rasheed shroff

8Shades Of… Rasheed Shroff, Founder of Banyan Workspace

A Hong Kong coworking space with sustainability and social responsibility at its core, Banyan Workspace uses locally and regionally sourced natural materials, energy-conscious appliances, ethically-sourced drinks and snacks – and even has its own composting and e-waste recycling system.

We spoke with its founder, Rasheed Shroff, to learn more about the inspirations behind Banyan’s eco-philosophy, his favourite veggie dishes in town, and how he’s continuously working to be more sustainable in his professional and personal life.

1. In one sentence, tell us what you do!

Together with my wife Amy, I am the founder and owner of Banyan Workspace, an elevated boutique coworking space in Quarry Bay. We’ve been recognised by many local media platforms as Hong Kong’s most socially responsible and eco-friendly coworking space.

2. Why are you an 8Shader?

We always considered ourselves environmentally conscious, but our sustainability journey advanced really rapidly when we were conceptualising Banyan Workspace two years ago. We never wanted it to be a “blank slate” functional office, but a warm space that was reflective of our own principles.

The more we explored sustainable solutions to common office problems, the more our eyes were opened to how much we could and should be doing better every day. Sustainability, including social responsibility, has now become the main pillar that Banyan is built around.

3. Your best eco habit?

Despite living miles from the office in Clearwater Bay, I have committed to taking public transport instead of driving to work. I’m also working really hard to cut down on my meat consumption, especially red meat. If you look at the statistics on the carbon impact of cars and cattle, I think these are two areas where everyone can make the effort to prioritise the environment over personal want. Especially when we have such easy and efficient alternatives in Hong Kong!

4. Guilty not-so-green habit?

I still love meat, but these days it is a special treat rather than a diet staple. And, I’ll have it with a glass of sustainable Sea Change merlot to make myself feel slightly less guilty.

5. Fave eco product?

My Banyan Workspace reusable travel mug, especially when it’s filled with Impact Berry coffee! We designed it so that it can be collapsed to easily fit into a bag when empty, so there’s never an excuse to use a disposable cup.

6. Fave veggie dish in HK?

We’re lucky in Quarry Bay that there are a lot of great restaurants around us that offer fantastic veggie meals, from the mushroom risotto at Ask For Alonzo to the ‘vegan crunch’ at Fete Up, so I never feel like I am stuck for choice.

On weekends, my treat is the Impossible burger from Burger Deli in Sai Kung. Not all fake meat tastes as good as the real thing but, in my opinion, this is the absolute best I have found!

7. What makes a workspace green?

You mean beyond all our lush green plants? For Banyan Workspace, it’s definitely all about the team and their passion for sustainability.

From the materials and interior design of the workspace (such as upcycling construction waste) to the nitty gritty of our daily operations (such as using Mil Mill’s tetrapak-to-tissue products), we all share a commitment to viewing every decision through a green lens. The word we constantly come back to is impact; how we lessen our impact on the environment and how we can make an impact on our community.

8. What shade of green are you, and why?

I’d have to say Banyan Green – fully aware of our responsibilities but acknowledging that we still have a long way to go! Sustainability isn’t a destination, it’s a journey – and one that I’m proud that the team and I are going on together.

Besides its passion for sustainability, Banyan Workspace is committed to uplifting the community and donates a portion of its membership fees to its partner NGOs.

Follow Banyan Workspace on Instagram and check out their website at banyanworkspace.com.

See also: 8Shades Of… Cynthia Lok of Clean Hong Kong