West explains the impetus behind launching the brand, the challenges of being a zero-waste company, and what other companies need to consider in regard to starting their own zero-waste journey.
Here is an excerpt from the podcast:
Kaley Roshitsh: You’ve been in business since 2012 and you’ve not shied away from the struggles and the joys behind founding your own business. I’d love to start with why did you found Ethique and what differentiates your business ethic from others today?
Brianne West: I started the company back in 2012 when I was a naive, idealistic university student. I started it in Christchurch in New Zealand, and I wanted to rid the world of plastic bottles. And I believed that the way businesses are run generally nowadays is unethical and exploitative.
I wanted to see if it was possible to create a genuinely sustainable product that displaced more wasteful alternatives. The company was also operated in a way that was much more ethical, fair, and kind to everybody involved, from the supply chain through to end use. And that sort of ethos is carried on throughout the entirety of Ethique. I started with bars of product made out of fair trade ingredients that are all biodegradable, vegan, and cruelty-free, all of those things you expect these days. But they’ve also packaged in home compostable packaging.
There is absolutely no consumer waste. We’re living wage certified. We ensure that we pay a fair-trade price for our ingredients. We work directly with our suppliers to ensure that they’re paid fairly. And then we have a big charitable aspect to the brand as well. We just try and consider as much as possible. And I’m not saying we’re perfect because it’s not possible, but we just try and do as much good as possible because all businesses have an impact, and we want to have a good impact, not a bad one.