We are on WHATaECO! When Anne-Laure (read here about her) proposed the collaboration with Benedetta Spattini and Caterina Lotti, it was immediately an enthusiastic “Yes!” about the opportunity to be present on e-commerce that invites you to consume less and better, choosing products with more ethics and sustainability. You can find us in the Tempo Libero (Free Time) section, among the interesting courses offered by the platform.
Since we like to explain well and make known the partners we work with, we asked Benedetta and Caterina a few questions, to find out what it is, what it offers and how to join the WHATaECO project.
Hi Benedetta, hi Caterina, how did you meet? How was your collaboration born?
“Modena is not a metropolis and we have known each other since we were girls. We also attended the University of Law together, but it is sustainability that has united us every day in the WHATaECO project. It all started from an exchange of views on the difficulty of finding sustainable alternatives to products of daily use. Add a pinch of entrepreneurial spirit and the refusal of a career as a lawyer and WHATaECO was born!”.
Why did you decide to start this project? What made you take the first step?
“Awareness, necessity and courage. We were looking for a low-impact site that promotes sustainable alternatives of different product categories, and we have not found it. More and more people are buying online and greenwashing is rampant, so we have studied the solutions to create an online platform that meets the asks but did it in a sustainable way. WHATaECO is in fact powered by clean energy, we work in dropshipping to halve transport and everything we do is compensated. Even the packaging is sustainable: reused as much as possible, plastic-free and sealed with our paper tape”.
What is your goal?
“We believe in a world that enhances and grows thanks to sustainable entrepreneurship. Our mission is to promote sustainability by providing easy access to goods that are daily needed without having a negative impact on the planet. We currently work with over 130 Italian and foreign brands that share the our vision but there are new products online every week. There are many medium and long term goals that we wish to achieve but we don’t want to spoil you too much!”.
How do you select the brands on the website?
“By materials, corporate values and what the product or service conveys. We offer a catalog of selected brands on the European territory that share our mission, create ethical employment and are part of the virtuous business network that we aspire to be able to help to see a change in the world of commerce. All our products are fair trade, cruelty-free, durable or compostable if disposable and designed to have a lower impact on the environment “.
What products do the brands you choose offer? What can we find on WHATaECO?
“A little bit of everything! The categories currently are Clothing, Cosmetics, Home, Baby and Leisure but the catalog is always growing and we are very proud to have also launched the online courses and experiences category, that we would soon like to expand with sustainable tourism projects. Based on the outcome of the online crowdfunding campaign, which will close in September, we hope to also open the category dedicated to food and drinks!”.
You have started a crowdfunding campaign, can you briefly tell us what it consists of and how we can participate?
“It is a huge project in progress, and there are 68 days to go (Ed: now there are less than 60 days!) to close the campaign. We are thrilled with the feedback we have received, because we have managed to raise over 50,000 euros in a couple of weeks, reaching and exceeding the inseparable threshold of the minimum target. We have many ambitious goals to be able to support our brand partners and we sincerely hope to be able to reach the maximum target! You can invest until the end of the summer with a minimum share of 250 euros by becoming a full member of WHATaECO! For those wishing to invest more than 1,000 euros, you will also get free shipping costs on the site for 1 year”.
What was the hardest part of this project?
“We face difficulties on a daily basis. Managing a business for women under 30 in Italy is not easy. Furthermore, being a new brand, the greatest effort is to make ourselves known, to convey to our community that we are Benedetta and Caterina, young, easy-going but with clear ideas: we nurture the ambition to be able to give value to ethical and sustainable businesses. because a different and virtuous economy is possible!”.
It doesn’t seem to be easy, but you are doing very well! And the best part of the project?
“To have the opportunity to meet (digitally and physically) wonderful people. Every day we relate to brands and partners who have put everything into play for a good cause, content creators who carry out a magnificent work of dissemination on the issues of sustainability and social justice with admirable dedication, and conscious consumers who contact us, interact and occasionally write us ‘Finally WHATaECO!’ “.
What aspects of sustainability do you pay attention to in the project?
“We take into consideration procurement, production chain, materials used, durability and disposal. We ask brands many questions (and sometimes their employees too!) to understand their approach in every aspects. To make sure they share and apply our values, we always ask to sign our code of ethics”.
I’m curious: how did you start your zero waste path?
Caterina: “I think it all started when I got into gardening. Taking care of the plants, sowing seeds, watering the summer evenings is one of the things I love most to do in my free time. This closeness to nature has opened my eyes: how lucky are we to be surrounded by so much beauty? How small and passing are we compared to a tree or a bulb that every year gives us a wonderful flower? So I started thinking about the impact of my daily actions, I started to inform myself, to study and to act, and .. I never stopped!”.
Benedetta: “I was the emblem of superficiality when it came to purchases. I led a radically different lifestyle from what I try to pursue today and I have to be honest: I was more carefree. The ‘Zero waste wanna be’ approach leads you to constantly ask yourself questions, to question everything and often have difficulty finding an alternative. Sometimes it is frustrating to feel like a fish out of water or not being able to perfectly embody your ideals, but I would never go back, and do my best every day to improve”.
What do you recommend to those who want to start this journey?
“Think before you do anything. And think for yourself. We do not want to let consumers fall into the trap of ecological consumerism. We encourage consumers to choose WHATaECO when they need to replace something. We do not need bamboo cutlery to be sustainable, but to think before acting and take into account the needs and circumstances of the present moment. It is not philosophy: before having an aperitif, we think and order the drink without a straw. Refusing, very often, is the first step in starting a zero waste lifestyle“.
Thanks Benedetta and Caterina! We follow your crowfunding campaign and we are happy to be present on WHATaECO!
Here you can find WHATaECO:
And here, our course!