Method Products, Inc.
Method Products, PBC is a company that produces nontoxic and biodegradable cleaning products, including home cleaners, hand soap, and laundry detergent. Method is also well-known for the design of its products—their first bottle of soap was designed by award-winning industrial designer Karim Rashid. In 2006, Inc. Magazine named the company one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.
Method was founded in 2000 by Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, who recognized that most cleaning products on the market were made with toxic ingredients, and set out to make products with safer, more natural materials. After starting with sales to local grocery stores, the company quickly expanded nationwide—and into other countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia.
“We were founded on the principle that we wanted to create a greener alternative,” said Saskia Van Gendt, who goes by the title “Captain Planet” and is in charge of measuring and improving sustainability metrics at the company.
Since then, Method has continued to grow exponentially, with revenue rising from $34 million in 2005 to over $100 million in 2012, and employment growing equally rapidly during that time. In 2012, Method merged with the Belgium-based Ecover Group; together, they are now the largest green cleaning group by sales.
And they haven’t stopped there. Just last year, Method announced the construction of a new factory in Chicago’s South Side, which is expected to employ another 100 people; the company announced it would be recruiting from the Pullman neighborhood where the plant is located. In addition, the plant is expected to be awarded LEED Platinum status, and will include 75,000 feet of rooftop greenhouses that will produce leafy vegetables for the local economy through a partnership with Gotham Greens; the Pullman area has been described as a food desert.
The company itself is a certified B Corporation, and its San Francisco headquarters is also a LEED-certified building. Method has also invested heavily in renewable energy, a more efficient supply chain, and responsible sourcing of materials—even collecting plastic pollution from beaches for repurposing into their products.
At the same time, Method realized that working with other businesses and business organizations could yield a lot of benefits, as well as giving them the chance to learn from their peers and work on other important issues they might not have thought of. This led to them joining ASBC.
Method’s work with ASBC has mostly focused on chemical reform, including joining our Companies for Safer Chemicals Coalition to advocate for sustainable changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Method’s products are made with biodegradable ingredients, and they fully disclose all of their ingredients in each product, so this was a natural fit for them.
For Method, joining ASBC was a chance not just to help shape policy on the issues that matter most to them—and to show that businesses can support sustainable policies—but also to learn from other businesses that feel the same way. “We don’t expect we’ll wake up tomorrow and be a perfect business,” explained Van Gendt, “but every day we strive to make progress.”