Kultura: Social Enterprises as Partners in Green Living

In this rapidly changing world, it’s not enough to simply showcase attractive, trendy, and functional products.  

Kultura is proud to be among those consciously promoting more sustainable, meaningfully-crafted and locally- sourced merchandise for green living. With a loyal following and many branches across the country, Kultura takes their mission to building a greener Philippines seriously.

Kultura President Ivy Yap expounds, “Retailers can influence customer purchasing decisions depending on our product offerings, pricing strategies and promotions—from product displays to discounts and loyalty programs. Using this influence for good, Kultura helps consumers adopt greener lifestyles by offering a wide selection of products that are made from natural materials that are biodegradable, upcycled or repurposed, aside from being locally sourced.” 

Today, the Kultura store is stocked to the brim with Green Finds that make it easier for customers to lead a sustainable lifestyle. 

Platform with a Purpose

Kultura, an SM Retail Affiliate, has been key to advocating Green Finds– products that are sustainably sourced and support local communities.

 SM through Kultura, has become a Platform for the growth of MSMEs. Millie Monday and Haspe are two Filipino retail brands that have been engaged with Kultura and grateful for how Kultura has been an effective incubator for their respective enterprises.

Mariel Ching of Millie Monday relates how this division of their Primex printing company was named after their mother, and how it specializes in merging art and print technology to create functional paper-related products and accessories for the home. “It was borne out of the pandemic as regular printing jobs vanished, and the family had to find ways to diversify our output, and keep our personnel and machines occupied.”

Today, Millie Monday has expanded its product lines, to include other non-paper products. Thanks to Kultura, Mariel was happy to report that bulk orders, and outright purchases from foreign countries like Singapore and Tokyo, have transpired. Their collaborations with established artists produce collections that are very well-received, and they credit Kultura for helping create awareness and goodwill for their brand.

  On the sustainability features of the Millie Monday brand, Mariel spoke about their sustainably sourced paper, and soy-based ink, as well as their Heidelberg offset machine, acquired with a proviso that involved planting trees in Africa. “We are the only Asian printer given the Green Leaf Award by Kodak in 2019. We don’t print on tarp, as it isn’t biodegradable.”

  Haspe is the Spanish/Filipino word for wood grain, and it’s a clue to the world of Baliwag, Bulacan native Arch. Eric Gonzales, who designs and creates the wonderful wood-based products and accessories that have caught the eye of shoppers that frequent CITEM, FAME and ArteFino fairs. “Our ‘sungka’, and chess board, made of mahogany wood and solihiya (rataan weaving), are among our signature products”. 

  As Haspe has no Metro Manila showroom, Eric credits Kultura for being invaluable in terms of brand awareness. “We started off in 2016 with big traditional furniture pieces, and was inspired in 2019 to make use of the excess wood, and design smaller pieces.” He expanded to incorporate rattan, bone inlay, and other locally sourced materials. The wood he uses are sustainably farmed in Mindanao.

  Sustainability comes easy to Haspe as the products are a form of up-cycling, since the wood utilized to create these products come from ‘retasos’, or leftover materials, that would have been thrown away. Haspe’s products have become the pride of Baliwag, Bulacan.

  For both Millie Monday and Haspe, the sustainable aspects of how they operate their businesses are givens, as they acknowledge the need for being more responsible entrepreneurs.

While they’ve been involved with Kultura for less than a year, they both credit their engagement with Kultura as godsends, and are pleased to be placed under the umbrella of Green Finds.

Being sustainable and green conscious is a collective effort, from the manufacturers and the retailers, all the way to the consumers; and SM is happy to be driving the education, awareness and marketing of this new consciousness. 

  “By educating customers about the importance of sustainability and providing easy access to mindfully-crafted merchandise, we aim to promote changes in our customers’ behaviors and move them to lead more eco-conscious lifestyles. We hope our efforts inspire other businesses and lead to the adoption of more eco-friendly practices in the retail industry, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable future for the country,” says Yap.  

My Dream in a Shoebox Year 14 Supports Filipino Children With Education Needs No Matter the Learning Set-Up

As this school year opens with the return to face-to-face classes, it is imperative to ensure Filipino children have the capacity to attend their classes no matter the learning set-up. TeamAsia—an integrated marketing experience agency—launches the 14th year of its annual education campaign, My Dream In A Shoebox (MDIAS) to support Filipino children with their educational needs, especially as they go back to onsite schooling. 

“As face-to-face classes return, we want to encourage Filipino children across the country that they can still continue their education, may it be in the physical or virtual setting,” said TeamAsia’s Managing Director and MDIAS Chief Dream Builder, Bea Lim. “MDIAS stays true to its commitment of making students’ #BiggerDreams come true by adapting to the changing times and providing support that is relevant to the learning set-up today.” 

 MDIAS has been partnering with Yellow Boat of Hope (YBH) Foundation—a non-government organization that ensures every child in the Philippines experiences quality education—for seven years. This partnership grew, bringing in more opportunities to help, particularly with the building of e-hubs that started last year. In 2021, MDIAS raised nearly PHP 1 million that funded three e-hubs, sponsored 100 scholars, and provided 1000 Dream Kits. 

We are excited to continue this fruitful partnership with My Dream in A Shoebox. Our organization is committed to reimagine education and see where we can contribute to allow Filipino children to stay in school. We strive to encourage children to continue learning so they discover their abilities and talents that will enable them to reach their dreams, and we are happy to be doing this with TeamAsia’s education campaign as both organization are single-minded in dreaming big and keeping hope alive for the communities we served,”  said Dr. Anton Mari H. Lim, Co-Founder of Yellow Boat of Hope. 

 This year, with its mission to make Filipino children’s #BiggerDreams come true, MDIAS is looking to raise PHP 450,000 to build an e-hub and sponsor 100 more scholars in its partner communities. 

The e-hub will be supporting students and teachers by providing access to six laptops, internet connection, and allowance for logistical expenses. The scholars, on the other hand, will be given financial aid for school supplies, transportation, learning modules, hygiene kits, and face masks. 

 While the return of face-to-face classes marks the country’s recovery and progress beyond the pandemic, it also poses new challenges for children in the Philippines, especially after over two years in blended learning. This includes not having enough classrooms that can accommodate 

this school year’s enrollees and the safety measures being taken by education institutions to ensure the health of students amid the ongoing pandemic. 

MDIAS together with YBH are eager to be of aid to students, parents, and teachers and become a beacon of hope for an undisrupted education where children can still learn and be empowered wherever their classroom is. 

Since 2009, MDIAS has been equipping less fortunate Filipino children with educational assistance. It started with a modest collection of 200 shoeboxes from TeamAsia’s industry partners and friends, containing school supplies to inspire children to go to school. Through the years, it has expanded to sponsoring students from various partner communities across the country and impacted as much as 500,000 lives.

If you’re interested to take part in this year’s MDIAS campaign, you may follow these steps to donate:

Step 1: Visit MDIAS website


Step 2: Scroll down and click the ‘Make a Donation’ button.


Step 3: Choose which of the two causes you would like to donate to–Fund an E-Hub or Support a Scholar? You can also choose both!


Step 4: If you wish to fund an E-Hub, you can just input the amount you would like to donate and click ‘Make a Donation’. But if you want to support a scholar or a community, you can only donate PHP2,500 and PHP25,000 respectively.


Step 5: Review your cart and hit ‘Proceed to Checkout’.


Step 6: Fill up the Billing Form, choose your mode of payment, click ‘Place Order’, and you’re done!