September 24, 2018

Seventh Generation's Carbon Reduction Journey

Seventh Generation Carbon Reduction Journey

We’re a company that’s dedicated to considering our impact on the next seven generations. A big part of that is assessing our own carbon footprint, and since day one, we’ve constantly evaluated how to create a more sustainable supply chain for our products, and worked toward being a company powered by 100% renewable energy.

In assessing our impact, we focus specifically on three main areas:

  1. Our Products: We strive to keep sustainability at the forefront of our ingredient choices from renewable, plant-based ingredients in our liquid products to organic and FSC® certified components in our fiber products. We work to increase the amount of post-consumer recycled plastic and paper used in our packaging – and make our packaging itself recyclable. Working with our suppliers, we’ve used innovations in technology and engineering to move toward our goal of having all our products be 100% biobased, recycled, and recyclable. We also successfully eliminated virgin plastic from almost all of our hand wash and laundry packaging.
  2. Carbon Usage: Three years ago, we took a bold step forward in our carbon-reduction journey by launching a self-imposed carbon tax. This means that for every ton of carbon we use, we’ll charge ourselves $12 and invest those funds in programs focused on sustainability. In 2017, we invested our carbon fund in agroforestry to offset greenhouse gas emissions associated with office energy, employee commuting, business travel, facilities operation, product manufacturing, and product distribution.
  3. Systemic Changes: The biggest challenge we face in becoming a company powered by 100% renewable is that the bulk of our carbon footprint happens not in manufacturing or design, but when our products enter the home. In fact, over 90% of our environmental impact happens after our products leave our hands—especially in washing and drying laundry. We strive to do better, as do our conscientious consumers, but the truth is that sustainable efforts, such as making packaging recyclable, only bears fruit if that packaging itself ends up in the recycle bin. The most important question remains: how can we increase our own sustainability, while also addressing our biggest impact and creating lasting solutions? We’ve taken some positive steps, including: 
  • Sharing important actions people can take in the home, such as washing laundry in cold water to save energy.
  • Being radically transparent in our business practices through annual Corporate Consciousness Reports, which highlight ways we can improve.
  • Partnering with Sierra Club in the #Readyfor100 Campaign, a movement to fight the effects of climate change and reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels.
  • Helping create the Beauty and Personal Care Products Sustainability Rating System, which has the potential to inspire more recyclable packaging and increase the use of renewable ingredients.
  • Making our packaging easy to recycle using How2Recycle Labels.

To continue moving toward 100% renewable energy, we’ve set some ambitious 2020 goals:

  • Decrease our carbon footprint by getting all our energy from non-fossil fuel sources at our headquarters, our third-party manufacturers and distributors, and during employee travel & commuting.
  • Choose plants, not petroleum by making all products and packaging either biobased or fully from post-consumer recycled sources.
  • Source sustainably by making all our ingredients certified sustainable.
  • Inspire all our consumers to wash their clothes in cold water.

We invite you to join the journey in considering your own impact for the health of the next seven generations. We also want you to hold us accountable by following our progress against our 2020 goals. Please reach out to us any time through email or social media to ask questions, offer suggestions, and share stories.