Women in sustainability: Sonalie Figueiras, Green Queen & Ekowarehouse

07 March 2020

In celebration of Women’s Day this year, we’ve created a bLOG series highlighting three female entrepreneurs who are making positive impacts through their conscious businesses. In our first post, we spoke with Toni from Love Hair (read her story here). Today, we turn the spotlight on eco-wellness veteran, Sonalie Figueiras.

Sonalie is the founder and editor-in-chief of award-winning impact media platform Green Queen. Her inspiring, empowering and thought-provoking original content advocates for social and environmental change, which has indeed sparked a shift in consumer mindset at both a local and international level. Sonalie’s entrepreneurial spirit also led her to launch Ekowarehouse, a global sourcing platform for certified organic products. With over a decade of experience in publishing, digital marketing, organic trade and sustainability under her belt, Sonalie is a sought-after international speaker and moderator, sharing her expertise on stages across Asia and beyond.

Sonalie Figueiras, courtesy of Lucky Fish Photography

Tell us about what impacted you to start your personal journey into green, sustainable living.

My journey began because of health problems. I have chronic conditions that allopathic medicine is not able to address adequately, and that led me to changing how I eat and how I live based on my own research. From there my environmental and wellness journey began.

As a leading media platform on eco wellness, what would you say was/is fundamental in igniting the shift towards a sustainable mindset, especially in Asia?

The visual nature of social media played a huge role in igniting the shift. Videos of baby cows being abused and images of sea turtles caught in plastic waste created a mindset change in a way that words could not. That being said, media platforms like Green Queen consistently informing, inspiring and empowering their audience cannot be discounted either. Finally, we no longer have a choice. The effects of climate change are taking a toll now- and people can see it and feel it. People know we need to change.

Sonalie shares her expertise at the Natural & Organic Asia trade event

In this day and age of a technology rich and connected world, and where information overload is a pressing concern, what have you found useful for cutting through the noise and spreading your message of sustainability?

I think what's key is where you get your information from and to make sure it's authentic, credible and trustworthy. That's our MO at Green Queen – my job is to curate what our audience needs to read and may enjoy reading. I have a fifty-fifty rule: half of our content is telling people the truth of where we are, and most of that is bad news unfortunately. It's vital for us to be well informed and aware of the status quo. The other half is telling stories about entrepreneurs and organisations and products that are solving the biggest issues of our time from climate change to food insecurity to dirty supply chains. That's the part that gets me all excited and leaves me immensely hopeful for the future.

Was there anything surprising you learned as you built your Ekowarehouse business?

I've learned many things but the most surprising of all was how difficult it is to create a marketplace because you essentially have 2 customer audiences (buyers and suppliers).

What would you say is one of the most pressing challenges our world is facing?

Overconsumption (we must stop consuming so much), food insecurity (how will we feed almost 10 billion people) and climate change (mitigation is over, it's time for us to adapt to the new reality). But really the biggest challenge is apathy – we need more people to care, so that we can solve these issues. That's what Green Queen is trying to do – get people to care.

Be sure to follow Green Queen for the latest news, trends and insights on all things eco-wellness, and stay tuned for our third installment of our ‘Woman in Sustainability’ series!