Now a fervent advocate of responsible consumption, Chiheb Karoui makes no secret that such environmental concerns were “far from” his mind just a few years ago. It was meeting Douda, co-founder of their project Barbecha, that set him on the path to becoming a green entrepreneur. “We wanted to transform the negative image of the second-hand market, particularly in Tunisia, and highlight the benefits of giving old clothes a new lease of life.”
Sleek and stylish, the Barbecha relies on high-end marketing, offering both second-hand clothing and accessories, and “upcycled” pieces created by independent artists and designers. The concept store also offers information on textile waste and its environmental impact, video tutorials, and advice to help users understand how to improve their everyday consumption. “More than a selling site, Barbecha is a community, raising awareness about ecology, through which we try to teach the public about the benefits of responsible consumption, for themselves and the planet. ”
With this in mind, the team recently launched Barbecha Tours, an environmental training and education campaign aimed at young Tunisians in secondary and high schools. “It is our duty to convey the message and foster individual and collective reflection on the dangers of our current way of life. ” Thanks to their participation in the STAND-UP! project, co-financed by the European Union, the members of Barbecha hope to extend their efforts, by offering a range of products sourced from further afield and widening the scope of their awareness campaign to reach new audiences.
ENI CBCMED is the largest Cross-Border Cooperation initiative implemented by the EU under the European Neighbourhood Instrument, bringing together the coastal territories of 14 EU and partner countries. ENI CBC Med seeks to foster fair, equitable and sustainable development on both sides of the EU’s external borders, while addressing common socio-economic and environmental challenges. The Programme does so through the financing of a variety of cooperation projects based on 4 thematic objectives: SMEs and business development; technology transfer and innovation; social inclusion and fight against poverty; and environment and climate change.
The Sustainable Textile Action for Networking and Development of circular economy business ventures in the Mediterranean (STAND UP!) project seeks to support textile entrepreneurs and eco-innovative ventures in five Mediterranean countries (Egypt, Italy, Lebanon, Spain and Tunisia) by enhancing scalable, replicable and inclusive circular economy ventures. Spanning over two years, the EU-funded project contributes to the development of an ecosystem of business support, innovation, and technology transfer that will lead to sustainable job creation for youth and women. STAND-UP! includes a range of support activities such as training, financial grants, market stimulation, technology transfer and IPR protection, among others.