photo above COURTNEY GOLD
Founded in 2019 by Emily Fletcher, the Clean + Conscious Awards are, at once, an educational tool for conscious consumers and a motivator for brands to manufacture responsibly.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a mother of two young children and a practising optometrist of 15 years. I was raised and continue to live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where I’m lucky to be surrounded by nature. I’ve always been interested in science and how it relates to our health and the world around us. My tertiary education involved years of advanced science study and I have also completed further pharmacology studies. After having my first baby in 2015, I started a blog documenting my journey researching ingredients used in baby and everyday products. The blog later led to the idea of the Clean + Conscious Awards, which I founded four years ago. Today, I run the awards supported by a team of highly qualified and passionate women, including Emma Freeman, who manages our content and marketing, and Dr Dominique Scott, our awards coordinator – both also mothers of young children. We all share the values of conscious living, helping others and caring for our planet. Our combined skills, expertise and passion give Clean + Conscious the success that it has today.
Why were you inspired to start the awards?
I started the awards with the aim of empowering consumers to make informed decisions when choosing clean and conscious products. I also wanted to support brands that are truly clean and conscious role models. Many of the brands I recommended through my blog were lesser-known, with small marketing budgets but huge hearts. Unless these small businesses were recognised for the value they truly provide – in care for their customers, the environment and support for local and global communities – it would be difficult for them to find a voice and stay afloat. Unlike many other awards, I wanted to create something that was scientifically researched, independent, created from the heart and unbiased by the size of an entrant’s marketing budget.
What are your goals?
I wholeheartedly believe that empowering consumers to make educated choices affects change on a large scale. I also believe that celebrating the very best clean and conscious products creates a ripple effect, paving the way for other brands to adopt similar practices. The Clean + Conscious directory is an incredible resource and it’s exciting reading through it and realising how many wonderful initiatives you can support when you choose to buy consciously. Each product page contains info on what makes a product non-toxic, ethical, sustainable and responsible. We have over 80 categories including skincare, makeup, baby, kids, haircare, zero waste, fashion, home, food and fitness products.
I wholeheartedly believe that empowering consumers to make educated choices affects change on a large scale.
An ongoing goal for us is to ensure that our judging process is transparent, honest and unbiased. All of our entrants are extensively researched with hands-on testing. Our deliberately diverse and inclusive panel is made up of eco-warriors, beauty experts, writers, editors, low-tox experts, authors, activists and sustainability educators. Some of our regular panellists include Beauticate founder Sigourney Cantelo, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s lifestyle health editor Sarah Berry, ethical fashion advocate Brittanie Dreghorn of Britt’s List and many more.
Has this changed over time?
When I first started the awards, greenwashing was rife and we found many entrants didn’t meet the criteria needed to become a finalist. What I found was many brands didn’t realise that their products didn’t have a clean ingredients list, or they thought that because they had been issued a certificate with the palm oil they purchased, the certificate must mean that the palm oil was sustainable, whereas it was just a certificate to say it was from mixed sources. Over the last four years, brands have become more educated and their ingredient lists and accountability have continued to improve.
Are there any key sustainable trends you’ve noticed this year?
In the first year of the awards, packaging and mailers weren’t as consciously thought about by brands. We’ve since included stronger guidelines around packaging for entries and now the quality of the packaging has improved remarkably – brands have really shifted to incorporate things like biodegradable corn-starch peanuts and reusable and home-compostable satchels.
We’ve also noticed a rise in refill and bottle exchange programs for beauty and body brands as well as the use of recycled PET bottles. Similarly, there has been an increase in the use of recycled PET and nylon materials in our fashion categories. More recently, we’ve seen more and more zero-waste cosmetic and beauty brands entering the market, inspiring us to open up our Zero Waste Beauty and Zero Waste Body categories.
I believe conscious consumerism is our weapon to fight for the world we want.
What does being a “conscious consumer” mean to you?
I believe conscious consumerism is our weapon to fight for the world we want. It is the understanding that every time we spend money, we are voting with our wallet. It can be as simple as asking yourself, “Do I really need this? How long will I use it for? Where was it made? Who made it? How far did it travel to be here and will it end up in landfill at the end of its life?”
The conscious consumer movement is already affecting widespread change, however, it becomes even stronger with every extra individual who joins in. Not only does making conscious purchases make us feel congruent with our values and good about ourselves, but it’s also incredibly empowering knowing that our individual actions are having a true impact.
2022 CLEAN + CONSCIOUS AWARD WINNERS
See the full list of winners from the 2022 Clean + Conscious Awards below and browse the directory here.
Mizzie the Kangaroo // Mini Mizzie – 100% Natural Rubber Teether
Over All // 1516 Stow Unisex Kids’ Dungarees
Highchair Catchy // Highchair Catchy
Luvme Eco // 68% Eco, Haléco-Disposable Nappies, Bulk Box
CORE Kids // CORE Kids Eco-Friendly Child Yoga Mat
Hevea // Natural Rubber Dummy
Merineo // Merino Toddler Sleeping Bag
Weleda // Calendula Intensive Body Cream
Billie and Bobbie // Joey Merino Wool Swaddle Sack
Luvme Eco // Bamboo Wipes
Baby BeeHinds // Magicalls All in Two
KIDS ACTIVITIES 2+
Cherub Baby // Silicone Suction Toddler Bath Toys
KIDS ACTIVITIES 4+
Knead Play // Engaged Imagination Sensory Play Kit
Awakind Kids // Unisex Bamboo Original Romper
Weleda // Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash
Kiddikutter // KiddiKutter Child Safe Knives
Eat for You // Little Hero Bar: Chocolate + Coconut
People4Ocean // SPF 50 Vegan Sunscreen
NAPPY RASH PRODUCT
Weleda // Calendula Nappy Change Cream
MAKEUP – EYES
Eye Of Horus // Custom Eyeshadow Compact
MAKEUP – LIPS
Eco By Sonya // Lipstick Miami Rose
MOISTURISER – NORMAL / DRY
Weleda // Skin Food Light
NIGHT CREAM / SERUM
Saya // Intense Night Repair
Synthesis Organics // Notox Ageless Glow Serum
SKINCARE – EYES
The Herb Farm // Restoring Ginkgo Eye Cream
TONER / FACE MIST
LESSE // Regeneration Mist
VITAMIN C SERUM
Eco by Sonya // Serum of Plenty
CLEANSER – NORMAL / DRY
Dr. Hauschka // Cleansing Balm
CLEANSER – OILY SKIN
Saya // Cleansing Gel
Rinascentia // Divine Oleum With Coenzyme Q10 + Chamomile
Mukti Organics // Mukti Organics 2-in-1 Resurfacing Exfoliant
Mukti Organics // Mukti Organics Deep Cleanse Antioxidant Masque
Nicole Louise Apothecary // Kalahari Melon Seed Oil
FOUNDATION / CONCEALER
Kylie’s Professional // Kylie’s Professional Mineral Goddess Luxury Cream Foundation
LESSE //Soothing Lip Balm
MOISTURISER – OILY SKIN
Weleda // Almond Soothing Facial Cream
Saya // Renew Serum
Mukti Organics // Mukti Organics Calming Cleansing Balm
SKINCARE – OILY & ACNE
Eco by Sonya // Serum of Clear
Washed Movement // Enrich Care Refill
Abel Odor // Cyan Nori Eau de Parfum
FRESCA // Kimono
Synthesis Organics // Breath of Australia Synergy Essential Oil
AROMATHERAPY – SLEEP
Sonia Orts // Sweet Dreams Wellbeing Mist
Mukti Organics // Botanique Lotion
Paudha Healing // Nourishing Body & Hair Oil
Nina’s Bees // Natural Soap with Honey and Beeswax
NO PONG // No Pong – Cool Lavender
The Hello Cup // Hello Disc
Synthesis Organics // Hair & Scalp Elixir
QED Skincare // Ultra-Sensitive Body Balm
Foraged For You // The Mothers Blend
MEN’S PERSONAL CARE
Rinascentia // Not Just A Shave Cream
Weleda // Skin Food
Everyday Empowered // Herbal Starter Kit
Weleda // Stretch Mark Massage Oil
Eco by Sonya // Lemongrass Natural Deodorant
Washed Movement // Enrich Cleanse Refill
SOAP / HANDWASH
Honest to Goodness // Natural Unscented Castile Soap
SUNSLAYER // Natural Face & Body Moisturiser Sunscreen Cream SPF50+
Salt Gypsy // Betty Bottoms
The Very Good Bra // The Very Good Bra – Liberty Pansy
The Very Good Bra // Tee-in-bed
ZONE by Lydia// Listening to Country Cork Yoga Mat
Sacred Earth Medicine // Ceremonial Cacao
Nutra Organics // Acai Berry Blend
Nutra Organics // Thriving Protein Strawberries & Cream
Roogenic // Kakadu Plum
TEA – WELLBEING
Love Tea // Caffeine Free Chai
Nutra Organics // Collagen Beauty
Nutra Organics // Chicken Bone Broth Miso Ramen
TEA – RELAX
Roogenic // Native Relaxtion
Eat for You // Lemme Feel Well Bar: Lemon + Ginger
BATHROOM / LAUNDRY
Chiron Organic // Cactus and Olive Oil Laundry Powder
Sonia Orts // Wellbeing Candle Harmony
CELEBRATIONS + STATIONERY
Rosie Lou // Rosie Lou Garden Salad Seed Pack
Koala Eco // Natural Multi-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner – Concentrated Refill
Freya’s Nourishment // Smudge – Energy Clearing Mist
Earths Tribe // Cellulose Sponge
ZERO WASTE BEAUTY
Oasis Black // Hemp Face & Body Liquid Cleanser Concentrate
Earthworthy // Handloom Blanket
ZERO WASTE – HOME
Byron Bay Candles // Candle Jar Refill in Enrich
ZERO WASTE BODY
The Australian Natural Soap Company // Peppermint & Pumice