Ethical Consumerism, Jessica Albe

Healthy products for your baby and home.

The Honest Company is interesting for several reasons. First, it sells eco-friendly, non-toxic baby and household products, always welcome in the environmentally challenged world of many consumer products. Second, because it was created and founded by the actress Jessica Alba, and third because it has a strong charitable component.

ethical consumerism

In 2011, actress Jessica Alba was frustrated by the lack of affordable chemical-free baby products on the market. She is the mother of two young daughters, and had suffered childhood illnesses when she was growing up, mostly asthma and allergy-related. She consulted with two experts (who she ultimately started the company with), and they agreed this was a market niche that needed to be filled.

She and Christopher Gavigan (former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World) launched a company called The Honest Company. It began primarily with diapers made from wheat, corn and wood-fluff mix which absorb up to 35% more than many other diapers. The company grew quickly to offer 17 baby-related products. At the end of 2014 the company carried 90 products and by 2015 they carried 135 products. It is now selling organic moisturizers, cleaning products, tampons, backpacks and vitamins among many other items. In 2015 The company launched Honest Beauty, a separate entity selling beauty products that are chemical-free. In just six years the company was worth $1.7 billion and Alba is ranked #42 in Forbes’ list of America’s richest self-made women. She has a net worth of $340 million.

ethical consumerism diapers

Whole Foods and Costco were the first two large chains to carry the products, then Target signed on. The majority of their sales are online, and their customized monthly ‘bundles’ that get delivered directly to your front door, are very popular. Like any consumer company, it has not been without some product controversy. For example, their sunscreen received complaints and had to be reformulated. Having a high-profile celebrity at the helm invites positive as well as negative publicity, so every stumble has been well documented.

ethical consumerism sun hats

The Honest Company ranks up there with Tom’s shoes, Warby Parker and Etsy in giving back. The company donates its products, revenues and labor to good causes. In 2016 a team of people from the Honest Company joined other Target Made To Matter brands and ‘City Year’ in Los Angeles to renovate an elementary school and paint educational murals. Also in 2016 they helped the Red Cross in Louisiana flood relief and participated in the Beach Cleanup with Heal the Bay. Honest donated gift baskets to all the patients in Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. Those are just a few of the ways Honest gives back, and that was only 2016. Giving back is central to the mission of the company. The company is a great role model for entrepreneurs who have a good idea, and for large corporations putting charitable contributions at the center of their activities.