Authentically Green: The Good Planet Company cuts through the eco-wash

The Good Planet Company

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The Good Planet Company curates the best eco-products available with the help of Vancity business and financial support.

Things can change a lot in ten years. That’s what the owners of Victoria’s The Good Planet Company say about the state of the eco-products industry in North America. In 2003, when Ian Cromack and Alain St.Onge opened their store on Fort Street, they were intent on selling only high-quality earth-friendly products. But it was difficult to find many manufacturers concerned with sustainability.

Now the reverse is true. The industry has exploded, and now it’s hard to sift through all the green marketing jargon—“greenwashing”—to find products that are truly fit for shelf space at Good Planet.

After a decade in business, Ian and Alain have discovered that this is the best way that they can serve their customers: to test every product they stock for quality and true sustainability. Not only have they built a loyal following who deeply trust the products they carry, they have also saved their customers money. “Most people are just cluttered with junk,” says Alain. “Buying one good quality item that lasts will protect the planet as well as save our wallets. People are catching on that we can’t continue living in a throwaway society.”

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That’s why Good Planet does the hard work to make sure that all their products—from baby clothes to housewares to mattresses—are ‘Good Planet’ green-certified. But stocking the best quality items is not easy, as inventory costs eat up a huge part of their budget. “Graham Boulding at Vancity was a bit of a mentor to us,” says Ian. “He taught us a few hard facts of running a business and how to work with financial institutions, and put us on the track towards financial sustainability.”

“Vancity has helped us become sustainable all-round,” chimes in Alain. In addition to business advice and a line of credit for inventory management, Vancity provided a Climate Smart scholarship to help Good Planet further reduce their carbon footprint and supported them in achieving Vancouver Island Green Business Certification. “The Good Planet is a local leader in how to run a business more environmentally sustainability, and they offer products that help consumers live more lightly on the land,” says Maureen Cureton, Vancity manager of green business. “That’s something we believe in very deeply.”

“Our customers are becoming savvier,” says Ian. “To help them, we need to stay ahead of the curve. Vancity is helping us do just that.”