Ecover: Success story of Cradle to Cradle® Cleaning Products.

Ecover is the first manufacturer of a professional program of ecological cleaning liquids. With their Cradle to Cradle® certified product, they aim at the professional market. The products will be available as per September 2013.

Ecover chose to apple for a Cradle to Cradle® certification, because they felt that a ‘standard’ eco-label did not suffice. It would not make their product exclusive enough, because the requirements for the label were not strict enough. A product might be labeled eco-friendly, and still be produced in a factory that pollutes the environment.

With a Cradle to Cradle® certificate this is clearly not the case. Every aspect from production process to management is monitored and inspected extensively. Renewability is not the only criterion for the produced products; components and raw materials are also subjected to thorough research for environmental effects. A renewable energy expenditure of the production facility, sustainability of the packaging, the production process, waste-water management en social engagement by the company are also part of the Cradle to Cradle® criteria, as is a constant striving for improvement of the product and the production process. All unnecessary components in the product and its packaging are also eliminated.

Ecover has four groups of products. The first group is centered around cleaning and maintenance of buildings. Five products in this group have been certified Cradle to Cradle®. The second product-group is targeted towards kitchen-cleaning. Furthermore, there are also product-groups for Laundry and Personal Care. Products in these two groups are not certified Cradle to Cradle® yet. Certifying the products is a laborious process, and not all of the products in the groups can be certified at once. Ecover is striving to have all their products certified within a maximum of two years.

Part of Ecover’s Cradle to Cradle® certified products are based on substantial improvements of an existing product, others have been developed from scratch. The concentration of the cleaning products has been doubled or tripled to minimize the need for large quantities. A specific dosage-system has been developed also to accommodate 1 liter packs.

During its development Ecover has also acquired Method, another ecological firm from the United States. Method is a company that is aiming for the higher segment of the market, and as a result does not have a product-group aimed at a professional target group. With its purchase of Method, Ecover therefore strengthens its position as a market leader on ecological consumer-products. They are now able to reach a much broader group of consumers. Ecover aims to be market-leader in the BeNeLux within the next five years, through expanding their professional line of Cradle to Cradle® certified products. Acquiring Method also helps expanding the distribution of Ecover’s Cradle to Cradle® certified products to other countries.

The spectacular rise in sales proves there is a genuine market for ecological cleaning products. Even during the current recession, Ecover is growing exponentially every year. Last year had a growth of more than 17%. Ecover believes that credibility is their main selling point; creating ecological products without compromise, and without creating non-ecological products for other product-lines. Rising (national) policies aimed towards the environment and sustainability are also working in their favor.

 

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