A sustainable business model for cleaning products
Growing consumer concerns over the environment and health are putting pressure on businesses to turn to more sustainable sourcing. With visionary leaders and leaner production processes, small businesses can have a competitive advantage over multinational brands. Meeting consumer needs quicker and with trustworthy products has been the strength Eco Clean Nordic. Founders Helene Münnecke and Tommy Andersen talk us through the successful expansion of their brand of health and environment-friendly household cleaning products.
How did you get the idea for your business?
Eco Clean originated from our own experience and frustration as consumers and parents trying to navigate the extensive exposure to chemicals we face today. We wanted to protect our children as much as possible from the harmful substances ubiquitous in our daily lives.
Back in 2010, a few friends of mine remarked that no Danish company in the household cleaning market was taking notice of the growing trend in green and sustainable products.
Only a few companies in the USA and Germany had jumped on the trend. This motivated us to put action behind our frustration and create Eco Clean Nordic in the autumn of 2013.
Our vision was to create an honest but effective product. After several years of research and hard work, we managed to develop the recipe for the product that now goes under the name of Eco Clean.
What is the outlook for the sustainable household products market?
Over the past few years, it has been obvious that the sustainable way of purchasing food and non-food products are on a tremendous rise in Scandinavia, Europe and in the USA.
As the companies who produce household products are significant players in the use of plastic packaging, they have been in the spotlight of critics worldwide. This explains the increasing efforts of multinational brands to try to reduce their usage of virgin plastic.
However, they are simply too big to turn their products around in the short run. Our company uses 100 % packaging made from old bottles – and these will again enter the plastic recycling cycle.
In 2016, we launched the Eco Clean range in a few countries via distributors, but not Denmark. For some odd reason, there was little interest from the main supermarket chains at that point.
Scrolling fast forward to 2018-2019, we finally made a huge headway in securing cooperation with several large supermarkets in Sweden, Finland and Germany – and also launched with both Coop, Dagrofa and Salling Group in Denmark.
At present, we are represented in 14 countries and our product range has been well received by consumers all over. Today, our business plan forecasts a rapid growth over the next few years.
How can you scale-up and stay sustainable?
Firstly, and luckily, our bottle manufactures are increasing the yearly output of 100 % PET/PCR packaging for household cleaning products. This means that we, as well as other companies/brands, will be able to purchase ever larger volumes of packaging without bottlenecks.
Secondly, the ingredients that we use – i.e. 100 % natural origin from plant oils and sugarcane/beetroot – are in large supply. It is only a matter of paying, at present, a premium price compared to the more conventional ingredients that the multinational brands use in their products.
Our company objective is to become a credible brand in the eyes of the conscious consumer and hopefully convince them that buying a more sustainable product is a step on the road to a cleaner world.
Eco Clean Nordic has received advice to enter new markets from Enterprise Europe Network partner Erhvervshus Sjælland, in Denmark.