Anti-Greenwash Q&A: Christina of Greenscents

As part of our anti-greenwash series, we caught up with Christina, the founder of the ethical cleaning product company Greenscents. They came top in our guides to Laundry Detergents, Toilet Cleaners, Washing-up Liquid and Household Cleaners.

Because 'greenwashing' is now running rampant it can be hard to know who's really hitting the ethical mark. Luckily, nothing gets by our screening process. Our Best Buys can be trusted to do the right thing.

Sophie: What inspired Greenscents and how did it begin?

Christina: I was really struggling to find suitable laundry & household products for my family.  All our four children had asthma, dermatitis or other allergies.  I wanted natural fragrances and organic ingredients too!  This was impossible to find and so Greenscents was born.

S: What sets you apart from other home and cleaning products brands?

C: Greenscents continues to set the pace in the green cleaning world with innovative products that challenge the status quo.  Whether it's ingredients sourcing or packaging we go the extra mile to ensure that our products are as sustainable as possible. 

Third-party certification has been essential to our customer offer and organic certification with The Soil Association across our entire range makes me very proud.

S: What are the benefits of products do not contain palm oil, parabens, phosphates etc.?

C: Greenscents products are designed to ensure a ‘healthy happy home’. This cannot be achieved with cheap, toxic chemicals that form the base of conventional products, many of which are carcinogenic. 

At Greenscents we are very particular about ingredient sourcing to ensure that our customers do not suffer from using our products but also that animals and the environment don’t suffer either.  We are passionate about our planet so all our ingredients are researched and checked to ensure that they are as sustainable as can be.

S: Is it difficult running as a business that participates in the zero-waste movement?

C: The zero-waste movement is a perfect fit with the Greenscents ethos so we are delighted to play an important role.  There have been challenges as the growth of our 20-litre containers has been exponential but we are adjusting to this ever-increasing market.

Zero waste shops are performing a critical role in many town centres and we offer our retail customers every support including a returns service for our large containers. This has proved very popular and means that the containers can often be reused 20 times!

S: Can you tell me a little about the workshops where all the Greenscents products are made?

C: Since our business started in 2011, we have been based in Dulverton on the edge of the Exmoor National Park.  Our workshops are all BREEAM rated which means they were built to very high environmental standards and all our water comes from a borehole on-site!

S: On your 'How to use Greenscents products' page it says that all Greenscents products 'are very concentrated and have more active ingredients than many similar cleaning and laundry ranges'. As a business that promotes using less product do you ever worry about losing custom?

C: This has been a concern and I am sure we have lost some custom and sales as a result but the results are worth it. Sadly, many companies seduce customers by offering products in large bottles at cheap prices but this is wholly unsustainable.

Larger bottles mean more plastic use and more weight for transportation.  This raises the carbon footprint of the product and it is all totally unnecessary. It seems to me that moving water round the world at this scale is unacceptable. At Greenscents, offering concentrated products is central to what we do.  It still amazes me that our 20 litre laundry liquid is enough for 880 washes!  Wash for wash Greenscents is often cheaper than Ecover and Persil so our customers really win too!

S: What challenges do you face as an ethical company?

C: The paperwork is phenomenal!  The more certifications we gather – the more forms need filling in.  As an ethical company our work is never done, we are always looking at the next improvement we can make or the next campaign we can support.

S: What are your views on greenwashing?

C: I am always alarmed by deliberate attempts to trick or manipulate customers.  We started Greenscents determined to be transparent about our ethics and we have found that largely, third party certification achieves this. 

However, there are so many logos, straplines and marketing claims that it is very difficult for customers to navigate their way to legitimate products.  We find that our monthly newsletter is a very helpful source for informing our customers and we often collaborate with other companies with similar ethics.

S: What are your plans for the future?

C: We are always researching new approaches to our business but the next big thing for us is palm-oil-free certification. 

We are nearly there and hope to have our new logo in place before too long. Next year, we will be moving to purpose-built premises in Minehead about 10 miles from our current location.  Our staff are very excited as we will have much more space and of course everything will be designed in an eco-friendly way.  Watch this space!

We would like to thank Christina for taking the time to talk to Ethical Consumer. For more information about Greenscents take a look at their website.

Free Issue

Sign up now to our email newsletter for a free digital copy of Ethical Consumer magazine.

Sign up now for our email newsletter