Voting with your wallet just became a bit easier. Oriane and Victoria met 3 years ago while studying digital marketing in Geneva. After exploring veganism in 2015, they became aware that it wasn’t just the food industry that was having a negative impact on our environment. Every purchase we make costs the planet and people a hefty price. As the two friends’ passion for sustainability grew, so did their idea for Ecolabo.
Ecolabo is an online marketplace that introduces artisans, designers, and makers who have committed to eco-friendly, ethical, and low-impact manufacturing. In a world of increasingly fast consumption, they’re passionate about creating an easier way to shop sustainably without having to research before every purchase. Ecolabo is a collection of carefully curated sustainable brands to turn to when you need to make a purchase.
Oriane and Victoria did a lot of research on what kind of business model would be the most beneficial for consumers, conscious brands and the planet. They wanted a way of assisting consumers in their shopping decisions while also uplifting local brands and artisans. However, being a middle man between the two seemed like a recipe for furthering their carbon emissions, not lowering them. That’s why they felt it was best to take themselves out of the equation and create a digital marketplace where the products are then shipped directly out of the vendor’s home.
Ecolabo is founded on six pillars of sustainability:
- They see “social” as the baseline of their selection. Taking a closer look into the product’s impact on human lives and making respect for human lives is their first priority. Ecolabo investigates where materials come from, where the products are made, and in what conditions. The story behind brands is also important to making educated purchases and Ecolabo includes a description of the designer and manufacturer with their products to help empower consumers to support local communities.
- They are also a strong advocate for organic products and ingredients. They search for it in textiles, cosmetics and food. Buying organic is important to ward off soil pollution but it also benefits our health. There is increasing research being done showing that wearing and using harsh chemicals affects our bodies as well as the environment
- In the same vein, Ecolabo tries to use raw materials. They realize the word “natural” can take on a lot of negative connotations in the sustainability community due to there being no regulations around it’s use on products. For them, it means biodegradable textiles, materials and ingredients that come with lower costs to the planet because they are either renewable or can return to the soil. Essentially, they do not sell anything of synthetic origins such as plastic or other petroleum based derivatives.
- To ensure products are not over-produced and do not create unnecessary waste, Ecolabo’s fourth pillar “slow” means they take pride in being a part of the slow movement to reduce the capitalist urge for new things. They take time to ensure production is handled with care and respect towards the manufacturer’s workers.
- As a Swiss brand, Ecolabo’s pillar of “local” means they center their marketplace towards Swiss entrepreneurs to help support their region. Their go-to are artisanal goods but if their brands are manufactured elsewhere, they look into how they are supporting local production in small communities.
- Lastly, Ecolabo was founded on Oriane and Victoria’s vegan lifestyle in college and it continues to uphold those values. While they respect everyone’s varying diets, they try to reduce their use of animal products. While they certainly do not include any leather products, they are not fond of the vegan alternatives made from plastic.
It is exciting to see new inventive ways to save time while shopping green. The hope is that places such as Ecolabo will slowly outnumber the Amazon marketplaces of today. By taking baby steps and learning how to incorporate these values into our daily purchases, we can begin to undo the harm we’ve done to the planet. If you are wanting to take a step in that direction check out Ecolabo’s website at https://ecolabo.ch.