Business 06 July 2018
In today’s day and age, consumers are becoming more aware of how the products they purchase are being produced and the impact they have on the environment. Products or product packaging that is harmful to the environment stands a slim chance with even the slightest of conscientious shoppers. Sustainable shopping is one trend that’s on the rise—particularly with millennials and Generation Y. Through demand, shoppers are creating a world of responsible retailing.
The key group that is leading the charge of demanding more eco-friendly brands is Generation Y. 84 percent of their generation believe it is their duty to change the world, and they are far less accepting of businesses not joining them at that party. Kelly Stickel, Founder and CEO of Remodista, a fintech and retail analyst, has her finger on the pulse of the best eco-friendly brands out there right now.
"While ethical shopping and sticking to eco-friendly only brands is a tall order to fill, there are ways to go about it that adhere to one’s own personal moral compass and ethical code"
While ethical shopping and sticking to eco-friendly only brands is a tall order to fill, there are ways to go about it that adhere to one's own personal moral compass and ethical code. Nowadays it is 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. Stickel has done the heavy lifting of researching and identifying brands that are truly committed to their eco efforts to save consumers the time and effort of wading through them all. These are her top picks for brands to support in the eco-friendly commerce spectrum:
- Modibodi makes period-proof underwear and swimwear. Enter sustainability. 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, a 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 percent more than traditional traders, and they don’t use any middlemen which means you get the product for cheaper. Their cashmere never sees harsh chemicals or bleaches. They have programs for healthier goats and sustainable grazing practices. Their products are made in clean energy powered facilities and they ensure that their employees are paid livable wages. The brand was born out of the ever-growing demand of the population of consumers that seek quality and transparency in manufacturing.
- 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 business and to the women of her native Chili when shaping her aesthetic.
- Flora and Fauna 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. The three are online websites that 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 they wish to uphold.
In addition to being eco-friendly brands, Flora and Fauna and Modibodi are both female owned and operated brands that are recognized for their work by Stickel’s Women2Watch program. Women2Watch is a group of women who drive innovation in both online and brick-and-mortar retail. Through Women2Watch, Stickel has had the opportunity to work and consult with the women behind the brands, the trailblazers of responsible retailing.
“We are thrilled to highlight all of the amazing brands who are thinking about the future of retail in terms of sustainability and conscious retailing. We continue to learn and be inspired by these women leaders and their efforts in the sustainability arena.” - Stickel
"These brands all exemplify how companies can go about taking responsibility for their impacts on the environment on both a local and global scale"
Many people are familiar with the damaging effects of fast fashion but are less familiar with the impacts other industries have as well. Each of these brands represent a different industry and market. Consumers are no longer limited to specific avenues of their lifestyles that allow them to be environmentally conscious, nor are eco-friendly brands pigeonholed to specific industries. These brands 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. Their efforts include making sure that their workers and suppliers are paid a fair wage and safe working conditions. They also focus on how items are treated before consumers receive them to ensure that they are not breaking down during day to day.
Remodista and Stickel not only have their pulse on the businesses out there that are eco-friendly, they are also able to predict how these trends will impact the marketplace in the future as well as where these trends will take businesses. One of the main common threads among these companies that helps make them eco-friendly is their online presence verses a brick-and-mortar location. Purchasing goods through an online retailer cuts down on the carbon footprint that item leaves behind through both packaging as well as distribution and delivery.
Being stared at by strangers is something I have become very accustomed to. Not because I am a beautiful, ethereal being that catches everyone's attention (but I will take it if that's what you're thinking), but in the way that I am a Black woman, a Black person, and people tend to notice my presence. I don't think there is a Black person out there that can deny knowing what it's like to be stared at by a random person.