Low-Impact Is the New High-End

We’re proud to announce the culmination of years of hard work, creative design, and ecological soul-searching.

Starting this summer, we are rolling out a whole new look for our brand, with new products and new packaging — but the changes are more than skin-deep. 

In keeping with our longstanding environmental commitments, the new packaging is designed for sustainability from the bottom up. 

These changes are the result of countless months of effort — and a deliberate choice to prioritize a lighter footprint over bigger profits. But it’s worth it. Individual wellness shouldn’t come at the expense of our planet’s health. And as participants in a nascent industry, we felt it was our responsibility to continue to do better and to set an example for what was possible. 

We learned a lot about sustainability throughout this process, and we’d like to share about the blind spots that conscious consumers face, and the challenges for conscious companies. So let’s take a quick trip back in time...

Rebranding Cannabis: The Power of Packaging

When we first launched in California back in 2013, the cannabis industry was still a fringe business occupying a legal gray area. 

Although medical cannabis activists and doctors were promoting CBD as a new miracle medicine, Foria was one of the first cannabis brands to focus on the non-psychoactive benefits of this remarkable plant. 

From the beginning, we’ve believed that the only path worth following was the one where we made the highest-quality products, with care and respect for all beings along the way. Not only were our products making a significant, even life-changing impact on our community, the quality was extremely high compared with the rest of the gray-market “medical” cannabis out there. We were committed to using only organically-grown ingredients with extensive testing to ensure purity.

And, frankly, we were a scrappy startup – in order to survive, we weren’t yet capable of doing everything that we would have wished, like using eco-paper or plant-based inks for our packaging. We had to stand out on the shelf, and reach a wider audience, so we chose gold-leaf and soft-touch treatments that dispelled the stigma of “illegal drugs” while also signaling the preciousness of our premium formulas. 

Our goal was to help people feel comfortable with our products, especially given the unique & intimate nature of what we were offering. To a great extent, our early design and packaging helped us arrive where we are today. 

High-End And High-Impact

As the cannabis industry emerged from the shadows and the CBD “green rush” began, the market was flooded with new brands that took their cues from high-end luxury products. Unfortunately , what is sold as “high end” in the broader packaged goods market has a certain look and feel that is often far removed from any sustainability concerns. 

Suddenly there were dozens of shiny newcomers competing for attention and dollars with expensive, flashy packaging, few of them considering the downstream consequences of their design choices. From an environmental point of view, it was a race to the bottom.

Although that wasn’t our intent – and we always emphasized glass over plastic and recyclable papers – we fell into this trap ourselves, unbeknownst to us. But we learned that there were steps we could take to get better. 

We’ve since discovered that many of these high-end details just aren’t sustainable, and it was time to let them go. 

We had to turn to the experts to find out why. 

Seeking Help from the Experts

We worked in-depth with Brown and Wilmanns Environmental, LLC, a group of sustainability consultants who sharpened their supply chain skills in Patagonia’s industry-leading sustainability department. 

What we learned surprised us – for instance, amber, green and clear glass are the most commonly recycled forms of glass.  In fact, in many municipalities in the United States colored, painted, frosted & acid-washed glass is not recycled at all. So our blue and white-frosted bottles had to go. 

As for paper, treatments like soft-touch and highlights such as gold foil render the paper non-recyclable! And our spraytop bottles’ ease of use just isn’t worth the excess plastic garbage that makes its way into our oceans. 

We even replaced our plastic shrink-wrap with a bio-plastic version, and you could actually eat our packing peanuts (though you probably wouldn’t want to).

High-end needn’t mean high-impact. We believe we can deliver our all-natural and organic formulas in packaging that minimizes waste to the greatest extent possible, while still looking at home on your nightstand. 

The Packaging Opportunity

In a fledgling industry fraught with ethical and ecological challenges, we’ve chosen to grow slowly and consciously, implementing the most mindful methods possible at each step. From formulating exclusively with organic plant- based ingredients and saying no to all synthetics, to selecting glass bottles over plastic, we’ve always tried to minimize our negative impact on the environment. But this work is never over, and we're still striving to do more.

After two decades of “corporate social responsibility” and “ecological packaging” claims, the natural products industry is still part of a larger system that depends on fossil fuels and endless growth. Many of us believed that we could protect the planet if we supported responsible companies with our individual purchases. Although the conscious consumerism movement has made an impact in so many places, it still feels like a drop in the bucket.

We also believe that all this effort is no substitute for drastically reducing consumption in general. By participating in commercial agriculture – and even selling products at all – we’re contributing to environmental damage by definition. No amount of recycled paper or plant-based ink makes up for the fact that the future of the planet depends on a collective reevaluation of what is truly necessary, and what is not.

But we’re also committed to supporting wellness, and standing by farms and companies that set a good example. It’s a fine line to walk, but we’re doing the best we can – and we think our next generation of packaging reflects that intention. 

We will continue to learn, and do better every day – for people, plants and the planet.

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