Retail With a Conscience: A List of Eco-Friendly Brands to Make Sustainable Shopping Easier
Searching Out Eco-Friendly Brands
I’ve been involved with retail for a lot of my career, and I know that shopping ethically and sticking to eco-friendly only brands can feel like a challenge. But there are definitely ways to go about it and still satisfy your own moral and ethical code. Today it’s possible to find products that are eco-friendly in just about every industry of shopping, from home goods and cleaning supplies all the way to beauty and fashion. But that can take a lot of research, which can take a lot of time. Fortunately, I have a shortcut to offer!
It’s been a goal of mine to share a list I put together of brands that are truly committed to their eco efforts — to make it a little easier for members of our community to shop with a clear conscience and support brands that are doing good in the world. Many people are familiar with the damaging effects of fast fashion, but are less familiar about the impacts of other other industries.
The brands on my list represent different industries and markets, but they all exemplify how companies can go about taking responsibility for their impacts on the environment on both a local and global scale. “Eco-friendly” does not only apply to the processes in which products are made in factories; the efforts made by these companies include making sure that their workers and suppliers are paid a fair wage and work in safe working. They also focus on how items are treated before consumers receive them, to ensure that they are not breaking down during normal day-to-day use.
Read the List
Enough prefacing — let’s get to the good stuff! Here’s my list of brands that are doing good for the planet while blazing trails in business.
Modibodi takes period-proof underwear and swimwear. How does that relate to sustainability? Think about this: the average woman will use about 20 tampons or pads during the course of her period. That translates to about 300 pounds of product, both in applicators and wrappers, used over the entire course of her menstruating life. Using a washable and reusable product such as Modibodi saves money and waste. Modibodi was founded by Kristy Chong, fast-tech entrepreneur and a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights.
Naadam is a cashmere brand who pays their suppliers, nomadic goat herders, 50% more than traditional traders — and they don’t use any middlemen, which means you get the product for a better price without undercutting the herders. Their cashmere never sees harsh chemicals or bleaches. They have programs to support healthier goats and sustainable grazing practices. Their products are made in facilities powered by clean energy, and they ensure that their employees are paid livable wages. The brand was born out of an ever-growing demand from consumers that seek quality and and transparency in manufacturing. Who doesn’t love luxurious cashmere that you can feel good about wearing?
Moroccanoil is a hair treatment brand making big moves when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint. In 2017, Moroccanoil saved 737 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted through the use of solar energy. They also save an average of 4,000 trees every year by cutting out secondary packaging. Carmen Tal, co-founder, looked to other woman for support when launching the businesses and the women of her native Chili when shaping her aesthetic.
Flora and Fauna, an Australian company whose offerings include beauty, health, style, children’s, and home products, sells only vegan and cruelty-free products. Their offices are solar-powered and all of their shipping materials are plastic-free and made with recycled materials. The brand is focused on running an ethical, responsible business and being transparent with customers.
Some other Australian eco-friendly retailers that are making their mark include: Wholesome Hub, Nourished Life, and Pure Home Body. These three online retailers focus on selling organic and natural products and provide toxin-free shopping options. Each site vets the products they agree to feature, to ensure they meet the eco-friendly standards the companies wish to uphold.
Why I Love These Brands
One of the common threads among these companies — the thing that helps make them “eco-friendly” — is their online presence, versus a brick and mortar location. Purchasing goods through an online retailer helps to reduce the carbon footprint that item leaves behind through both packaging as well as distribution and delivery.
In addition to being eco-friendly brands, Flora and Fauna and Modibodi are both woman owned and operated brands that have been recognized for their work in our Women2Watch program. In fact, almost all these brands are run by women. It’s an honor to support women who drive innovation in both online and brick-and-mortar retail, and to highlight all of the amazing brands who are thinking about the future of retail in terms of sustainability and conscious retailing.
Do you know an inspiring female business leader or entrepreneur who should be honored on our “Women2Watch list? Are you one yourself? Submit her name (or your own, we encourage it!) to be recognized! Nominate a Woman2Watch here.