Good goal is a guide of sustainable places all over Europe. When I first found out about this guide I was still living in Copenhagen and I thought that this guide was a very good idea, because most of the time you can’t find all these little veggie restaurants or certain local clothes shops in the general city guides. They have guides from Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest and Edinburgh among others. I was very interested about meeting the person behind this initiative so I contacted him. His name is Tim Aerts, he is one of the three members that created this city guide. We met in The Blue Project Café, situated very close to Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, a raw food and organic restaurant that appear also in their guide. The place was a very cosy and it is part of the Blue Project Foundation, a non-profit organisation which exhibit local and emerging artists from diverse disciplines.
When did Good goal started?
We started at the end of 2015, just with our website. First we made our website with tips in several cities, in 2016 we made several guide books, and in 2017 several city maps.
How did you get involved in the world of sustainability?
As a founder of Good Goal, I’ve always been interested in sustainability. First I studied animal behaviour, a lot with primates, then I got a masters in conservation biology and worked a few years for a government office on sustainability. I’ve always been interested on the role of people on changing things. Quite often, when it comes to sustainability, things can seem hopeless. But we have the moral duty to be positive, to always try to change things, how little they might seem.
How do you define ‘sustainability?
It’s definitely the combination of ecologically friendly, socially responsible and economically viable. Sometimes, I see sustainable places or projects that miss certain of these three, which makes them tough to run in the long term. For instance, if you have the most amazing sustainable product, but it costs so much that nobody will buy it, the project is not bringing a change. On the other hand, we see very inspiring projects, that are very dedicated to all of the three aspects, an ecological project, that is working with people with discapacities on the labour market, as well as letting workers cooperate in the business structure.
Such things are really motivating. For us, sustainability is about people aiming to do the best they can in all of their practices. Nobody is perfect, neither are we, but we search for the innovators. The sustainable movement has to be open to the world, we need to invite people to take part of it. Sustainability isn’t about being the most perfect one, sustainability is about what 7 billion people on this planet do. As long as that doesn’t change, we’re fighting an invisible fight.
What are some of your persistent challenges?
One of the main things we aim for, is inviting people that aren’t that much into sustainability – or aren’t aware that they are – to join as well. It’s fairly easy to start a sustainable project that will appeal to those already into sustainability. But the change you’re bringing then is quite limited, you’re mainly “preaching for your own church” and creating an echo chamber. So we want to show people there’s always a better option, a more sustainable one. It’s our main challenge, to take away some of the prejudgements of sustainability, such as “it’s expensive, it’s exclusive, ….” and make that sustainability is seen as the normal thing, not the other way round.
Do you think people are changing their consumption habits into more sustainable ones?
Very very slowly, some things are changing. We see certain things really booming, for instance vegan restaurant, craft beer bars, zero waste shops, and to a lesser extent sustainable fashion stores. But most of these are still in the early stages, we must arrive at the moment that they are not called “sustainable fashion store” but just “fashion store”. Habits of people are changing, and most people are aware of some of the benefits of sustainability: such as to quality, to the environment, to labour standards etc., it’s the task of everyone involved in the sustainable community to keep being positive and invite people to this positive change.
Was it difficult to find all these places and shops in all cities? How many cities are you working with?
At the moment we have our online guide for about 27 cities. In the beginning, it took us quite a lot of searching effort to know about all the interesting places in all of these cities. But luckily now that we get more known, we get quite a lot of contacts from people that give a tip on a sustainable place or project they know about. We always visit them, to get a good idea of what it is about and the atmosphere. And every time again, new places and projects appear. It are quite exciting times to do this work. It’s also nice to see the diversity between the cities. In some, when it comes to fashion they might be real innovators, whereas in others slow food is really “hot” and in others they have a local currency that you can use at sustainable businesses. Very nice and inspiring.
Can you tell me your favourite place in the Barcelona guide?
There isn’t just one place, because each one has its own special feature, so choosing one would be a dis-acknowledgement for the others. I think I’d choose one of the parks, some quiet, small hidden parks, or the Collserola hills. Quite often, people involved in sustainability are very much into products and technologies. And we forget the importance of greenery. Each leaf absorbs a bit of CO2. It might sound mellow, but in a city that is so densely populated as Barcelona, we need to cherish the parks and greenery we have, and hopefully add a lot in the near future.
The Blue Project Café is in C/ Princesa 57