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Our Vision

Sustainability Report, 2012
Our Vision

Welcome to the Report

We’re excited to share our work with you! Our report is organized according to our four aspirations, which you can read about in the next frame. You can be led through the report or explore on your own. We'd love to hear from you. Please let us know what you think by contacting us at responsibility@seventhgeneration.com.

CEO Letter

Dear Stakeholders,

Greetings and thanks for your loyal support of our business over the past 25 years! As we reach this remarkable milestone, while we are proud of our impact as a business, we are even more grateful for all those who made such a journey possible!

Seventh Generation was founded on the idea that business can be a powerful instrument for change. By meeting high standards of transparency, accountability, and performance voluntarily, we believe we contribute to a brighter future for the whole planet. As an agent of positive change, we strive to do everything with the health of our consumers and the health of the earth in mind.

Each year, our annual Corporate Consciousness report provides the opportunity for us to step back and ask ourselves if we’re driving the kind of change we want to see and if we’re moving fast enough. This year, in particular, we are reflecting on the long arc of our work looking both back to the past and forward to the future.

One of our most important achievements in 2012 was spearheaded by a group of employees. They came together to simplify our mission into four aspirational principles that define who we are and where we are heading. Articulating our goals in this way has unified us in their pursuit and enabled us to develop a 2020 Roadmap with cohesive year-to-year goals and business plans across all units in our company.

  • Nurturing Nature: To create the best products and the best packaging we can, we continue to push ourselves on the science of sustainability. By increasing the plant-based content of our ingredients over the past several years, we achieved USDA BioPreferred Certification for all 74 of our eligible products. To nurture nature truly through our products, we are working toward a goal of fully recyclable or biodegradable products made from plant-based or recycled materials. Our belief in the power of plants over petroleum, and tight control of the logistics of our distribution system led to a 6 percent absolute reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions since 2011.
  • Enhancing Health: While working to keep chemicals of concern out of our own products, we have also been advocating for tighter toxic chemical legislation that would keep the worst actors out of all consumer products. Leveraging social media has allowed us to extend the reach of our consumer engagement on vital health issues, and our support of key organizations such as the Breast Cancer Fund and Women’s Voices for the Earth adds further weight to our goal to reduce exposure to environmental toxins. We are pleased notable companies like Johnson & Johnson and Proctor and Gamble have decided to reformulate away from select toxic substances in some of their products. We remain hopeful they and others will go further and that the toxics control legislation being debated by Congress finds a positive resolution in the year ahead.
  • Transforming Commerce: Through our leadership within the American Cleaning Institute, Seventh Generation is paving the way for meaningful change by setting the standard for ingredient disclosure. As a member of BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy), we’re partnering with other progressive companies to advocate for responsible climate change policies. We also recognize our own need to place a greater emphasis on embedding sustainability principles more firmly within our own supply chain by working more closely with our supplier partners over the next year.
  • Building Communities: We tied our four sustainability goals into our Annual Incentive Program so that we measure and reward what matters most! Two of these goals – both met – supported community, and demonstrated the value we place on this piece of our mission. With passion and good humor, Seventh Generation employees went out into the larger community to plant gardens, serve meals, and mentor local students. While we met our goal of 100 percent employee engagement, high turnover over the past two years has challenged us in fostering the thriving workplace we envision. Our goal over the next several years is to solidify and strengthen our culture and internal community as we strive to be #1 in the “Best Places to Work in Vermont” survey.

As we look ahead, we share deep gratitude to all that have made this journey possible. I am grateful to be able to infuse my work with purpose, supported by a tremendous group of talented, passionate people who find joy and purpose in what they do every day. Thank you to all my colleagues at Seventh Generation and to all our partners for helping us grow ever closer to the sustainable future we are working to craft.

John Replogle, CEO

Our Company

Seventh Generation is a leading brand of green household and personal care products. Established in 1988, the Burlington, Vermont-based company remains an independent, privately-held company distributing products to natural food stores, supermarkets, mass merchants, and online retailers across the United States and Canada.

As we celebrate our 25th year in business in 2013, we remain committed to creating products that are mindful solutions for pets, people, communities and the environment. As a pioneer in corporate responsibility, we want our products to make a difference—from their development to their production, purchase, use, and disposal.

Seventh Generation Timeline

  • 1988 – Seventh Generation is born!
  • 2001 – First website launched, heavy focus on education
  • 2002 – Product and Ingredient Guidelines published
    • No chronic toxicants
    • Zero VOCs
    • Plant-derived

Aspirations and Goals

Seventh Generation has been a mission-driven organization from our earliest days, when we first embraced the Iroquois belief of caring for the next seven generations. We haven’t always done a great job of articulating our shared vision of the future and linking that vision to concrete goals and business plans. A group of 25 of us from across the company set out to change that through a lively aspiration-defining exercise in December 2012. In early 2013, we are still refining the 2020 goals listed below.

Nurturing Nature 

We aspire to care today for the next seven generations of tomorrows.


Choose plants not petroleum

  • All products and packaging biobased or recycled

Source sustainably

  • All agricultural materials are sourced from farms that restore and improve soil fertility, water quality, and biodiversity

Produce zero waste

  • All products and packaging biodegradable or recyclable

Create and use energy sustainably

  • All energy from non-fossil sources
  • All Seventh Generation consumers wash their laundry in cold water


Enhancing Health

We aspire to enhance health through education, activism, and innovation.


Create healthy products for healthy homes

  • All Seventh Generation products are not acutely toxic and are free of chronic toxicants; these and all other product benefits are clearly promoted to our consumers


Building Communities

We aspire to advance social justice and equality to unleash human potential.


Create a vibrant workplace

  • Create the “Best Place to Work” in North America

Nurture thriving communities

  • Seventh Generation and its suppliers improve the quality of their business communities, exceeding social standards for health, safety, environment, and equity.


Transforming Commerce

We aspire to champion honesty, responsibility, and radical transparency in commerce.


Be radically transparent

  • All ingredients, materials, packaging, and our supply chain are disclosed 

Exert influence beyond our size

  • Seventh Generation engages industry to create safer consumer products, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and take responsibility for product packaging. 

2020 Roadmap and Goals Alignment

“The company needs a North Star,” says Reed Doyle, Director of Corporate Consciousness. “With half of our community joining us in the past two years, it is important that we have aspirations that guide the company and continue to establish our leadership in the industry. The power of where we ended up is that our four aspirations reflect both our DNA and our promise to the next seven generations.”

We developed nine goals that will ladder up to these aspirations and are working to set short-term and mid-term targets for each of these as part of our 2020 Roadmap. To ensure success, we are embedding accountability for these targets firmly within specific business units. “As we defined these targets, we had to ask ourselves a lot of tough questions,” explains Reed. "How do we enhance health? How do we evolve our supply chain into a true value chain? How will each one of us play a part in getting us where we need to go? How do we ensure that these aspirations infuse our day-to-day activities?”

To be true to our heritage as a mission-driven company, our sustainability goals should carry as much weight as our financial ones. In 2012, we tied four of our sustainability goals to ten percent of our Annual Incentive bonuses in an all-or-nothing formula. (We report on our successful achievement of these goals throughout this report: employee engagement; volunteering, virgin plastic reduction, and BioPreferred Program certification.) In 2013, twenty percent of our bonuses will be linked to key sustainability goals. The following year, we will upgrade the process further by establishing the goals earlier in the year, which will allow us to integrate them into the annual operating plan more effectively.


Global Green’s 2012 Corporate Environmental Leadership Award was given to CEO John Replogle. Watch his speech accepting this honor.