Nathalie Kientz Ibanez, Founder of Respectful Living

Nathalie Has Minimalist And Zero Waste Tips for Urban Living

What’s your story?
I am part French and part Salvadorian. I grew up between the quiet French countryside and the ever expanding United Arab Emirates. Quite a difference in cultures!

Before moving to Hong Kong, I was working as a fundraiser for the worldwide NGO Action Against Hunger in Paris. But when I arrived in Hong Kong in 2017, educating people about reducing waste became my top priority. 

As we were restarting our lives from scratch here, it was a convenient time to rethink the way we consumed. I started my Instagram account to raise awareness and share simple life tricks to live reduced waste lifestyles in urban environments, with a focus on the city of Hong Kong.

What excites you most about your industry?
Each and every one of us can make a difference and inspire others by being the change. It’s all common sense and aims to make our lives, and the lives of future generations better. 

It’s not only about recycling but about learning to consume differently, thinking in the long term and finding meaning in what we have.

People in Hong Kong are willing to be the change if given guidelines and alternatives. We’ve all seen our beaches covered in trash and had days where stepping outside to enjoy a beautiful day was discouraged by a terrible Air Quality Index.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up between Central America, Europe and the UAE. The first time I stepped foot in Asia was three years ago, when my husband and I chose to move here so he could develop his consulting company. Enea Consulting is a strategy consulting boutique specialized in energy and environmental transition, advising banks, investment funds and large corporations to develop their green business and manage their impact.

We arrived here as a family of three and we now have nested as a family of four. I am really proud to be living in such an amazing city.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I like how easy it is to make connections in Hong Kong and to have access to a wide range of people that are willing to share their expertise and passion.

It is also a great hub for discovering and learning not only about the beautiful local culture but about a wide range of cultures living and working together in this amazing melting pot.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” 

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by all the amazing entrepreneurs that surround me, especially the one I married! They follow their instincts, let go of their fears, trusted in their ideas, and they give it their all. I have a soft spot for women entrepreneurs, and mothers in general. They are my well of strength. 

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
When you lose a phone in Hong Kong, unlike in many countries I visited and lived in, you can hope to get it back! I am just so excited to be living in a country where this is possible. Honesty is a priceless trait!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have loved to be bolder on some occasions. Though I firmly believe it’s never too late to make a change. Every second we have the opportunity to redefine what we are and what role we want to play in the big beautiful adventure that is Life.

How do you unwind?
I am a certified Yoga Teacher. Sometimes I’ll unwind by practicing Ying Yoga. Other times I’ll unwind by enjoying a glass of a white Burgundy, Chardonnay, or a Loire Valley Sauvignon with my favourite people.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan! I discovered the bath culture during our first trip to Tokyo, as there was an onsen in our hotel. For our second trip to Japan, we spent a night in a Ryokan in Hakone. This was an amazingly relaxing experience.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste,” by Bea Johnson.

Shameless plug for your business:
Switching to a reduced waste lifestyle is easier than you imagine. It is also healthier in the short and long term, as well as a money saver.

Have a look at my IG to discover super simple everyday tricks and very minimalist tutorials for the entire family. I also organize workshops on “zero waste beauty,” “zero waste cleaning,” and “zero waste kids activities,” for private companies, families, and domestic workers. Contact me for more details.

How can people connect with you?
Instagram @respectful_living

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews

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Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.

Connect with Callum on Twitter and LinkedIn
Download free copies of his books at

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