Town Haul Podcast | Episode 23

  • Host: Amy Koonin (Rubicon)
  • Guest: Joey Bergstein (Seventh Generation, CEO)
  • Listen here!

We can keep our homes clean while also keeping our planet clean. That’s the philosophy driving Seventh Generation and its CEO Joey Bergstein. Rubicon’s Amy Koonin sat down with Joey on the often downloaded ‘Town Haul’ podcast to discuss all things Seventh Generation—from revolutionary product packaging to why labels matter.

On the Seventh Generation mission:

BERGSTEIN: “We take our name from the great law of the Iroquois Confederacy, which states that “in our every deliberation, we must take into account the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” And the name has a huge amount of meaning and really drives all the choices that we make in the business.

It serves as a constant reminder to think deeply about the way that we’re innovating, the products that we’re developing, the issues that we advocate for, and thinking about more than just trying to sell more stuff to more people. There are enough companies out there doing that, so how do we change the way that business is done to make business far more conscious of the impact that we’re having on society around us. We don’t just make eco-friendly home and personal care products, we’re trying to change the industry, we’re trying to change the world. And people really want to support companies that are trying to make a difference in the world.”

On bio-based materials:

BERGSTEIN:Bio-based ingredients are, really simply, ingredients that come from bio-based sources as opposed to from petroleum-based sources. Most of the chemicals that go into the cleaning products that we use are based in petroleum, a non-renewable resource, but Seventh Generation chooses to use ingredients that come from bio-based sources.

There’s a lot of products out there that are calling themselves natural, and we want people to really understand what that means. The USDA certified bio-preferred program measures the percentage of the bio-based ingredients in our formulations, and we put it on our packaging. So our laundry detergent is somewhere between 95 and 97% bio-based. So, when we call it a natural laundry detergent, people know that that means that 95 to 97% of the ingredients are coming from a natural resource.”

On designing a compostable detergent bottle:

BERGSTEIN: “So, the Seventh Generation laundry detergent bottle is made from molded pulp. It’s recycled cardboard formed into the shape of the bottle. And then inside there is a plastic liner which we’re soon replacing with the all recycled plastic bottle, super lightweight. So, the amount of plastic that’s used is a fraction of what you would need to use in a normal bottle because its ability comes from the outer cardboard packaging shell.”

On why labels matter: 

BERGSTEIN: “We consume two to three pounds of food every single day. Well, we consume 30 to 40 pounds of air every single day. So you think about all the stuff that we and our kids and the people cleaning, our breathing every day is becoming a part of our body. And so our belief is really simple, that you’ve got the right to know what’s in the products that you bring into your home and use around your family every single day.

For over a decade, Seventh Generation has been labeling all of the ingredients on the back of our packaging, because we believe people have the right to know. But we think that should be the law of the land. And we’re trying to move the industry to do that.”