How Grove Collaborative Is Rethinking Sustainability

As home cleaning products lead the charge in reusable packaging and eco-friendly formulations, one company is hoping to spark a similar revolution in beauty.

Grove Collaborative, which started as an e-commerce company selling sustainable home products, is parlaying its expertise into the beauty sphere. During Beauty Inc @20, Stuart Landesberg, cofounder and chief executive officer of Grove Collaborative, outlined where he sees room for opportunity in the beauty sphere.

“We look at our vision, over the long term, as having the opportunity to reimagine these categories, bring the best of efficacy, bring an extraordinary consumer experience with high design and delightful brands — then, combine that with a sustainability orientation around our packaging,” Landesberg said. “Plastic is one of the biggest problems for the industry over time, and there are materials that we know are infinitely recyclable or biodegradable, that can move us as a category. We all, as an industry, have profited from what we believed was really great technology at the time but we now understand has negative externalities.”

Landesberg sees increased interest in sustainability as a direct function of education. “The proliferation of education of the consumer is what’s going to really drive adoption,” he said. “Just because natural products exist doesn’t necessarily mean that the consumer is buying them at the same rate. What we’re seeing today is that consumers are more educated about the importance of plant-based ingredients, more educated about the climate crisis and about the proliferation of microplastics in our ecosystem.”

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Grove Collaborative’s approach to environmental impact starts with assessment. “One of the most important ways to start addressing the challenge and opportunity that is sustainability is measurement. At Grove, what we’ve done is understand our sources of impact and then either offset or minimize that impact,” he said. “The most obvious example is shipping, and we carbon offset all of shipping, and use recyclable materials wherever possible.”

The environmental burden of shipping has even impacted product development. “We’re working to reduce the size of the product to use concentrated formats, water-free formats wherever possible. That way, we’re actually shipping less volume and producing less carbon since it requires less material,” Landesberg continued.

Landesberg reasoned that an industry as innovation-driven as beauty provides the perfect example for rethinking product packaging and ingredients. “Beauty is such a great industry because it’s so driven by innovation. The number of entrepreneurs who understand that using a simple plant-based formula can deliver extraordinary results, is great. As a result, there are so many compelling, small, innovative companies in beauty that really push the boundaries of what’s possible with plant-based formulation,” he said.

“We make it really clear to consumers that you can get the best efficacy in the world from those formulations, and that you’re going to be really excited about them,” he said, “and taking plant-derived ingredients and delivering a performance that matches or exceeds what you’re used to from a conventional brand. Then, we add the sustainability layer onto it.”


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