“Everyone has the right to a healthy home.” – Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks
This week on the Gooder Podcast I had the pleasure of talking with Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, the President and CEO at ECOS. We discuss the innovations in ECOS and how they ensure sustainability in the company. We also learn about the trends that have come up in the natural cleaning industry, accelerated due to the pandemic. Along the way we learn the story of the transformation of a family legacy into a category champion and hear about an innovative leader who advocates for corporate social responsibility and sustainable manufacturing.
In this episode we learn:
- About the family history and legacy of ECOS.
- How far green science has evolved and its impact on product efficacy in home cleaning and personal care.
- Reasons why consumers resist switching from traditional industrial cleaners to more people/planet/pet friendly cleaning products.
- About product innovation and trends in the natural cleaning industry.
- The behind-the-scenes efforts of developing one of the most disruptive environmentally friendly supply chains and its net-positive impact for consumers pocketbooks.
- How Kelly’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and love inspires a brand that continues to break all the rules on its way to saving the planet.
About Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks:
As President and CEO, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, leads the strategy and production environmentally friendly cleaning products at ECOS. She oversees four geographically diverse facilities across the U.S. as well as a European Manufacturing platform. She has been widely recognized for her highly effective movement, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable manufacturing.
Vlahakis-Hanks has led ECOS to become a Climate Positive company and the first company in the world to achieve the sustainability trifecta of carbon neutrality, water neutrality, and TRUE Platinum Zero Waste certification. Her sustainable business practice has made ECOS a model for green business in the U.S. ECOS is a primary manufacture that has received many awards for its innovations in safer green chemistry, including the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Partner of the Year four times.
As an African American woman and the daughter of a Greek immigrant, Vlahakis-Hanks has made environmental and social justice a cornerstone of ECOS’s mission. She actively promotes a corporate culture of diversity and empowerment, ensuring that over 50% of her C-Suite and top executives are women. She supports a green economy by creating sustainable manufacturing jobs across the U.S. and offering strong employee benefits and a living minimum wage of $17 per hour, one of the highest in the industry. She also offers financial incentives to employees who make sustainable living choices such as purchasing a low-emissions vehicle or solar panels.
Vlahakis-Hanks received her undergraduate degree at UCLA and an MBA at Chapman University Argyros School of Business and Economics. She has been featured on CNN, CBS News, FOX News, NBC News, Bloomberg and Marketwatch and in publications such as Fortune, Entrepreneur and the Los Angeles Times. She has received many awards for her sustainable leadership, including Entrepreneur Magazine’s 100 Powerful Women in 2020 and Conscious Company’s World-Changing Women in Conscious Business Award.
She is an active member of several boards, including the Environmental Media Association and the Chapman University Board of Governors, where she serves on the Diversity Task Force. She is active in industry councils and public policy advocacy, including the American Sustainable Business Council and the Companies for Safer Chemicals coalition, working to promote higher standards for consumer products to protect human health and the environment. She is also a member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) and Abundance 360, Peter Diamandis’ select community of executives and entrepreneurs using exponential technologies to transform their businesses.
Vlahakis-Hanks resides in southern California with her husband, teenage daughter and rescue dog Mina.
Guests Social Media Links:
ECOS’ One-Step Disinfectant - Fragrance Free.
ECOSNEXT™ Liquidless Laundry Detergent - Free & Clear.
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA traces its early origins back to 1882 as the southern branch of the California State Normal School.
Brown + Dutch was founded in 1996 when Alyson Dutch and her chocolate Labrador Rocky Brown found themselves starting a PR agency, quite by accident.
Walmart Inc. is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores from the United States, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and incorporated on October 31, 1969.
Sam's West, Inc. is an American chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Walmart Inc., founded in 1983 and named after Walmart founder Sam Walton.
Costco Wholesale Corporation is an American multinational corporation which operates a chain of membership-only big-box retail stores. As of 2020, Costco was the fifth largest retailer in the world, and the world's largest retailer of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine as of 2016.
TerraCycle is a private U.S. recycling business headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey. It primarily runs a volunteer-based recycling platform to collect non-recyclable pre-consumer and post-consumer waste on behalf of corporate donors or municipalities to turn it into raw material to be used in new products.
Whole Foods Market, Inc. is an American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer in the United States, the chain is popularly known for its organic selections.
The Environmental Protection Agency is an independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA on July 9, 1970; it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order.
Safer Choice helps consumers, businesses, and purchasers find products that perform and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.
Green For All is an organization whose stated goal is to build a green economy while simultaneously lifting citizens out of poverty. It is a DC-based group that brings unions and environmentalists together to push for anti-poverty measures and a clean-energy economy.
The Environmental Media Awards have been awarded by the Environmental Media Association since 1991 to the best television episode or film with an environmental message.
YPO is a global leadership community of chief executives with approximately 29,000 members in more than 130 countries, according to the organization's 2019 YPO international fact sheet.
Women's History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.
Daniel Pink’s Master Class: Teaches Sales and Persuasion.
Kellogg Garden has operated as a family-owned and operated company. Established in 1925, they have remained a stable, steadfast family business guided by the core values of their founder, H. Clay Kellogg: integrity, innovation, loyalty, experience, commitment, and generosity.
Beyond Green is a Certified B Corp making positive change easier by inspiring everyone to create a sustainable world.
Rivian is an American automaker and automotive technology company founded in 2009. The company develops vehicles, products and services related to sustainable transportation.
Publix was founded in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida, by George W. Jenkins. Their mission is to be the premier quality food retailer in the world.
Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com