A concept that slowly gained momentum over several decades has become a global imperative in the 21st century. Responsible companies from every industry have been at the forefront of using methods and materials that are environmentally conscious, socially beneficial, and ethically sound.
The goal of any sustainability initiative is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. This is no small task. Incredible effort, determination, and will are needed to achieve that goal, but it can be argued that few things are more important.
Below are prime examples of some of our clients and a partner who have embraced sustainability in a variety of fascinating ways and we couldn’t be more proud of the work they are doing. From denim to skin care to toothpaste, they are proving that opportunities for making a positive impact exist everywhere - it all starts with a little creative thinking.
Created for the bettermint of the planet, Mintly isn’t simply committed to sustainable products and business practices - it’s their entire reason for being.
To replace single-use plastic packaging, Mintly's water-reducing toothpaste tablets come in glass and aluminum packaging that is not simply recyclable, but also reusable and refillable. Moso bamboo and corn straw are used to make their toothbrushes and dental floss (which come packaged in compostable paper boxes).
Had they stopped there, it would already have been remarkable. Just like proper flossing, though, they went as deeply as they could.
Mintly’s labels reduce the amount of ink needed by using muted colors and they can easily be removed for more reliable recycling. Their products are compact and TSA-friendly (so you never have to put them in a plastic bag), and all Mintly deliveries are carbon neutral.
Client: Industry Standard
Weaving their ethics into everything they do, Industry Standard wants to raise the bar for environmental responsibility in the fashion world.
Focused on the fundamentals, they seek to create pieces that will stand the test of time, not merely hit an ephemeral trend and be discarded just as quickly. This model requires more than just good design – durable, timeless, sustainable cotton is used almost exclusively.
However, not all cotton is created equal. Industry Standard’s tees, sweatshirts, and sweatpants are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton. What does this mean? It means the cotton in these garments is free of all chemical insecticides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
As an e-commerce business, Industry Standard pays close attention to its packaging and shipping. Manufacturing 100% in Los Angeles allows all items to be shipped domestically, and mailers are at least 50% recyclable and printed with water-based inks.
And, to keep their textiles in circulation even longer, Industry Standard participates in the Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program. Interested customers receive a prepaid shipping label and a $20 credit towards a new pair. Donated jeans will then be repurposed into natural cotton fiber insulation for use in building efforts around the country.
Industry Standard’s family-run factory in Los Angeles has also employed, and paid living wages to, many of the same workers for over 10 years. The way they (and we) see it, sustaining hard-working people and their families is a concept that will never go out of style.
Client: St. Roche
The sustainability movement is being felt in nearly every sector of the fashion industry, and St. Roche’s mission is to impact people, the planet, and profitability equally - both for themselves and their supply chain.
Sue Stemp and Paud Roche launched their label in 2014 to design responsibly-made women’s clothing with sustainable textiles and artisanal details.
To this end, decisions on what and where to manufacture are determined by both raw materials and the skills needed to produce them. The goal is to produce their designs as closely as possible to the source of the fabrics and yarn.
For example, 95% of the St. Roche woven collection is made in India from organic cotton, and all of their knitwear is made in Peru from locally sourced Alpaca yarn.
For their artisanal design elements, handloom embroidery or hand treadle (embroidery stitched with a hand operated sewing machine) is used wherever possible. Handloom weaving produces luxurious fabrics made using zero electricity or emissions.
Aligned with their commitment to centuries-old craftsmanship, part of St. Roche’s sustainability mission is to create clothing that will endure – they hope each piece they make is cherished, and worn, for a very long time.
Client: Coastal Citizen
After years of going to battle armed with skin products that only seemed to do her more harm, Coastal Citizen’s founder was done fighting. She wanted to heal her skin, not attack it.
The same can be said for Coastal Citizen’s attitude toward the environment.
Their healing formulas are made using clinical ingredients and natural botanicals that are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and reef-safe.
Coastal Citizen’s packaging is recyclable glass with a combination of PP and PE caps, printed with eco-friendly soy ink, and housed in FSC-certified paper cartons. A global forest certification system established for forests and forest products, FSC-certified paper has been harvested in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner.
In addition to its material sustainability efforts, Coastal Citizen will calculate carbon emissions and give customers the opportunity to offset them by contributing to their carbon removal partner of choice, Running Tide. Running Tide builds technologies to harness the power of the ocean to help build a climate positive future.
Sustainability efforts are not purely the domain of our clients. One of our favorite Shopify partners, Route, is making great strides in this area as well.
A package-tracking app for both merchants and consumers, Route offers carbon neutral shipping as an added benefit of package protection. Each order directly supports an agroforestry initiative that removes CO₂ from the air and promotes a flourishing ecosystem.
When a customer orders "1-Click Protect + Green" at checkout with one of Route’s Green Partners, a percentage of the order supports their afforestation project in Brazil. Customers can take instant climate action just by shopping — no donation required.
Beginning with this project, Route is committed to neutralizing 100,000 tons of carbon. That's equivalent to planting and protecting 1,650,000 trees.
Route wants to continue to champion merchants with smart practices and empower shoppers to neutralize their carbon footprint as we march together toward long-term sustainability.
This range of approaches to sustainability from just a handful of e-commerce companies gives a great sense of the breadth of possible solutions. Businesses of all types are taking ownership of the issues facing our planet and tackling them head-on.
The sum total of this collective effort will only increase in magnitude as young entrepreneurs, mindful of the challenges our planet faces, enter the fray with bold visions of what the future can be.