Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Business Innovation
The following nominees are for-profit companies with a new and innovative product, solution or service with benefits for people and the planet. Their work shows us that change can come from the for-profit sector just as much as the nonprofit realm.
SustainPHL 2019 Business Innovation Nominees
- Simply Good Jars
Simply Good Jars
“We are transforming the future of fast food by rethinking vending machines and the post-consumption experience.”
Beginning in 2017, Simply Good Jars has increased Philadelphia residents’ access to healthy “fast” food with the company’s Smart Fridge vendor machines, which carry healthy, convenient meals in returnable, reusable jars. Every returned jar is washed and reused, which Simply Good Jars estimates has saved five tons of single-use plastics from being thrown into landfills.
The company has helped provide food to 12,000 underserved city residents through their efforts to give back to the community and sold 20,000 healthy meals to customers of its Smart Fridges. Upcoming plans include a fundraising campaign to help purchase some of the vendor machines to place in low-income community locations, such as corner stores, that will be permanently subsidized down to $3.50 to $4.00 a jar to bring fresh, healthy, and delicious food to Philadelphians that would otherwise not have access to these choices. Additionally, Simply Good Jars has created eighteen jobs and expects to triple in size in the next couple of years. They are based in West Philadelphia and work with Philabundance, the area’s largest hunger-relief organization, to hire new employees from the organization’s community kitchen.
“The only way to drive meaningful change in the fashion and apparel industry – one of the top polluting industries of our planet – is to demand it with your purchasing power.”
Wearwell is a tech company offering a one-of-a-kind personalized shopping experience that makes it effortless to find clothing that fits a customer’s style while protecting and ensuring workers’ rights and environmental sustainability. The company makes it easy for their members to use their purchasing power to drive change in the fashion industry so that one day, fair wages, safe work environments, and sustainable material choices will be the norm. They have partnered with thirty-one brands in the United States and around the world who meet certain criteria and certifications. For example, their partners:
- Pay their workers a living wage
- Guarantee safe working conditions for employees
- Avoid the use of synthetic materials
- Use alternatives to toxic dyes
The founders of WearWell recognized the difficulty in finding and shopping for ethically and sustainably made clothing. Their aim is to make it effortless while reducing their impact as much as possible. The company began as a subscription box, but in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, they now ship only what their customers purchase. Overall, purchases made through the company have offset approximately four tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Originally from Washington DC, they have been located in Philadelphia for two years and serve customers in Philly and across the country.
“Dropps continues to be a benchmark for how a homegrown Philly brand can have a global impact on consumer sustainability.”
Founded in 2006 by Philadelphia-native Jonathan Propper, Dropps is redefining the home care category with eco-responsible cleaning products that are effective as well as safer and better for people and the planet. The company has been a leader in the environmentally-friendly laundry detergent business since 2008, when their products first received EPA Safer Choice certification. They aim to eliminate colorants and dyes entirely from cleaning products, and their formulas contain plant-based ingredients and are biodegradable, chlorine-free, and free of harsh chemicals.
Dropps also ships to customers’ doors in an innovative 100% recyclable, repulpable, and compostable cardboard box, which reduces plastic, space, and waste. They believe that solving the global plastic crisis starts on the local level with individual consumers, and they hope that every Dropps counts towards reducing plastic in our precious oceans and waterways. This company is a benchmark for how a homegrown Philadelphia brand can have an impact on consumer sustainability around the world.