Growing up with a horticulturist father, I feel at least some things have rubbed off on me when it comes to caring for the environment. Day to day, I try to recycle what I can, purchase biodegradable products where possible and overall try and adopt an ‘experiences over stuff’ mentality. We can’t all be perfect, but I do think there’s a lot of merit in doing the best we can – if everyone adopted this view to improve just a little bit, the world would change dramatically.
Today’s marketplace makes it so much easier to discern which products are focused on saving the environment – because generally they shout it pretty loud! It’s not only used as a savvy marketing tool, but a way to ensure we can all become more conscious of what we’re using and make better choices. Advocates like Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar promote less food wastage and making everything from scratch to avoid nasty plastic packaging. And then there’s the products available online and in our supermarkets that take this even further. It allows people to feel as though they are part of something bigger, particularly if they feel they are too busy to fundraise or volunteer elsewhere without the guilt or shame we can be made to feel in today’s tough society.
Thank You is a brand I have been supporting since I first saw it on the supermarket shelves. They make everyday products such as soaps and body care, muesli, bottled water and now a whole range of baby care items including sustainable disposable and cloth nappies. What I love about this brand is that it’s stylish and contends with other more expensive home decor products available. The real thing that got me over the line though was their social enterprise model where their value proposition is ‘We exist 100% to end global poverty’, giving all profits to people in need. You can even track your contribution on their website using a code found on the product you buy.
Boxed Water promotes similar values and focuses on starting a conversation with consumers to make them aware of the environmental impact packaging has. I love their clever little ‘Hello’ message on the side of each water box. The recyclable ‘bottles’ are made from mostly paper – a renewable resource – and they have created a shipping model that allows for a minimised carbon footprint. They have even created a social media campaign where if you take a photo of yourself with a Boxed Water, tag the company and hashtag #ReTree, they will plant two trees per post!
Who Gives a Crap is the most recent brand I’ve seen getting on the environmental and sustainability bandwagon while giving back. This 100% recycled toilet paper is available only online (taking out the middle man) and 50% of their profits help to build toilets for those in need. Their packaging is also hip and fun – the overall look and feel is so fun that all people want to do is be part of it.
The best thing about many of the emerging products in this social enterprise category are that they all have cool packaging and are attractive to be seen with and have in your home. Gone are the days where being environmental is daggy or “just for hippies”. There is so much more education available and the companies that market themselves properly have nothing but success ahead of them.