Philippines-founded environmentally friendly retail chain EchoStore is planning to expand in Southeast Asia.
The company, co-founded by Pacita “Chit” U Juan, currently operates eight shops in the Philippines. Now, Juan told the Jakarta Globe on the sidelines of the fifth World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific Emerging Leaders Conference in Manila on Saturday, it is planning its first store in Thailand as a first step in its regional expansion plan.
“Next week I am going to Yangon, Myanmar, because the people there are interested in this business,” Juan said during an interview.
Juan, who also heads the Philippine Coffee Board, was at the conference to explain the background to EchoStore’s background and to encourage young people to find their own ways to help save the environment.
“For us the small way is through our farms and our stores, providing places where people who want a sustainable lifestyle can go. When we opened EchoStore, there was no store like it. Young people can do small things and yet contribute to saving the planet,” she said.
Established eight years ago, the store’s name stands for Environment and Community Hope Organization Store. She describes it as “a marketplace for everything organic, including food, beauty products and baby products”. The organic food comes from the company’s own EchoFarms, which also serve as a medium to empower local farmers.
Juan says her company is not actively seeking investors but is working to cooperate with more people and companies eager to support a green lifestyle.
“I want to find people of the same value, same mindset, and into a healthy lifestyle.”
EchoStore is part of the Slow Food Movement, which promotes clean and fair-farmed food. Juan says she wants young people to be more aware of what they eat.
“Whatever you put in your mouth is either food or poison.”