Any venue that displays a show-stopping artwork of Steve Jobs made from discarded pieces of computer equipment knows a thing or two about first impressions. New eco store The Change Initiative on Sheikh Zayed Road certainly made us take notice when we visited – the wall art was apparently made in Dubai by the company’s creative team. But that’s not the only reason you should check out this feelgood shopping hub. The spacious, double-level store dedicates its trade entirely to sustainable products, from high-design cardboard chairs made by renowned architect Frank Gehry to an eco-fuel VW and even homewares made from old tyres.
It’s all the work of Indian founder and CEO Gundeep Singh, who has lived and worked in the UAE for more than 13 years. He hopes the store will trigger new practices within the community and help consumers make more responsible choices. Ambitious, yes, but he has some big names behind him: Robert Kennedy Jr, nephew of the former US president, is one of the board members.
Namedropping aside, this venue could do some serious damage to your wallet – it offers everything from clothes and bags made from jute to shower filters, solar chargers and energy-saving appliances. It also features two sectioned-off showroom- style ‘smart’ home and office areas, in which you can learn how to become more environmentally friendly.
But does the store practice what it preaches – is the building itself sustainable? Apparently so. Marketplace supervisor Danish Aziz says the building has applied for the highest status of internationally recognised LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which looks at everything from the disposal of unused tiles to the source of its energy. If you’re unsure why something on show is ‘sustainable’, ask. The staff are incredibly clued up on the products and why each has a place on the shop floor.
The Change Initiative, Shekh Zayed Road, Barsha, www.thechangeinitiative.com (800 824).
More sustainable buys in Dubai
The Green Eco-Store
The Mercato-based stall sells eco-friendly products such as bamboo kitchenware and solar-powered backpacks.
Mercato Mall (no number).
A local online store selling hand-crafted eco-friendly ethnic-style sandals from US company Nomadic State of Mind.