Ecolateral: be plastic-free by “owning” your supply chain

As published in The Green List 14 July 2022

As the face of a 23,000-strong army of eco-warriors, Jamie Stott is the leader of a community first and foremost. She is someone who wants to connect with customers through a shared passion for sustainably and ethically sourced products. She is also the CEO of a bricks-and-mortar retailer: Ecolateral. 

As Australia’s longest running eco-store, the Ecolateral brand has been unapologetically manifesting a plastic-free world since 1994. 

A small shop popped up in the regional South Australian town of Murray Bridge 28 years ago, armed with the tools and resources to help aspiring eco-warriors of the time march ahead on the journey of reduce, reuse and recycle.

At any of the Ecolateral stores, you can refill your containers with shampoo, conditioner, dishwashing liquid or a variety of natural cleaning products. Not only are you reusing your plastic containers, but you are also avoiding purchasing more plastic. All for an affordable equitable cost. 

It’s not like the idea is insurmountable: any business can implement these circular economy principles into their supply chain and reduce its environmental impact. 

But it’s communicating that message and holding yourself accountable that is the most important. 

“I am responsible for my supply chain. This means I ask difficult questions about the origin to its end of life. When I am convinced of the ethical and sustainable standards of the products, then I will stock them in my stores.

“I can assure you the stack of bamboo socks for $5 from the local big box hardware retailer won’t have had the scrutiny that ours have.

“We are responsible for our supply chain. This means we ask difficult questions about the origin to the end of life of every product. When I am convinced of the ethical and sustainable standards of the products, then I will stock them in my stores.

“We do this research to make it easy for consumers to make a simple choice.

It’s not just the product itself that should be ethical, it’s the packaging, too. 

Jamie says she even dropped a supplier because the business kept using styrofoam for its packaging.

“It is about growing the Ecolateral online community and still making them feel like they are part of something special. For me, that sense of community is so important. 

Another challenge was the impact of the pandemic. But like many bricks-and-mortar businesses, Jamie had the bright idea of turning a threat into an opportunity and she expanded and improved the digital offering online. 

“It is about growing the Ecolateral online community and still making them feel like they are part of something special. For me, that sense of community is so important. I’m staying true to the intent of the owners who built Ecolateral and Waste Not Want Not Eco Shop before me.

“There is a shift in consumer awareness, as we talk more about climate action and net-zero targets. Most of our customers are choosing to be more environmental.”

Ecolateral supplies plastic-free alternative products for the home, garden, body, beauty, and gifts. It also stocks sustainably sourced slow fashion, baby and kid products, personal care and healthcare products. 

Image Source: Ecolateral

Read the article as originally published on The Green List