Creating a Sustainable Future
Hey, we're Shaun & Eliot Cunningham, brothers, certified nutritionists and the founders of Future Kind. We're from Sydney, Australia originally but Future Kind is a remote team made up of amazing people around the world. All our products are made in the U.S. though.
We're on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable supplement brand (and we don’t mind if others copy us!)
Climate change, deforestation and plastic-filled beaches are the stuff nightmares are made of, so at the core of our business is a focus on how we can be the best business possible when it comes to:
2. Manufactoring & Operations
It’s not just the environment that we consider though, it’s also the people that work in them, which is why we have policies on diversity, living wages, safety, workers rights and privacy.
But before we get all showy-offy...
While we’ve made some impressive initiatives, the truth is, we’ve got a long way to go.
This is an evolving process, but if we can do our very best and play a role in pushing the industry along, then we think it’s a worthy mission.
When we designed our packaging we asked the following questions:
1. What is the most environmentally friendly material we can use?
2. Will it protect our product?
3. Can it be recycled or composted?
4. How energy intensive will producing these materials be?
That’s when we started to go down the rabbit hole as we discovered…
• While plastic can stay around for thousands of years if it’s not recycled, it’s way less energy intensive (produces less emissions) than producing glass
• But while glass is more energy intensive, it can be recycled indefinitely, but since it’s quite heavy, it means that the trucks that delivering it burn more fuel
• Oh and innocent old paper and cardboard, even though they’re really recyclable, can often produce more emissions than glass and plastic, since a lot of it is made from trees cut down in Indonesia, that are then placed on ships that burn fuel on their way to China…
Turned out this whole sustainability thing was a bit more complicated than we had originally expected. The science of “life cycle analysis” was up there with quantum physics.
If you’re still with us, this is what we ended up deciding would be the best solution:
100% Post Consumer Recycled PET
For now we’ve chosen to go with 100% post consumer recycled PET bottles for many of our products. We chose it because:
1. It’s lightweight and so can be transported using less fuel
2. It’s made from 100% recycled materials, so it’s already had a life
3. It’s highly recyclable (most of our customers report recycling plastic at home)
4. It’s airtight, protects the product and there’s no risk or glass shards breaking off
100% Home Compostable Pouches
For our Super Greens, we decided to use 100% home compostable pouches. Unlike a lot of “bioplastics”, these pouches can literally be put in your home compost and will disappear in a matter of days. The trade off with using this material is that not everyone composts, so we’re keen to gather feedback and see how the majority of people respond to it.
100% Post Consumer Recycled HDPE
However, for some of our products like our protein powder, we needed a stronger material than the compostable pouches could hold, which is why we went with 100% PCR HDPE.
100% Recycled Padded Mailers
For single bottles, we decided to do away with the boxes and just use mailers made from old newspapers. If you look closely enough, you’ll just about be able to see the headlines from 1874 (okay, we made that last bit up).
100% Recycled Boxes
For our bestest customers that decide to order lots of our products, rather than using multiple mailers, we use boxes. These are not only made from 100% post consumer recycled content, but they’re also manufactured in the USA, so they didn’t need to travel from overseas factories.
100% Recycled Product Labels
We've gone above and beyond and discovered a way to source 100% post-consumer waste paper for our product labels. Our labels can by infinitely recycled and re-used again which is hard to believe when you see how amazing the quality is!
100% Recycled Brochures & Soy-Based Ink
In some of our deliveries we include brochures. They’re made from 100% post consumer recycled plant-material, which means they’re not from trees. We also use soy-ink and they’re carbon-offset. Doesn’t get much more green.
100% Recycled Filler
About a billion times better than bubble wrap and foam peanuts, our corrugated bubble is again made from 100% post consumer recycled cardboard. While we do our best to use as compact boxes as possible, these ensure your product fits snugly.
Ever receive a cardboard box that’s smothered in plastic tape? It’s the worst. You have to spend 20 minutes ripping it off to recycle, otherwise it contaminates the cardboard recycling. That’s why we use kraft tape. No need to rip it off, it all just goes in the cardboard recycling. It's also made from 50% recycled materials!
For some of our smaller products, we use glass. While glass can be heavy, it’s also infinitely recyclable, unlike plastic that tends to have a maximum life of 10 cycles. It’s also an easy product to recycle.
Manufacturing & Operations
The Best Season of The Office (We Got Rid Of It)
As a remote team, working from our home offices, we’re able to knock out one of the largest contributors to a typical company's resource usage: The Office.
Not having an office means less furniture, electricity, water, computer equipment and air conditioning. It also means removing the need for people to make long commutes, which reduces the number of cars on the road and the amount of fuel burned.
Oh, and we can spend more time with our fur babies (from rescue shelters of course!).
Manufacturing is a bit trickier...
Like almost all supplement companies, we use shared facilities to manufacture our products. From a sustainability perspective this makes sense, but it can be tricky to get total visibility on their practices, which is why we send all our suppliers a comprehensive survey that covers the following:
• Corporate environmental footprint
• Manufactoring environmental footprint
• Employee conditions
It’s pretty in-depth, but for anyone that would like a copy, you can download a version here.
Since we work with many suppliers, it’s difficult to estimate our emissions with pinpoint precision, which is why we decided to vastly “over spend” on our carbon offsetting.
Our hope is that the investment we make in carbon offsetting will not only dwarf the emissions our company produces, but will also cover the next 100 companies.
Turns out carbon offsetting is also a pretty tricky science, so for those that are new to the area, there are generally two approaches:
1. Pay a charity that will invest the money into renewable energy projects like wind farms or;
2. Pay a charity that will either plant trees or protect existing forests
Since renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels, we feel that there is already enough of an incentive for companies to invest in wind farms, which is why we chose the second option.
After a great deal of research, we decided that there was generally a better return on investment by protecting existing rainforests, rather than creating new ones. After reading an in depth analysis by the Founders Pledge, we decided to select The Coalition for Rainforest Nations as our charity of choice to offset our emissions.
When it comes to ingredients, our greatest concerns are:
1. How much will this nutrient help people?
2. How strong is the science behind it?
3. Is it from the best source available? Is it organic?
By only using ingredients that work, we eliminate products in the market that should never have been there in the first place. The supplements industry is filled with products that simply don’t stack up when it comes to the science.
We also do our best to find organic suppliers, since they tend to have the most environmentally friendly farming practices.
Finally, we do our best to source as locally as possible and minimise the amount of fuel that was needed to get it to us.