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Envy the carbon-free magazine

Created 14/08/2009 - 16:42
BEIRUT, Aug 14, 2009 (MENASSAT)  Covering themes such as climate change, poverty, ethics and transparency in the region, the quarterly magazine, launched in 2008, aims to establish a presence in the Arab
world and eventually reach an international readership, with a focus on Arabs in the diaspora.

MENASSAT interviewed Executive Editor Siham Nuseibeh to discuss en.v’s history and plans for the future, editorially and concerning the initiative to instill social consciousness in the region, including going carbon neutral.

MENASSAT: How did the magazine start? By who, and why?

en.v, short for environmentally friendly, published its first issue in January 2008. en.v is a subsidiary of El Boutique Creative Group, which is a creative house based in Kuwait devoted to design and social responsibility in the Arab world, offering a diverse mix of communication platforms and advisory services to both corporations and consumers.
en.v, the magazine, came about after the realization that there is a severe lack in awareness in the region about issues, initiatives, individuals, organizations and corporations dedicated to social responsibility.

MENASSAT: What are the goals of the magazine? The last issue focuses on Arab identity, what it means to be an Arab and so on. Are the issues themed? If so, which themes are coming up?

The goal of en.v is to instil a social consciousness in Arab citizens and  corporate Arabia, which will translate in[to] the adaptation of responsible, sustainable lifestyles for the betterment of society as a whole.
en.v is a themed, quarterly magazine. Our trial issue, Issue 000, focused on the water crisis in the region. Our first official issue, Issue 001, explored the theme of education in the region; while Issue 002 investigated the effects of climate change in the region. Our third issue as you mentioned, Issue 003: Culture & Society, explored the Arab identity – its origins, inspirations and prospects. Finally, Issue 004, explored governance in the region and the various processes and decisions that underlie all kinds of organizations and units.
The next theme coming up is Issue 005: Ethics & Transparency and will be coming out soon. The next issue after that is Issue 006, which will cover all aspects of poverty in the region.

MENASSAT: Is it the first of its kind in Kuwait?

Yes, en.v is the first of its kind in the MENA region in its vision, mission and activities. Not only is en.v a publication, but it also consists of an online portal and a platform we call advocacy. The online portal is an interactive, bilingual archiving system, which features an electronic magazine version of our publication, audio, video and image libraries as well as numerous functions for users to interact with and share their opinions regarding key topics.

In addition, building on in its parent company’s experience as a branding consultancy, the en.v initiative’s third platform is advocacy. In this capacity we act as a consultancy body on social responsibility campaigns, programs and events for various corporations and community-minded organizations. To see an example of our advocacy services please visit the blog for our annual recycling event, Reuse.

As we are committed to the environment, en.v, as well as our parent company, is going carbon neutral. We are the first in the region to do so in our respective fields by offsetting our carbon emissions by investing in carbon mitigating strategies, energy efficiency and renewable energy. We recognize that climate change is a serious threat to our world and that it is our duty to take responsibility for our impact on the planet. For this reason, we have teamed up with a local environmental consultancy in Kuwait to measure, decrease and offset our emissions.

MENASSAT: How has it been received in the Arab world? Any criticisms? Any attempts at censorship?

We have been received quite enthusiastically in the Arab world- thankfully! It is not an easy thing to try and convince people that change can take place and that it is as easy as acquiring the knowledge first and then doing something about it. I think our biggest problem in the region is that things seem so out of reach to us and that the problems we face are too big for any one person to even attempt to address. For me, personally, this is exactly what en.v is all about – showing people what others like them have done from the smallest projects that may have started at school to the biggest initiatives started by multinational corporations. People need to understand that it all counts, and it is exactly because our problems are so varied that any and all attempts to alleviate the suffering of those affected is of value.

There hasn’t been any outright criticism I would say. Has there been scepticism? Definitely. But that is the way of things I suppose when you are trying to get across such a large number of issues to people. I think the biggest criticism actually has not been of us but of the Arab population – that we are an illiterate people who don’t read, nor care and that we at en.v should not bother; that it is useless. Well, needless to say, we don’t listen to negativity. We are quite stubborn and steadfast in our hope for the future. We at en.v have faith – and patience –and we believe that all it takes is an open heart and mind.
We have only been censored once actually and ironically it was an article on censorship! This was in our first issue on education and it was censored here in Kuwait.

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