Commitment to sustainable living provides opportunities for UAE businesses

Over nine million tonnes of furniture is tossed every single year, which is roughly five per cent of everything brought to landfills - AFP photo
Over nine million tonnes of furniture is tossed every single year, which is roughly five per cent of everything brought to landfills - AFP photo

Startups are increasingly aligning their brand promise to tackle issues such as global waste management

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Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Sat 5 Feb 2022, 7:06 PM

Last updated: Sat 5 Feb 2022, 7:09 PM

Residents across the UAE have strengthened their commitment to sustainable living, and this has provided several new opportunities for startups to tackle key issues with innovative solutions.

One such business is Eze Lease, a rentech platform for furniture and appliances that aims to promote eco-friendly living in the UAE. CEO Faisal Mushtaq explained that much like fast fashion, fast furniture is becoming a growing problem for the earth. Studies have shown that over nine million tonnes of furniture is tossed every single year, which is roughly five per cent of everything brought to landfills. As the piles of furniture mount, the damage to the environment from the production process of the goods is clear and alarming. Mushtaq explained that businesses such as Eze Lease tackle two key issues - feeding into the demand for more sustainable solutions as well as a more cost-effective and flexible approach when moving locations.

“Moving to a new country or home is not easy and can be expensive, with a lot of first-hand expenses incurred on furniture and furnishings,” Mushtaq said. “This can be costly for both the consumer and the environment. As fast furniture accrues in landfills, with people moving from property to property, it is advisable to simply rent products like beds, sofas, and kitchen appliances.”

Dubai-based Eze Lease has been designed as a sustainable lifestyle rental platform that covers furniture, furnishing, electrical appliances, and more. Users can rent a bed for as low as Dh40, or a complete Studio Package of nine products starting at Dh499 including appliances.

Mushtaq believes that renting as a concept offers users the flexibility to subscribe and unsubscribe at the click of a button, without the nuances of owning a product. This flexibility and convenience makes it pandemic proof, and it is also aimed towards a more sustainable way of living.

“The benefits of Eze Lease are aplenty, right from free swaps to free maintenance to free relocation - all just a click away,” said Ajay Singh, VP of OPS & Growth at EZE Lease. “It also presents a huge earning potential to landlords, asset management companies, and brokerage firms alike by exploiting the rental gap between an unfurnished property vis-a-vis a furnished one. A customer can subscribe to anything for a minimum period of six months, to as long as it serves the needs of the end user. The product once back in the warehouse goes through a comprehensive refurb, cleaning, and sanitizing cycle, as per hygiene protocols, and then put out again on the platform to be continued to be rented out till it outlives its asset life. Once that happens, the company would either re-purpose or recycle the product.”

Companies like Eze Lease say that they are inspired by the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, which aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, making the emirates the first Middle East and North Africa nation to do so. The initiative aligns with the UAE’s Principles of the 50, as well as with the Paris Agreement, which calls on countries to prepare long-term strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 C compared to pre-industrial levels.

Zaid Mohsin Kidwai, CEO and co-founder of STRABL, a ‘Try Now Buy Later’ platform, has also observed an increase in people renting items to save on money and be more environmentally cautious.

Speaking on the benefits of renting versus buying an item in today’s sharing economy, he said: “Renting gets the product in your hands today, since the cost of acquisition at the time is low, hence people go for it. The limitation here is the categories in which people do so; we have learnt that people usually rent to test or try something out before buying. What we will see more of is a variation, or a mid-point, between renting and buying - we will soon see a model emerge which merges the two, where people get to try out stuff before they buy.”

This, he said, is what STRABL is now geared towards. STRABL will not only help e-commerce businesses attract more customers and increase revenues, but also give users a way to shop online for a bargain without the stigma and apprehension. “Essentially, we are removing the barriers to online shopping and difficulties for D2C brands to convert customers. Meanwhile, users are still able to get items for short-term use and return them when they are done.

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