"Just one person will never be able to change the world, but a community with shared passions and mission...that's a lot more likely."
A Good Community welcomes Stefan Dimov & Katrin Vangelova, the creators behind Project Caritas, a youtube channel focused on reviewing various sustainable and environmentally friendly products as well as providing an honest opinion on products and organisations that work to tackle social challenges.
Stefan & Katrin – welcome to A Good Community! What does a day in your life look like?
As young professionals, we spend most of our day at work. A substantial part of our free time is devoted to exercising, maintaining a healthy diet and working on Project Caritas, which is an expression of our passion to contribute to building a more sustainable future - environmentally and socially. Our holidays are largely spent travelling, which gives us the chance to explore different communities and cultures.
As Londoners by choice, what drew you to the city?
The quality of higher education in the UK and the professional development perspectives available after that, have been some of the main reasons why we chose to live here. London, in particular, gives you a unique chance to be part of a vibrant international community, which is culturally and intellectually stimulating.
A Good Company is Swedish and granted, Sweden has come very far in terms of sustainable efforts, but our take is that London has come even further in terms of an engaged sustainable community with more individual climate action. What local development have you seen that is sustainability-related?
Many everyday life-changes can be noticed. The rising number of recycling points is one of them. In London, for example, you can now recycle your paper coffee cup in a specified point, thus making its recycling process easier and more efficient.
Another change that comes to mind is that people are increasingly switching to reusable bags, water bottles and coffee cups.
Businesses, on the other hand, are fostering that trend by offering discounts (whether it’s from your overall grocery shopping price or from your morning coffee price) to consumers who do use them.
One of the biggest and most substantial changes which we’ve noticed growing across the UK, is the number of start-up businesses which are entirely focused on establishing business models or products that are supporting both the local community and the environment.
By doing this they creating products that are much better for us all and allow us to be responsible consumers.
Some examples are: Retrospecced – a social enterprise that recycles and refurbishes retro and designer frames; rCUP – the world’s first reusable cup made from used paper cups; Primal Suds – all natural soaps that are plastic-free, cruelty-free and vegan friendly. All of which we have reviewed on our Youtube channel.
All of these changes are a great opportunity to create a strong community of like-minded people as well as a chance for smaller businesses (with big/fresh ideas) to enter the market. By doing this they can offer consumers a different choice in times where market leaders hold the biggest slice of the cake.
What is your personal take on today’s consumption?
In a world where online shopping and e-commerce businesses like Amazon completely dominate, and where shopping online is cheaper and more convenient than ever, consumerism has a strong foundation. This can hardly be challenged, let alone eliminated.
Do you think that there is a way we can work together to change society’s current consumption into being more conscious?
Frankly, we see two major questions here; Are people conscious? If they are, what opportunities are they given to make the conscious choices?
What we mean by this, is that being able to be a conscious consumer heavily depends on the economic situation of the country, which largely defines what’s on the market i.e. the choices you are provided with.
Another major obstacle would be not consciousness, but affordability because it is no secret that choosing a more “environmentally-friendly” version of a particular product is not always the more financially feasible option for many households.
This is also the reason why the fast fashion industry continues to flourish. It is hard to convince a consumer to buy less for more, especially when they cannot see the immediate impact of this way of consuming.
This is why one of the main goals of Project Caritas is to inform people about the growing number of companies and brands that offer sustainable products and to provide the viewer with a choice, so that they can make a conscious decision based on: price, location (shipping distance, price, convenience), philosophy and vision of the brand.
Having said that, you could argue that this is just another way to promote consumerism, which is still no near achieving zero waste. Technically this is true, there are some products which you may not quite need but there are also some necessities you cannot avoid buying.
In your mind, what is our greatest opportunity right now to address things like poverty and climate change?
Education is definitely a great asset which can easily be taken for granted. Access to education is and always has been one of the most powerful tools for fighting poverty and inequality. It can also be efficient in taking on climate change head first.
Whether this is information about the causes and effects of climate change or whether it's about the constantly increasing knowledge within developing and controlling technology, the power still lies in our access to science.
What in your mind signifies A Good Community?
For us, A Good Community is all about people who are creating and promoting positive change, who lead and live by example and who challenge the status quo.
It is a clear expression of our vision at Project Caritas - consume less, consume responsibly and inspire positive change.
We believe that as part of A Good Community we will get the chance to meet many like-minded individuals who work on exciting projects similar to Project Caritas. Perhaps we will be able to work together towards a better future.
Just one person will never be able to change the world, but a community with shared passions and mission...that's a lot more likely.
What are some of your passions and dreams going forward?
Making a positive difference not just within society, but in the mindset of young people, by creating a business model which will challenge the stereotype that successful business is measured solely by the revenue it brings.
Thanks for being part of A Good Community, any last words you’d like to add for the people around the world reading this?
Buy less, buy well and do not underestimate the power you have as a single consumer because with every purchase you make, you cast your vote on the kind of world you would like for you and your children to live in.
Follow Stefan's and Katrin's youtube channel Project Caritas to stay up to date on companies and brands that go above and beyond to tackle societal issues.
Project Caritas are dedicated to donating 100% of all ad revenue that comes through this channel to charity organisations, non-profits and people in need around the world.