Fighting the climate crisis requires collective action, aka big businesses, brands, and YOU.

From reducing your carbon footprint to diverting food waste, small actions can lead to big difference. Fortunately, there are plenty of startups, tech companies, and applications to enable you in your journey.

Here are 10 mission-driven startups that promote people and the planet through their brands.

Mission-driven Startups & Their Ethical Marketing Strategy

Cluey Consumer

Cluey Consumer empowers everyone to better understand their impact on the planet. Just create a profile and add your favorite brands, then you can access the brand’s mission and values. 

Greenwashing is taking center stage today, as brands use ‘sustainability’ to draw viewers and consumers alike. Cluey allows you to sort through this false marketing and identify brands that not only use ethical marketing, but truly integrate eco-friendly values in their business. 

Cluey Consumer uses marketing for good to educate consumers about the impact their favorite brands have on people, planet, and politics.

Join the Cluey Consumer waitlist today to jumpstart your journey in ethical consumption.

Pollima

Pollima is a mission-driven brand that constructs furniture from hemp byproduct and locally-sourced materials. Their eco-friendly, functional furniture is not only “elegant” and “durable” but also carbon negative. In other words, their products “[sequesters] more carbon dioxide than is emitted”. 

This mission-driven furniture startup approaches transparency in a unique way. Pollima deconstructs their resource extraction and manufacturing processes right on their home page. From there, they guide their consumers through the various components of their furniture, and even lay out an ambitious goal to keep production down to a 200-mile radius.

Pollima is still gearing up for their launch, but you can pre-order their furniture here.

Beam Impact

Beam Impact uses consumer power to create “real tangible impact, aka direct funding for nonprofits.” This plug-in tool partners directly with brands to increase their non-profit donations. 

What does this mean for customers? When you buy from Beam brands, you are automatically directed to choose a nonprofit either located in your vicinity or one of the brand’s partners. Then, the brand “donates part of your total, at no cost to you.” 

This plug-in tool makes it easier for you to make a difference with your money, and encourages brands to make a positive impact in your community. 

Beam’s commitment to transparency and accountability is clear. Not only does the brand clearly lay out how the plug-in works, but they tell you exactly where your money goes when shopping with a brand partner. 

Beam impact uses ethical marketing strategies to encourage consumers to turn their spending into a positive impact. Eager to shop? Check out Beam partners here and make a big difference with your next purchase. 

Apeel Sciences

Apeel Sciences uses science to reduce food waste. Apeel is a plant-based coating used by growers, suppliers, and retailers to extend shelf life. According to the company’s website, it “keeps moisture inside the produce and oxygen out, which dramatically slows the rate that produce spoils.” 

While the science behind the company’s product is a bit more advanced, the brand uses its social media platforms to fight against food waste. From tips on how to reduce waste to facts about carbon emissions, it is clear that ethical marketing and business is at the brand’s core. By using marketing for good, Apeel Sciences encourage consumers to reduce food waste.

Looking to support Apeel’s work and mission? Find stores near you that carry Apeel produce. 

Bowery

Bowery Farming is a modern take on agriculture that caters to urban communities. Bowery uses indoor, vertical farming to reimagine food systems and promote locally sourced foods. The company’s vision meshes food stewardship and community values to fight urban food deserts. 

This tech startup promotes locally grown foods, reduces food miles, and uses fewer resources to grow produce. Additionally, Bowery pairs its vision with statistics related to food waste, agriculture, and water use. In doing so, they successfully strengthen the company’s brand and marketing.

Bowery may be a New York-based startup, but indoor farming will surely be central to the future of farming. Be sure to watch out for indoor, vertical farming near you. If you live in New York, be sure to check out stores that carry Bowery produce.

ethical marketing

Nature’s Fynd

Nature’s Fynd taps into the microorganism, Fusarium strain flavolapis, to produce an endless supply of proteins anywhere in the world. This startup has two products in the market: dairy-free cream cheese and meatless breakfast patties. 

The brand produces proteins while using 99% less land than beef production, 87% less water, and emits 99% fewer greenhouse gases. In addition to fewer resources and emissions, the brand upholds curiosity, diversity, and resilience to “nourish people and nurture the planet”.

That may sound too good to be true. Luckily, Nature’s Fynd partnered with Hank Green to explain the origins of and process behind developing the Fy Protein. By partnering with a pop culture icon, Nature’s Fynd takes its ethical marketing to a new level: transforming complicated science to be more digestible and accessible to the general public.

By centering hard science and facts in their marketing, Nature’s Fynd makes their process and impact more transparent and accessible to consumers.

OLIO

OLIO aims to reduce food waste by “ [connecting] neighbors with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away”. Simply download the app and you can jumpstart your own journey to fight food waste. Post your own food surplus or browse listings near you to share precious resources. 

Considering OLIO’s mission-driven work, it is hardly surprising that ethical marketing is central to the brand’s strategy. From inclusive values to an impact tracker, this brand upholds and promotes transparency. 

Want to reduce food waste in your local community? Download the app now or volunteer with OLIO. 

Facedrive

Facedrive is a Canada-based resource hub to connect local communities with “people-and-planet first” tech companies. This tech hub offers access to various services, including: ridesharing, food delivery, health tech services, and an e-commerce platform. 

Facedrive promotes services and brands that are locally based, in order to support the local ecosystem. More recently, the startup collaborated with the Government of Canada to distribute rapid tests and reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Aligning words and actions is central to ethical marketing. And by collaborating with the Canadian government, Facedrive brought their “people-and-planet first” vision into reality. Facedrives ethical marketing tactics advocate socially-responsible services to local communities with a strong commitment to doing business fairly, equitably and sustainably.

Based in Canada and interested in supporting ethical brands? Check out Facedrive here. 

Climate Futures

Climate Futures empowers everyone to track and reduce our carbon emissions. As the website mentions, “the climate crisis requires global solutions coupled with local action by YOU.” Climate Futures works with both organizations and individuals to reduce carbon emissions. 

For individuals, simply download the 1PLANET app to reduce your carbon footprint. The app guides you to better understand your carbon footprint, identify areas to work on, and support climate projects. 

The science behind carbon capturing and carbon reduction is a bit more complicated. To solve that, Climate Futures uses their social media platforms to create easily digestible, relatable content. Through Instagram, they highlight popular companies that are making advancements to reduce carbon emissions, so consumers can make more informed decisions.

This mission-driven app taps into ethical marketing and transparency to empower anyone to reduce their carbon footprint right at home.

Dashboard.earth

Dashboard.earth is a Los Angeles-based startup to “connect [users] to the actions necessary to thrive in the face of climate change”. The app allows users to discover community projects and individual actions happening in their communities. 

This startup has ambitious goals, like diverting landfill waste and securing a local water supply. But by making the work transparent, actionable, and accessible, every member of the community is empowered and enabled to make a difference. 

Dashboard.earth may still be in beta testing. Still, by publicly sharing the application’s optics and design (see below), they’re laying the foundation for a fully transparent marketing strategy.

ethical marketing

Jumpstart your journey with these ethical, eco-friendly brands and startups. And as you continue in your work, make sure to identify ethical marketing versus greenwashing. Dasboard.earth uses ethical marketing to connect you to the actions necessary to thrive in the face of climate change.

Author: Lei Anne Rabeje