Native is a relatively new brand that has quickly risen in popularity through its emphasis of clean and simplistic ingredients that avoid harsh chemicals. While the company may seem like a great sustainable alternative to your everyday hygiene items, their practices reveal that they have long way to go. Native’s body wash is a clear example of how they still heavily rely on plastic packaging for most of their products. There is also no clarity on where they source their materials and how their products are manufactured. Transparency is a necessity when it comes to sustainability, and Native needs to share more information in order to achieve that standard.
For each of their products, Native provides a detailed list of ingredients used and explains the purpose of each of those ingredients. Their body wash formula contains water, cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium cocoyl isethionate as cleansers derived from coconut oil, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate to add foamy-ness, salt to thicken the body wash, sodium salicylate and sodium benzoate serving as preservatives, and citric acid to provide pH balance. A scent-free option is available, as well as a wide selection of scents which are made from a proprietary blend essential oils, safe synthetic oils, and natural extracts. These scents abide by the guidelines of the International Fragrance Regulatory Association, a reputable global representative body of the fragrance industry, to ensure the safety of their formulations. Additionally, Native mentions that their products are phthalate, paraben, and sulfate free, emphasizing their use of clean ingredients. Native does disclose that their ingredients are not organic, indicating that their farming practices could be contributing to herbicide and pesticide pollution. Additionally, almost all of their products come in plastic packaging, including their body wash. Recently, they released a plastic-free deodorant, and have made a commitment to plastic free options for all of their products by 2023. On their website, the company claims that the switch to plastic free will help reduce waste by up to 169 tons per year. However, they share no steps explaining how they will achieve this and until it’s implemented, Native is still greatly contributing to plastic waste and leaving a large carbon footprint behind.
When researching their manufacturing process, there was minimal information available. On their website they explain that Native was founded in San Francisco, California and all of their products are crafted together in manufacturing facilities within the United States. Native fails to mention any details on their supply chain which leaves me wondering if they obtain their raw materials from sustainable sources. Ingredients like essential oils can be labor intensive as it takes a large amount of plant material to produce a small quantity. Additionally, if not farmed sustainably, coconut oil production can lead to deforestation and threaten endangered species due to its high volume consumption. Without detailed information on their production process, there is no way for consumers to know if they are buying from a sustainable company. In 2017 Native was acquired by Procter & Gamble and while they have some sustainable practices as explained in the section below, it is clear that profit is prioritized over the planet. Working conditions are also not easily found for this company and they have not disclosed any certifications or standards to ensure the safety and treatment of their workers.
Native was founded by Moiz Ali in 2015 and was acquired by Procter & Gamble in 2017. P&G has a large presence, owning big companies like Tide, Gillette, and Crest. When it comes to their sustainability initiatives, they have set various goals to reduce their environmental footprint. Notably, they have been able to achieve zero manufacturing waste to landfill from 100% of their manufacturing plants. P&G has also made a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% across all operations by 2030, however, there are no details on how they plan to achieve this. Additionally, the other brands they own have minimal sustainable practices indicating that as a whole, P&G has a negative impact on the environment. When looking at Native specifically, the company is a member of 1% for the Planet, which means that for each purchase of their plastic-free deodorant they will donate 1% of profits to environmental non-profits. While this partnership points them in the right direction, most of Native’s products are made in plastic packaging and those products are not a part of 1% for the Planet.