Carlotta Wong, co-founder and managing director of eco-brand Lexington, wants to make the world a better place by reducing the amount of disposable, single-use items. From bringing reusable containers when you take away food, to refusing a straw at a restaurant, all it takes are the small things to make big changes.
Environmental conservation has, to be sure, come to the forefront of public consciousness. While it has always been a concern, more and more consumers are now making a conscious effort to do their part.
In Singapore, too, people are increasingly concerned about the impact of environmental decline. Last August, a nationwide survey found that the vast majority of Singapore millennials are concerned about the impact of climate change and want to do their part to address the problem — as many as 9 in 10 of those surveyed say they will do what it takes. Of the 1,002 participants, 88% of those aged between 18 and 24 years old say that they will do their part for the environment, while 91% of those aged between 25 and 34 said the same.
Across the world, more and more agree: change is needed to protect the Earth we live on. For Carlotta Wong, co-founder and managing director of Lexington, an ecobrand with a wide range of reusable silicone products, her mission is simple: she wants to leave behind a better world for her three children; and it starts with the simple, small steps. We speak with her to find out more.
Tell us about Lexington and its eco-mission and products; what makes them special and unique?
Lexington designs and manufactures eco-friendly lifestyle products with the aim of creating a sustainable environment for the physical and mental well-being of future generations.
Ranging from reusable drinking straws to collapsible mugs, bottles and lunch boxes, as well as grocery and storage bags, our house brand Lexngo incorporates innovative product design into the product development process — in a move towards shaping a waste-free future with reusable daily essentials that are convenient and cost-effective. Lexngo products are mainly made of silicone which exhibits properties common to both glass and plastics.
Being non-toxic, durable, flexible and elastic, silicone is safe for use across a wide range of household purposes and everyday needs, and it has proven a more reliable and sustainable approach to reducing plastic waste. In 2019, we launched our resealable reusable straws which are made of silicone and designed with a leak-proof seal that can be unzipped for easy and thorough cleaning.
Share with us your career path and journey with Lexington.
Growing up, the topic of environmental sustainability has always been close to my heart, especially after becoming a mum.
My wish for my three boys is to grow up in a world without the paralysis of climate change. Yet in the last decade, the human impact on the environment has unfortunately increased the pace of global warming more than ever before, particularly with the global production of plastics increasing exponentially over theyears.
Lexington was thus started to tackle this growing plastic-waste problem in our daily lives, and to encourage others to take the first step forward. I have always believed that being kind to the environment and contributing to a greener planet is a collective effort. Our actions do not have to be big nor do we have to change overnight, which is why by designing products that fit into the lifestyles of consumers today, we hope to encourage consumers by showing that every little effort makes a difference, and it begins with the conscious effort to use reusable products.
Since Lexington was started in 2002, the company has expanded from a team of four to now over 150 staff in Hong Kong and the Greater China region, with sales channels covering both offline and online flagship stores, department stores and specialty stores across more than 24 countries in Asia, North America, Europe and Oceania.
Our house brand Lexngo was recognised for design excellence and creative innovation at the First Silk Road Women’s Innovation Design Competition in 2017 and was awarded “Sustainable Product Supplier” by the Business Environment Council in 2019 and 2020.
In addition, Lexngo was recognised as “EcoPartner” by the Bank of China Hong Kong (BOCHK) Corporate Environmental Leadership Awards Programme, which celebrates and promotes environmental practices among manufacturing and service enterprises in Hong Kong and the PanPearl River Delta region.
We were also awarded the “Caring Company 2018/19” and “Caring Company 2019/20” by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service; and “Caring Certificate” by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries CSR Recognition Scheme Industry Cares. It is truly heartening to see the business grow through the years as we remain committed to drive an eco-mission on the go.
Sustainability is a buzzword of today; but what does it mean to be truly sustainable?
Being sustainable means interacting responsibly with the environment to maintain it for future generations. It is being aware of our actions and reducing our environmental impact by making positive changes.
What would you say is the uptake or awareness of sustainable products currently here in Singapore? Why?
Today’s consumers are generally better informed and more aware of the environmental effects of their purchasing decisions.
Unlike before when the awareness around climate change and its impact was relatively low, the increasing number of news articles and documentaries on global warming has raised and widened consumers’ concerns about environmental issues — which has consequently led to a shift in mindset and shopping habits, with many consumers seeking out more sustainable and ethical brands in recent years.
While price, quality and ease of purchase still influence consumers’ purchasing decisions, there has been an overwhelming demand for products/brands that align with the consumer’s personal values. These consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products/brands that are eco-friendly, transparent and committed to consciously reduce their carbon footprint; the key elements that encompass Lexngo’s business motto of “Buy better. Buy less.”
By incorporating innovative product design and the three R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle — into our product development process, we aim to help consumers minimise their impact on the environment by reducing human consumption of natural resources.
How do you personally do your best to be more conscious of the environment, and what are some easy, small ways that people can do to make an impact on the environment?
I would always bring along a reusable bag when I do my shopping to avoid single-use plastic bags at the supermarket or paper bags from fashion boutiques. Bringing my own Lexngo FlexiBottle and collapsible lunch box whenever I takeaway my morning coffee or lunch back to the office is also a habit I have formed over time.
I believe every bit of effort counts, just like how we can repurpose and reuse any paper or plastic wherever possible, like the packaging of products we purchase.
Ultimately, if it is within our means, we can all play our part to help the environment such as reusing paper for notes, making a switch to reusable straws when we drink bubble tea and using the washing machine only when it’s full load. Businesses too can adopt eco-friendly practices; for instance, Lexington encourages all employees to reduce their paper consumption and keep digital files instead of printing documents and filing them, in a move towards going paperless.
These are all small but significant ways we can integrate eco-friendly practices into our daily lives.
What is next for Lexington, what are the future products in the pipeline and what is the next step?
We hope to expand Lexngo’s customer base in Singapore and increase our footprints in Southeast Asia and beyond over the coming months.
We also have plans for collaborative partnerships across a range of industries, including consumer products, household necessities, hospitality, food and beverage, medical, schools and more — while continuing to offer more eco-friendly lifestyle products as Lexington remains committed to dramatically reduce the dependence on plastics and provide a complete solution for reusable products. In the next month or two, customers can look forward to our Silicone Collapsible Flexi Jumbo Mug which can hold both hot and cold beverages.
Designed for people on the go, the mug comes with an ergonomic sip-and-straw lid that fits both regular and wide straws, including our Resealable Jumbo Straws which are 22cm long with a diameter of 11mm — providing a stylish yet fuss-free alternative to plastic cups.