UPS Longitudes | Sustainability Through Collaboration

Danielle Jezienicki @ Grove Collaborative
Jun 25, 2020 7:50 AM ET
Article

Sustainability is more than just a checkbox for businesses these days — it’s a requirement for success.

Making a social and environmental impact through your business has become table stakes, as consumers expect brands to take a stand on a growing number of topics material to their business and its long-term success.

While every business has its own unique sustainability journey, I’m proud to work for a company like Grove Collaborative, which has prioritized it from the beginning. Grove’s mission is to make household products good for people and the planet.

We are an online retailer dedicated to making and selling effective products that prioritize human and environmental health, providing consumers with a seamless alternative to conventional products. From home essentials to personal care items, Grove Collaborative creates products that exceed our rigorous standards around health and safety while meeting the highest bar of effectiveness through testing.

We’re also a Certified B Corporation, which means we prioritize and verify social and environmental outcomes, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. This designation is important to us, as it highlights our mission to use our business as a force for good.

Three focus areas

Our sustainability efforts focus on three areas: plastic, trees and carbon. We’re now the first and only 100-percent plastic neutral retailer in the world (we collect an equivalent amount of ocean-bound plastic as our products use), but our goal is to be plastic-free by 2025.

We also believe reforestation is crucial for environmental health, which is why we’re committed to planting 1 million trees by 2022. On carbon, we are proud to offer our customers carbon neutral shipments packed in facilities powered by renewables.

We are looking to reduce our entire footprint in the future by setting a science-based target on climate and pursuing net-zero emissions across growing parts of our business.

We’re very proud of our mission, made possible in part through our network of those committed to shared values. Partners such as UPS, Plastic Bank5 Gyres and the Arbor Day Foundation have been critical for us across our value chain to meet and maintain these goals.

UPS was one of our early partners — we began participating in UPS’s carbon neutral shipping program before we even had a sustainability team in place, which enabled us to set up a seamless strategy for our shipments and act in alignment with our values.

“Consumers expect brands to take a stand on a growing number of topics material to their business and its long-term success.”

UPS has continued to support our small sustainability team by integrating the carbon neutral program with our operations, assisting with measurement of the carbon footprint of our shipments on an ongoing basis.

This ensures our emissions data offsets purchases through the current invoicing process — not only saving our team the time of managing this program but also providing accurate emissions data based on actual weights traveled and fuel used rather than high-level estimates.

Partnering to take on massive challenges

Grove got its start when three friends simply asked: What if it was easy to find healthier home essentials? And we are fortunate to have grown into the company that exists today.

Partnerships drive our ability to take on massive sustainability challenges such as the global plastics pollution crisis and climate change. As with any small business, finding the right partners who enable you to stay focused on your mission is critical. Our partnerships are proof that small and growing teams can take on massive challenges in a meaningful way.

Our customers appreciate these commitments and list our values as one of the main reasons they shop with Grove. We frequently highlight our partners in our marketing efforts to show how they maximize our impact.

“As with any small business, finding the right partners who enable you to stay focused on your mission is critical.”

Knowing that every Grove box is both carbon and plastic neutral is something we hope our customers appreciate as a major differentiator from mass market retailers.

It is natural for many small businesses — especially with an entrepreneurial mindset — to want to do things on your own or save systematic challenges such as sustainability for a later date. It can feel intimidating to seek guidance, especially from larger, more established companies on areas where you lack internal expertise.

I would encourage any small business owner curious about starting this journey, or even struggling to create a meaningful sustainability program, to take the next step. Our experience in setting up a carbon neutral program with UPS was so easy that you really have to question why every retailer doesn’t take the same immediate action.

These partnerships have allowed us to stay true to our core mission of making household products a force for positive change, and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate.

If you’re interested in learning more about Grove’s business and sustainability efforts, visit www.grove.co/welcome/sustainability.

Originally published on UPS's thought leadership blog, UPS Longitudes.