Global Thinkers

Ethique founder Brianne West in Washington D.C. for the Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2016 awards.

Young Christchurch entrepreneur listed in prestigious top 100 ‘Global Thinker’ list

14 December 2016

Brianne West, Founder and Chief Executive of the world’s first 100 percent solid beauty bar company Ethique, was yesterday named one of US Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2016.

Ethique is the only New Zealand business to feature in this year’s prestigious list which includes billionaire philanthropists Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan; as well as global leaders such as the President of Taiwan, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Brianne, aged 29, attended the annual Global Thinkers presentation ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“I’m so incredibly humbled to receive this sort of global recognition for our achievements to date,” said Brianne.

“While a huge part of what we do at Ethique is about eliminating the plastic bottles and wasted water caused by personal care products, it’s so much more than that. We have to stop transferring responsibility for saving our environment onto consumers – businesses need to lead the way and become responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products.”

She says more than eight million plastic personal care products are disposed of each day in the United States – a total of about three billion in 2015. Ethique’s solution is instead to manufacture an entirely ‘solid’ product range, sold in biodegradable and compostable packaging.

All ingredients used must be naturally derived and come from ethical, sustainable sources. Direct from Fair Trade producers is preferred.

Ethique’s environmentally sustainable business model sets out to lead by example, really challenging the conventions of the international beauty and cosmetics industry.

“I’m passionate about social enterprise and the changes it can bring about, but people are surprised to know I’m even more passionate about animals and their environment,” Brianne said.

“A mission of mine is to be a part of the movement that ends the truly hideous practice of testing cosmetic products on animals. But if you genuinely want to help our planet’s animals, we must also protect the environment. So far we’ve prevented the manufacture and disposal of more than 130,000 plastic bottles. Our next goal is one million, and our overall vision is to have a bar in every shower – that is how we will save the environment.

“I don’t necessarily mean an Ethique bar, although that would be good, but I want to create change on an industry level where people move away from the idea of liquid products which require plastic packaging and use lots of water.”

Brianne – a qualified biologist – founded Ethique in 2012 while completing her second year of a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Canterbury.

This is not the first time the environmentally conscious B-Corp certified business has tasted success in the US with its vegan, cruelty-free and climate-friendly products.

Earlier this year, Brianne attracted the attention of international celebrities that included Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Sarah Wilson (I Quit Sugar) and Jamie McDell after featuring in renowned publications such as Forbes, Huffington Post and 1 Million Women.

Since the Huffington Post article was published in July, Ethique’s weekly revenue increased by 352 per cent while Kutcher’s video endorsement of the brand in August generated a 235 per cent spike.

Foreign Policy editor Seyward Darby nominated Brianne for this year’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers list after reading the feature article published by Forbes. She stated that Brianne should be honoured “for making beauty eco-friendly”.

The Ethique product range includes solid shampoos, conditioners, body wash, face creams and solid moisturising serums, deodorants, self tanning bars, household cleaning products and even pet wash.

Media coverage beauty entrepreneur becomes a global thinker

New Zealand HeraldEthique founder lands spot in US Foreign Policy ‘global thinker’ list

MiNDFOOD – Kiwi founder of Ethique named as 2016 ‘Global Thinker’

Triple feature in March 2017 print edition and MiNDFOOD radio podcast:

MiNDFOOD Radio – Brianne West from Ethique

The Press article, International acclaim for Ethique cosmetics, was also published by the various Fairfax newspapers including:

  • Sunday Star Times
  • Taranaki Daily News
  • Timaru Herald
  • Southland Times
  • Waikato Times
  • Dominion Post
  • Manawatu Standard
  • Nelson Mail
  • Marlborough Express