on their campaigning to attract more young people. “A ton of kids come here to study – we have amazing Wi-Fi facility – it’s a good space to be in.”
The Farm House at TCI
- The Farm House was established at TCI as a community shelter for farmers to sell their produce.
- In Dubai, farmers cannot sell fresh fruits and vegetables on the road side because of the hot climate.
- The Farm House is one of The Change Initiatives community projects.
What is great about the Farm House is that it is giving small business entities a chance to thrive and sell their products in the market, without falling into complex and expensive deals with massive corporates.