The Millennial Conscious Consumer

Pecha Kucha Nights are always quite enlightening and stimulating because you get to learn what various thought and community leaders are up to.

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Speakers at the Pecha Kucha Night Vol 36 on Conscious Consumption pose with DBS Indonesia’s Head of¬†Group Strategic and Marketing Communications Mona Moniks (far right). The bank is an active supporter of Peha Kucha Night.

 

 

Last night’s Pecha Kucha Night, with the theme Consume Consciously was particularly insightful. There were seven speakers, each committed to the 20X20 format of Pecha Kucha – 20 slides at 20 seconds each to share their ideas.

They were all Millienials and what emerged from their talks is the reason why big brands and retailers should be worried.

Up on the stage of the newly renovated CJ-CGV Rumah Kreasi, you have all these young, bright and articulate young people committing themselves to minimalist – as opposed to conspicuous consumption – lifestyles.

At the age my generation would have been considered a prime target for marketing companies as we had the disposal income to spend, spend, spend. The speakers at Pecha Kucha also had disposal incomes but instead of spending they have opted to do more with less.

Eva Celia, for instance, spoke of how she threw out her accumulated fast fashion clothes when she realised that material things did not define who she was. She also became a vegan that, though not for me, is the most logical thing to do if you really want to stop global warming.

Astri Puji Lestari also spoke about how much lighter she felt when she decided to commit to the minimalist lifestyle. She showed us a photo of a tiny wardrobe belonging to her and her husband and told us that everything there were literally the clothes on their backs. In spite of all this renunciation she still looked chic with a linen blouse she had worn on her wedding, brown pants and off-white loafers.

Denia Isetianti of Cleanomics (from Clean + Economics) spoke about how she came about realising the amount of waste we dispose of in our daily lives and how that has led her to  start a shop that is aimed at selling environmentally friendly household and other items.

Other speakers were also committed to conscious consumption but also took an activist approach. Tiza Mafira of Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastic Indonesia, has declared war on the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag, campaigning hit her friends ceaselessly for local governments to ban their use at retail outlets.

Nezatullah Ramadhan of Nara Kreatif spoke about how he was part of starting a social enterprise that took worthless discarded paper and recycled it into a means of income and funds for education for poor families.

And David Christian of Evoware spoke abut converting a plentiful resource – seaweed – into disposable (and edible) cups and “plastic bags” that break down into organic material in 7 days.

Rounding everything up was Hani Sumarno from Jakpro who lauded the efforts of all the speakers but also said that the amount of rubbish Jakarta produces was so massive that there was no immediate solution. The matter has also become very urgent because the current landfill of Bantar Gerbang will be full and closed down by next year. That is why an Intermediate Treatment Facility was needed to complement al the efforts at turning the country greener and more environmentally friendly.

In Indonesia Unspun has found that when things get you down something will usually crop up to blow your socks off and restore your faith in the country.

What got Unseen down recently was the amount of rubbish and discarded plastic bags polluting the otherwise spectacular and beautiful tourist sites in the southern coast of Java. On a trip there about a month ago to a waterfall called Curug Cikaso, for instance, the falls were picturesque, the water would have been fresh and clear – except for the moon and mounds of rubbish and plastic bags from upriver strewn all over the place.

The presence of rubbish and plastic materials – bottles, bags and shoes – was so endemic that you could not go anywhere without noticing them.

Then you have these young people taking at Pecha Kucha who are asking the talk when it comes to making Indonesia a better place to live. These are opinion leaders if you look at their social media followings. They have also taken concrete actions and built real businesses along the lines of their commitment. They restore one’s faith in the future of Indonesia.