Enviu: Normalizing Sustainability

by Johanna Poblete 

How do you create positive change and a more inclusive world? Start by supporting sustainable ventures, Anne Poggenpohl shared, a venture builder at Enviu. To date, Enviu has grown 18 world-changing companies in the Netherlands, Kenya, India, Chile, and Indonesia. 

“When we founded Enviu in 2004, our dream was the same as it is today: an economy that serves people and the planet. An economy enriching the lives of all people, providing access to basic needs. An economy that sustainably utilizes the valuable and limited resources our planet endows,” Anne said.

To ease the transition into this equitable economy, Enviu leverages on strategic, synergistic partnerships and creates long-term entrepreneurial programs that disrupt value chains and drive industries toward a “new normal.”

“We determine what business interventions are needed along the value chain. We validate new, sustainable business models by creating, replicating, or accelerating ventures,” Anne said. “We use what’s already there and add what’s missing.”


Enviu runs the Zero Waste Living Lab (ZWLL) program to tackle plastic pollution in Indonesia. Each venture helps develop the market for Zero Waste consumption so that a truly sustainable lifestyle is possible. 

Koinpack (established March 2020) leads the waste reduction effort by providing reusable bottles as alternatives to single-use plastic sachets. Customers of the warung (a highly frequented store) get cashbacks and incentives upon returning these bottles. “Consumers get more value for their money and can generate savings by returning their reusable containers,” Anne said. 

Koinpack delivers new stock and ensures the empty packs are collected, cleaned, and refilled. The warung owners are able to check inventory, track stock orders and estimate stockouts, and process customer transactions online. After eight months, Koinpack avoided more than 10,000 sachets at two warungs and four waste banks; upscaling to 1,000 sales points will avoid four million sachet throwaways.

Shifting from single-use to reuse benefits not just the resellers but also fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs). “Prior to Koinpack, a solution that targeted the low-end market using this type of packaging did not exist. Being the first ones to showcase that such a solution is not only possible but even scalable is what makes Koinpack stand out,” Anne said. 


Koinpack has other “reuse sister ventures” under Enviu’s lab. Notably, QYOS (established June 2020) maintains 24/7 refill vending machines with reusable containers that, similar to Koinpack, are created by global packaging solutions company ALPLA. The cashless and touch-less machines, which dispense precise amounts of product (dish soap, body wash, or even hand sanitizer), are placed at high-density residential areas. This enables more households to refill at the QYOS station instead of purchasing their daily necessities in single-use plastic packaging. 

Pursuing a “borrow-reuse-return” scheme, CupKita (established July 2020) allows customers of popular cafés in Indonesia to refuse disposable coffee cups. Instead, they pay via mobile app to rent a reusable cup, and get a cashback upon returning it. Each cup is individually coded and must be returned within seven days; the customer is charged a fee if he keeps it. Based on average coffee sales, CupKita envisions saving anywhere from 525 kilograms to around 2,000 kilograms of disposables per store annually.

Other ventures under the lab include Econesia (established 2019), which offers a full-service water filtration system to residences, retail establishments, and hotels—thereby encouraging consumption of tap water and reducing demand for bottled water, while using refillable glass bottles instead of disposable plastic bottles. In the future, Econesia intends to help hotels go plastic-free by phasing out single-use amenities (shampoo, soap, dental kit, etc.). 

Finally, Kecipir (established April 2013, became a joint venture with Enviu in June 2019), manages an online store for local and in-season organic produce bought directly from farmer suppliers at fair prices. Customers can pick up the items fresh (less than a day’s harvesting)—and plastic-free—from Kecipir-exclusive distributors. Using Kecipir’s platform, organic becomes more affordable to customers and the farmers increase their profit.


Every venture consists of a separate on-the-ground local team that takes care of running and scaling the reuse business model, from operations to marketing-related activities. Each team has one or two venture builders who are responsible for the day-to-day business development, and are supported by Enviu’s back-office such as the marketing and communication team in Indonesia, as well as the Netherlands.

Moreover, Enviu’s team is also actively involved in connecting local and regional ecosystems, such as raising awareness and sharing inspiring stories about available solutions to the plastic crisis. They organize events, including webinars and forums, where key stakeholders from various sectors discuss pathways toward a future without plastic pollution. 

“Ultimately, by enabling a plastic-free reuse lifestyle in Indonesia, we expect the impact reach of our ventures to go far beyond the national market. Apart from closing the tap on plastic in the region, our reuse businesses are intended to serve as a global showcase market that will inspire more Zero Waste solutions across the globe,” Anne said. 

Website: https://www.zerowastelivinglab.enviu.org/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zerowastelivinglab/

Photos courtesy of Enviu.


This article is part of the book, BUSINESS UNUSUAL: Enterprises paving the way to Zero Waste, a collection of feature articles on select enterprises in Asia Pacific that practice and promote Zero Waste principles. Published by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, the publication may be downloaded for free at www.no-burn.org/Business-Unusual.