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CEO of The Organic Company Joy Vasiljev



The interview was published on 13 May 2019 in the 'Countrylife' issue.

Isabellas: How is sustainability taken into account in production?
Joy: In addition to all our products being produced in 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, all our packaging is also made from recycled materials. In addition, sea transport, which is the most sustainable form of transport, is our primary means of transport when we ship our products home from our suppliers.

We also work with the development of alternatives to disposable items and prioritize good quality in all aspects. In addition to focusing on organic materials, we also value the principle of 'less is better'.

In fact, people in this world should only produce organically (to protect the balance of our planet, the animals (both small and large), our groundwater resources and our health) AND people should consume less. We would like to see all conventional cotton production replaced with organic cotton as well as a drastic decrease in the total amount of production. Is it possible? Yes, we believe so. We need to recycle more. And when you invest in new goods, make sure you choose organic and good quality.

As a single important contributor alone, choosing products from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton makes a huge difference to our planet, as GOTS certified organic cotton production uses 91% less water and emits 94% fewer greenhouse gases than conventional cotton production. Source: SOIL association.

Isabellas: Is sustainability a prerequisite for the creation of the products, or is the product the focus? What will it take to make sustainability the most important element?
Joy: Sustainability is our platform. It is inevitable. The product itself is created based on our design principles: It must solve a problem, meet a need or elevate a category.

We do not launch products just to expand our product range. It's obviously a challenge, but honestly, decisions don't always have to be easy - and taking responsibility is strongly related to thoughtfulness, right?

Isabellas: According to you, what challenges do you see as a result of switching to completely sustainable production?
Joy: Switching to completely sustainable production requires knowledge and changing habits. Primarily. And then decisions have to be made.

In general, company boards and directors must lead the way. And that in itself is challenging.
Time and time again, we hear big companies talking about things without acting, and I believe this is caused by 1) outdated knowledge, 2) lack of knowledge, 3) habits. Along with a fear of a negative impact on the financial bottom line.

I would like all companies to have the courage to spend time and resources to acquire the right knowledge and then act and change their behavior. Because in many cases this change can lead to an increase in expenses - at least temporarily. But maybe these expenses are actually worth it? Firstly with an overall better conscience, and secondly through increased sales, as the demand for sustainable solutions increases significantly.

And honestly, a million more or less, the biggest companies are already making that much money. Come on - take responsibility and participate in the change for sustainability.

Isabellas: What new trends do you see in sustainability? And which trends do you feel influenced by?
Joy: The most prominent trend is that consumers are becoming more informed. And that's what's best to see. When the company was founded 12 years ago, people didn't really believe in our mission. With the head tilted, it was said "ahh, that's cute - is it a hobby project?".

The world today is very different. Fortunately. And there is a lot of talk about sustainability. But we miss the action behind the words from many different sides.

Isabellas: Can you sense a greater demand for GOTS-certified textiles? If so, how?
Joy: Yes we can and it makes us so happy. WE can see it both in the sheer increase in demand for certified products and in a higher demand for collaboration, we also see it when our customers mention the GOTS certification in their newsletters and on social media platforms like Instagram.

We love it.

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