In hindsight, innovation can sometimes shock us for its obviousness — it makes us question why things haven’t always been done that way. Why aren’t all fabrics biodegradable? How come every shoe isn’t made from recycled plastic bottles?
However, it takes seriously creative thinking to spot those opportunities for change. Take a bar of soap. Good Companies across the world are challenging traditional business models, investing in innovative and holistic production processes, and rethinking soap itself — all in pursuit of making the world a better place.
Ethique makes “beauty bars” meant for your hair, face, and body — and even for your pets and laundry. The company is reimagining body and skin care in pursuit of eradicating the world of plastic waste.
Traditional liquid soaps and shampoos come in plastic bottles, 80 billion of which end up in landfills, each year. Ethique’s bars provide an alternative. They’re climate neutral, cruelty-free, vegan, have no palm-oil, and come packaged in water soluble paper and compostable boxes.
Ethique donates 2% of their revenues or 20% of their profits (whichever is higher) to charities devoted to protecting the environment and animals. The cherry on top: solid bars are highly concentrated, last up to 5 times longer than a bottle of liquid product, and don’t contain any preservatives.
Dr. Bronner’s is a pioneer in the body care industry — they’re the largest USDA Organic Certified personal care company, and were the first to introduce 100% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging to body care. Founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation soapmaker, their message is one of unity.
That sense of responsibility runs through the company’s operations, from how they treat their employees to how they make their soaps. Dr. Bronner’s production process includes a system that reduces rinse water use by 85%. Of the waste they create, 75% is recycled, reused, or composted .
They donate a minimum of 2% of their sales annually, and any profits that they don’t need to for running the business are dedicated to progressive causes and charities.
Elephas‘ mission is to restore harmony between people and animals. How? By making shea butter soap. Shea forests are crucial to elephants, and in making their soaps Elephas simultaneously provides an alternative income source to poaching and encourages habitat preservation.
There’s more: For every bar purchased, they donate food to local women and children. They partner with small-scale African growers to actively protect endangered zones and share 50% of the profits. They provide women with professional training and the knowledge needed to preserve their natural resources. They donate to nonprofits protecting animal habitats. And, at the end of the day, they make one clean bar of soap — Certified Organic shea butter oils, no palm oil or palm oil derivatives, and no chemicals, gluten, or plastics.
Pacha Soap Company makes handcrafted all-natural soaps. They’re committed to making “clean” products with environmentally friendly ingredient lists — no parabens, sulfates, dyes, or other harsh chemicals.
Founders Andrew and Abi Vrbas realized that by providing people with the right skills and knowledge, they could set them up for economic freedom. With simple ingredients from the earth, minimal equipment, and an entrepreneurial spirit they were able to help set up sustainable, small-scale soap shops in developing countries.
For every purchase, they donate a bar of soap and clean water to someone in need. Furthermore, each purchase contributes to their partnership initiatives, through which they’re able to provide much-needed sanitation resources to communities and boost local economies.
Hand in Hand Soap is, unsurprisingly, very serious about soap. Their bar soaps, body wash, scrubs, and lotions are vegan, plant-based, and cruelty-free. They’re also palm-oil free; harvesting palm oil results in the widespread deforestation of rainforest, destroys soil health and wildlife habitats, and leaks massive amounts of polluted runoff into waterways. They’re transparent about the ingredients they use – and don’t use – to help customers make an informed decision.
Founders Courtney Apple and Bill Glaab were inspired to start the business when they discovered that 5 million children die each year from water-related illnesses, nearly half of which could be prevented from hand-washing. Now, for every Hand in Hand item purchased, they donate one bar of soap and a month of clean water to a child in need. To date, they’ve given over 1 million bars of soap and built wells that provide thousands of people with clean water.