Mehrzad Seyri is originally from Iran, but he has been living and doing business in Czechia for a quarter of a century. Today, he is the owner of Eco Space Prague, which offers organic products from the country and the world, and has now supported his sustainable mindset by adopting the green currency CO2IN.
How did you get into the organic business?
I was brought to sustainability and business in this area from two sides. Today my shop is called Eco Space Prague, but I originally started as an iOS service in 2018, repairing Apple devices, especially the displays on iPhones. That was kind of the first step towards a sustainability business. With this experience, we started an iOShop where, in addition to servicing, we sold eco-friendly phone packaging and accessories, the first in the Czech Republic.
The second impulse that got me into a green mindset came from my family. My girlfriend's sister lives a very eco-friendly life with her husband, and they taught me a lot in that regard. They are both great role models for me when it comes to environmentalism.
I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to throw anything away and I'm always trying to fix it. I used to see it as more of a nuisance, but now I understand that it's the opposite of a solution.
By combining my experience in service and a deeper study of the issue of plastics in mobile accessories and packaging, I have come to the conclusion that we need to offer people a gentle alternative.
Why do you think people should prefer sustainable products when they have to pay more for them?
The higher price is a logical consequence of many factors. The waste from which the products are made has to be fished out of the ocean, recycled, made into something and then sold. In addition, we are trying to reduce our climate and social impact, so it is a given that the people who work on the products are adequately rewarded, and we also address the carbon footprint of all goods.
But people should realise that paying more once for a quality product often works out cheaper in the end than repeatedly paying little for something that doesn't last.
How do you choose suppliers for your store to make sure their products are truly eco-friendly?
When I started out, there were actually very few companies producing eco-friendly products in the technology sector, and most of them weren't even on the Czech market. So I started looking for sustainable companies and negotiating with them to supply their goods to Czechia.
The first was a Canadian company called Pela Case, which makes sustainable and compostable phone covers. In addition, they then started to produce special editions of the covers, from the sale of which a part of the profits goes to projects to save various animal species, whether they are sharks, turtles or bees.
Also worth mentioning are LE CORD lightning cables made from recycled fishing nets fished out of the ocean. There are hundreds of tonnes of old nets on the sea floor and they pose a huge problem for underwater life.
Last but not least, we offer waterproof backpacks from the German manufacturer GOT BAG made from recycled PET bottles fished out of the ocean. As far as design is concerned, I dare say they are truly cutting-edge.
You mentioned your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint during the interview, was that the main reason for you to start adopting CO2IN as a payment method?
Definitely yes! At the same time, I am always open to collaborating with new companies that come up with some new and effective solutions to the climate crisis. Most of our products are focused on cleaning the oceans, so I liked the possibility of linking that to cleaning the atmosphere.