When it comes to buying lip balm, there is a never ending list of brands to chose from. Ethique’s Nectar Unscented Lip Balm stands out as a great sustainable alternative to the typical plastic packaged tubes filled with harmful chemicals. Based in New Zealand, Ethique is committed to protecting the environment. From 100% plastic free packaging to direct trade partnerships for sustainably sourced ingredients, consumers can feel confident that they are purchasing an eco-friendly product.
All of Ethique’s products are made using biodegradable ingredients that are renewable, non-petroleum based, and naturally derived with minimal chemical processing. This means their products are safe to use in the natural environment, and are greywater safe indicating that if these products get into water systems, that water is still suitable for reuse. Additionally, all of their ingredients are certified palm oil free, vegan, and cruelty free. The four main ingredients in this lip balm are moringa oil, jojoba oil, cacao butter, and castor oil. Ethique provides complete transparency on the ingredient list for all of their products and also includes the purpose of the materials used. For example, they explain that jojoba oil is the closest plant oil to our own sebum, and is a great moisturizer for all skin types. Additionally, they point out that moringa oil comes from moringa trees, which requires less water and grows quickly providing a great sustainable alternative to more harmful crops like palm oil trees. This dedication to detail helps consumers understand the products they are buying and how they will benefit the planet. All products from Ethique are also 100% plastic free, and this lip balm comes in home compostable packaging, which includes the tube used to apply it.
While the company does not provide specific information on their manufacturing, they do have detailed information on the suppliers for their raw materials. On their website they highlight their belief in fair trade of ingredients and therefore, have established direct trade partnerships with producers. These partnerships help to ensure that local growers receive proper pay, reliable income, and good working conditions. Ethique is certified by New Zealand’s reputable Living Wage Aotearoa, confirming that their staff are being paid fairly and treated well. Instead of working through an intermediary to ensure fair trade, Ethique has taken initiative and created these partnerships directly with suppliers who share their commitment to environmental protection. Their longest standing direct trade partnership is with Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI) in Samoa. This organization works across over 183 villages to provide the support, funding, and education for families to establish their own organic agricultural businesses. Ethique purchases a majority of the coconut oil used in their products from this partnership. Coconut palms take six to ten years to start fruiting, therefore, these farms help to set up inter-generational businesses creating a long sustaining income source for these communities. This is also a great alternative to palm oil which is commonly found in beauty products and presents a great threat to our environment. Ethique discloses that when they are unable to get materials from these partnerships, they purchase from fair trade sources. For the sake of full transparency, I would push them to include what these fair trade sources are so consumers could verify their authenticity.
Ethique was founded by Brianne West in 2012 and its headquarters are located in Christchurch, New Zealand. Since its creation, Ethique has grown to be a successful beauty company and was recognized in 2015 as New Zealand’s most sustainable business. Ethique also proudly announced in March 2021 that they are officially climate positive, offsetting 120% of their net carbon emissions. Not only are they offsetting all of their carbon emissions, they are going above and beyond by positively impacting the environment. One such way is through their promise to plant a tree for each order that is placed. Their carbon footprint is measured each year by an independent assessment process run by EKOS. Ethique then works with a variety of organizations, such as Ecologi, to offset this footprint. Their dedication to leaving the planet better than they found it is inspiring and serves as a great example for others in the beauty industry to follow.