NEW YORK, United States — JUST Water, the environmentally friendly carton water brand from actor and musician Jaden Smith, has been valued at $100 million, less than four years since it was founded.
In 2015, with the help of his Hollywood movie star parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden founded the company, selling responsibly sourced water from New York packaged in bottles made from 82% renewable resources.
Last August the certified B Corp launched in the UK in Boots and Whole Foods stores, with the company stating it wanted to become “the most prominent, well-recognised sustainable bottle of water in the UK”, helping provide alternatives to the default plastic bottle in the water category.
Now JUST has three bottling facilities in the US, UK and Australia, is available in 10 countries with the United Arab Emirates and Japan soon to follow, and is sold in over 15,000 retail locations in North America alone.
This aggressive growth strategy, coupled with changing consumer habits around single-use plastic, has led to JUST Water earning a $100 million valuation.
“We doubled our business last year, we tripled the business this year, and are on track to almost triple it again next year,” JUST Water CEO Ira Laufer recently told Fast Company.
Eco-friendly Wellness Brands Driving Consumer Habits
The wellness industry has been quick to adapt to changing consumer habits around single-use plastic, with a 2017 survey from Euromonitor estimating humans will use 580 billion plastic bottles a year by 2021, up from 300 billion a decade ago.
In 2018, London boutique studio 1Rebel was one of the first fitness companies to ban single-use plastic bottles, replacing them with stainless steel versions and packaging protein shakes in biodegradable containers.
And this July all Barry’s Bootcamp studios in the US and UK, 43 in total, announced they would be discontinuing the sale of plastic water bottles and instead partnering with JUST Water.
“By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish,” explained Barry’s Bootcamp CEO Joey Gonzalez. “We’re just trying to do our part to combat the negative impact of single-use disposable plastic.
“We had been longtime fans of JUST and the brand shares the same values as we do at Barry’s, in terms of supporting non-profit environmental groups – for example, we’re both active supporters of the Environmental Media Association – so it was a natural fit,” he added.
“The new water bottles are co-branded and they represent the first of many steps to come for Barry’s to make its studios greener.”
In the female healthcare sector, Dame and Daye are two young startups disrupting the period care industry.
Dame, an organic tampon subscription service, created the world’s first reusable tampon applicator made from medical grade materials free from chemicals and plastics.
While London-based Daye, which recently raised $5.5 million in funding for its CBD-infused tampons, have designed tampons using organic and sustainably sourced cotton, with no plastic involved in the applicator or packaging.
In the beauty market, Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic, the duo behind Clean Beauty Insiders and e-commerce store BYBI Beauty, are similarly working to promote sustainable skincare products in the UK.
“We believe sustainability is a need to have, not a nice to have,” Rutterford tells Welltodo. “We focus on three core pillars: ingredients, manufacturing and packaging. All BYBI products are made in the UK. They adhere to a stringent recycling policy and hold memberships to organisations such as Sedex, who help to provide supply chain transparency around environmental and ethical impact.”
Where possible, the company which claims 97% of its packaging is recyclable, package products in glass, using plant-based ink that doesn’t affect the material’s ability to be recycled. The brand has launched a circular recycling scheme to reuse empty bottles for its range of Boosters.
Rutterford and Minarovic have also created an auditing system for the products they sell, called the BYBI Green Score. “This takes into account renewability, distance travelled, upcycling and ethical sourcing. It quantifies these into a grading system for every BYBI product.”
Rising awareness of environmental factors affecting farming is increasingly driving the uptake of organic, vegetarian and vegan diets too, especially among young consumers.
According to the Organic Trade Association, 52% of organic consumers are millennials, while a survey from Itsu found 50% of 16-24-year-olds in the UK alone are considering giving up meat.
Bridging the Environmental Funding Gap
Despite the emergence of an increasingly health-conscious consumer, largely driven by the maturing of Millennial and Generation Z demographics, the Global Wellness Institute claims relatively little is being invested by the medical sector to address chronic environmental issues, such as plastic waste.
“There is ample and growing evidence that our health and longevity are greatly affected by the physical environments in which we live, work, and travel, and yet these environments continue to receive scant attention from the medical community,” reads the GWI’s 2018 annual economy monitor report.
Research highlighted by the GWI found the “exposome” (the environments in which our genes live) may account for 70-90% of our disease risks, while external and environmental factors may cause 70-90% of cancers.
The report continued: “At least $260 billion is spent globally on biomedical R&D every year. In spite of major advances in genetics, drugs, medical technologies, and disease treatments, very few research dollars have been directed toward addressing the external/environmental factors that affect our health behaviours, risks, and outcomes.”
Instead, that gap is being filled by forward-thinking wellness startups like JUST Water.
Recognising that yet more can be done, JUST Water is working with TetraPak and local governments to further improve the sustainable standards they’ve set.
“We’ve been able to continue making our packaging out of even more and more material as the lifespan of the company keeps on going,” commented Smith. “It’s like how the iPhone is updated almost every year, we try to update [the packaging]almost every year.”