Ecosia- The Next Search Engine. (extra credit)

Ecosia is a nonprofit conservationist search engine powered by Bing that turns 80% of its income into planting trees. It is a “Social Business” which measures its success it has on people and the environment. This means the well-being of people is put before maximizing profits. Ecosia believes in the core values of diversity, justice and equal opportunity to solving the most complex systems issues. When I first heard of this search engine I couldn’t begin to understand how this could even be possible. But it is. Through advertisements! Every time someone clicks on an advertisement that is sponsored this generates revenue. Certain search words come with higher price tags depending on the ads they can generate that they relate to. It functions very similarly to Google and populates the same top links. They also collect money through another extension called “Ecolinks” which allows users to donate with their online purchases. It frequently publishes reports so users can stay updated on how their searches are contributing. In the right hand corner it counts your personal searches and clicks and equates how many trees have been planted because of your actions. It is exciting to watch your number grow (I’ve been a user for two years).The search engine actually launched in 2009 to coincide with the UN Climate talks in Copenhagen. Ecosia’s donations went to a program in Germany the WWF that protected the Juruena National Park in the Amazon Basin. In order to make sure the protection was kept up, the program also drew up and financed plans with timber companies and the local communities. They’ve continued to partner with several conservation efforts such as The Nature Conservancy and The Great Green Wall Project. Its current projects are mostly concentrated south of the equator in: Nicaragua, Peru, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Morocco, and Spain. Each country has a unique approach to helping restore forests. The reason Ecosia chose deforestation as a issue to tackle was all the benefits they recognized in trees. Trees provide a cooler climate, promote biodiversity, protect soil, create clean air, provide lots of useful resources for humans, and their regulation of water cycles and flood prevention. Ecosia to date has planted over 26 million trees with a goal of one billion trees by 2020.


Consumer Product Analysis: Beauty & Planet


Before beginning my consumer product analysis, I’d like to start off by saying that I enjoy using this product. I have found that it washes my hair really well and I absolutely love the scent of the Coconut Oil and Ylang Ylang shampoo and conditioner. I have been using the hair products for several weeks now and I still have lots left (there’s 13.5 FL OZ per container). I just started to use the Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower body wash and I enjoy that scent as well! The products are not too expensive and they make me guilt-free when it comes to being an educated consumer and purchasing products that create as little carbon footprint as possible. In addition, I like that the business is using the triple bottom line approach by making sure their products are healthy for us, sustainable & sourced ethically, and priced reasonably so that we want to keep buying more!

Environmental Mission Statement located on the back of every shampoo/conditioner bottle: “Our goal is a carbon footprint so small, it’s like we weren’t even here. We’ve started our journey by loading our products with goodness and packaging it in recycled bottles. Our fast rinse conditioner technology saves you from tangles and can help you save water. Our delicate scents are infused with natural and ethically sourced oils and extracts. We are committed to acts of love that make you and our planet a little more beautiful, everyday. Find out how at  “.

  • Sources of material and energy used to make this product: The products are packaged in post-consumer plastic bottles, the essential oils used for the fragrances and scents are ethically sourced,  and the ingredients are vegan (no animal testing). The products do not contain sulfate cleansers, parabens, dyes, or silicones.
  • Manufactured and distributed by: Manufactured by Unilever. Distribution locations include Target, Bi-Lo, Publix, CVS, Walmart Supercenter, and Walgreens. City and State of Manufacturing is Trumbull, CT.
  • How long does the product last: About 4 months or so depending on the amount of shampoo/conditioner used per shower and how often showers are taken.
  • Inputs/energy put into using the product: Water is the only major environmental impact the product has after purchase since the products are only used in the shower or bathtub.
  • What becomes of the product at the end of its life: The bottles are 100% recyclable!
  • Assumptions made about the product: I assume from the beautifully written mission statements and the obvious concern for the environment and use of plant-based ingredients, that the products are generally safe to use. I can even go further to assume that the products are more safe than their competitors.
  • Any uncertainties remaining: One major uncertainty that remains after analysis is the relationship between Beauty & Planet and their manufacturer, Unilever. While Unilever is working to change the way they do business so that it is more sustainable and not at the expense of people and the planet — I still have my doubts when I see mainstream brands under the Unilever name side-by-side Beauty & Planet. I would be less hesitant if Beauty & Planet was its own business instead of a brand under a large conglomerate. A few “mainstream” brands under the Unilever name include: Axe, Lipton, Magnum and TRESemme. I do NOT encourage the purchase of TRESemme in particular so when I saw this product in the list of brand names, I was very disappointed.


“Love Beauty and Planet.” Lbp, Unilever ,

Event- CSA Presentation

A few weeks ago in class we were introduced to Brian from Lowcountry Local First. He shared the idea of “CSAs” to us. I also recently had the opportunity to create a presentation with my internship with MUSC Sustainability on CSAs available in the Lowcountry! I will link the presentation below if you want to watch me in action!

Community Supported Agriculture – MUSC Conversation Cafe Series

In case you missed it! Our conversation cafe on Community Supported Agriculture Shares (AKA subscription vegetables). Eat healthy and support your local farmer with a CSA.

Posted by MUSC GoGreen on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

So, what is a CSA? CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, where members of the community purchase a “share” of a farm in order to support a local farmer. In return, the farmer gives the community member fresh produce that was grown directly from the farm.
CSA’s are a great way to support local agriculture while getting extremely fresh produce, sometimes even straight to your door. With a CSA, you are subscribing to a produce box which you can customize to your needs. Many farms have various sizes and time ranges for their boxes. While most CSAs are fruit and vegetable focused, there are even a few in the Lowcountry that provide meat and fish like Abundant Seafood!
CSA’s are sustainable for many reasons. First, you are supporting local farmers! This keeps local economy thriving and makes you feel good about where your money is going. Second, you know what’s going into your food. You are able to visit the place that your food is being grown and see the care going towards it. Third, your food will be traveling much less than produce grown in a grocery store, which is a big contender of pollution. Lastly, you are getting food at the peak of its freshness. Sure, you may not be getting your favorite berries in the middle of summer, but you will be getting the most incredible tomatoes at peak freshness!
Two of my favorite CSAs that I researched were Compost in my Shoe and Hudson Family Farm Bounty Box. Compost in my Shoe has an extensive list of drop-off areas, along with many add-on items to their already large boxes! These add-on items include honey and eggs straight from their farms as well. The Hudson Family Farm Bounty Box also has a ton of options for how big of a box you may want!
If you would like more information on CSAs or would like a recommendation on what share would suit you and your budget best, please do not hesitate to reach out!

LUSH Cosmetics – Beauty on an Environmental Budget

When you’re shopping for body care products, whether it’s shaving cremes, lotions, shampoos/conditioners, bath or shower products, facial products or moisturizers, (and this list can continue), do you ever think how that specific product came to be? Do you even know what all is actually in the products you buy? Yes, the labels on the back can tell you, but do you know all of the chemical names and what they actually do to your body? One thing that most consumers can agree on is the thought of how we can look and feel beautiful while being on a budget. Well, LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics decided to take it a step further and figured out how to be the best kind of beautiful naturally while being on a budget and equally being environmentally friendly. It’s a company based out of Canada that does just this for everyone, no matter what age, sex, race, or worldly background.

The company’s mission statement is as followed:

“We believe in making effective products from organic* fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics. We believe in buying ingredients only from companies that do not commission tests on animals and in testing on products on humans. We invent our own products and fragrances. We make them fresh* by hand using little or no preservative or packaging, using only vegetarian ingredients and tell you when they were made. We believe in happy people making happy soap, putting our faces on our products and making our mums proud. We believe in long candlelit baths, sharing showers, massage, filling the world with perfume and the right to make mistakes, lose everything, and start again. We believe our products are good value, that we should make a profit and that the customer is always right. We believe that all people should enjoy freedom of movement across the world. *We also believe words like “fresh” and “organic” have an honest meaning beyond marketing” (pg. 4).

LUSH’s co-founders have been creating products for over 30 years, but it wasn’t until after the loss of the original business, called Cosmetics to Go (CTG), that the brand’s innovators created the eco-friendly company that we know and love today. Mark and Karen Wolverton, who are Canadian business entrepreneurs, took a trip to London back in 1995. It was then and there that they first came in contact with LUSH and fell in love with the the philosophy and values behind the company as a whole. They later asked the founders if they’d thought of expanding their business into North America and in 1996, they did, opening the first North American LUSH store in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It wasn’t until 2003 that the first US LUSH store opened in San Francisco and today there are more than 250 shops across all of North America, with only 2 factories located in Toronto and Vancouver supplying their highly demanded products. “In October of 2014, we decided that we’d need to speed up our shipping times to customers. So we opened up digital fulfillment centers in Toronto and expand our distribution center..making us even more efficient by shipping shorter distances and reducing our overall carbon footprint” (pg. 17). It was also in 2014, that LUSH UK created their Lush Kitchen, which is the place where limited edition, exclusive products are created from a daily menu each week. Each Kitchen product is handmade and follows the strictly fresh policy while making the most of locally sourced ingredients. Customers can always shop from the Kitchen directly without having to cross the pond into the UK by following their social media accounts for a look at the latest menus and new products being sent out to stores.

The values of LUSH are the core of the brand as a whole and influence all that the company does. These values include always using the freshest ingredients, having all products handmade, making everything 100% vegetarian, creating “naked” packaging, buying ethically, fighting against animal testing, participating in charitable givings, implementing sustainable processes for the Earth, and getting involved in ethical campaigns.



On every recyclable black pot and bottle, they add a face sticker of the compounder who created the product along with their name, the date in which the product was made, a list of all of the ingredients used and when to use it by in order to ensure absolute freshness with maximum nutrient benefits. Every product in LUSH from the ones on the shelves to the actual shelves themselves and the other furniture in their stores are handmade in their very own woodshops. “Everything we do is made for us, by us..This way we can be sure that our products and shops are ethically sourced from beginning to end and that they’re of the finest quality” (pg. 34).

Not only do they create products that are fresh and 100% vegetarian, they’re also more than 80% vegan! For example, the glycerin that the company uses in their soap is made from non-GMO rapeseed oil instead of animal ingredients like most soap and cosmetic manufacturers use. In some cases, honey, yogurt, and eggs are used in products, but the company makes sure that that every ingredient is sourced from cruelty-free practices. The purpose of their ethical, organic buying is to help maintain sustainable farming practices and fair working conditions. Buying from small producer groups provides LUSH the opportunity to create positive change, increase sustainability, and create world-wide relationships. They even created the Sustainable Lush Fund, which takes 2% of the amount the company spends on packaging and raw materials and uses it to create sustainable farming and community projects from scratch around the world. Whenever someone buys a LUSH product, their money directly supports these Sustainable Lush Fund initiatives.

Other sustainable factors of the company include using as little to no packaging (otherwise known as “naked”) that’s recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable. They’re packaging in stores is also 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, which means that the pots have already been recycled at least once.They also have bags made 100% out of post-consumer paper. They also ship and wrap their products in 100% biodegradable plastic bags, recycled paper and biodegradable filler with eco-friendly packing tape. The company also monitors their fresh water resources to make sure they don’t overuse it. LUSH also works with their transportation providers to create low-impact and ethically responsible fuels for moving products worldwide. They also have a Green Team that are dedicated environmental advocates that are in store fronts and even behind the scenes in manufacturing to make sure that every product being made is environmentally safe (pg. 43).

Though they’re mostly known for the invention and innovations of new and exciting products throughout their past  30 years of business, the company is most commonly known for patenting the original bath bomb back in 1989. They’ve also patented toothy tabs, mouthwash tabs, and solid shampoo bars in order for everyone to experience the products just as they were originally imagined without any harmful additions. Since the very beginning, LUSH has created gender neutral products that don’t need excessive packaging or preservatives to stay fresh. The policies the company created then have always been rooted in trying to minimize the impact we as humans have on our environment and are continuing to do so every day. Stop by a LUSH store today to get a first hand experience into each and every product. There’s one conveniently located on King Street in Downtown Charleston! Maybe you’ll think about making the switch like I have into reusable, environmentally friendly, and 100% waste-free beauty products that not only come from the environment, but also continuously give back to their source – the Earth.


The Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics: The Starter Guide Manual