Evaluating the Sustainability of everyday purchases is hard! With Lizzie Horvitz of Finch

Mar 23, 2022

Ever get confused or experience research fatigue while shopping for better, more sustainable products? Sifting through all those labels and ingredients, while also considering a product’s packaging and carbon footprint can be a big burden for the average consumer. Lizzie Horvitz shares how her background in sustainability led her to create Finch, a company that helps people make better choices through algorithm-based ratings of various consumer products by decoding their environmental and social impacts for more sustainable shopping.

Show Notes:

Check out Finch – https://choosefinch.com/

Pretty ok (not great) transcript:

we were introduced to Lizzie and Finch from a friend who basically said, this seems right up here, Ali, check it out.
And we instantly fell in love with both. It’s fun to catch companies early in their life that we know are gonna have profound impacts for people. And it has had an immediate packed for us. We’ve used Finch to upgrade the sustainability of our purchases. And really purchase with confidence. And I don’t know, just like gratitude or something.
It just feels good when we see the fi rating and we’re like, all right, we’re changing what we buy here. So L let’s start with your path to your passion for sustainability. Was it instilled as a kid or at your large corporate experience?
[00:02:20] Lizzie of Finch: First of all, thank you so much to both of you for having me on, it’s such a pleasure to, to chat and to share my story.
Uh, I fell in love with sustainability when I was 16. So not quite a kid, but not quite an adult yet. I was able to spend a semester in The Bahamas, my, uh, sophomore of high school. It was fantastic. It sounds like a joke. I promise it was really intense among learning about sustainability. We also woke up at five 30 every morning and, um, trained for marathon.
Um, we’d do these like run swims where we’d have to like. Run on sand and then swim and then run. And it was just in really intense experience, but the school was completely self-sustainable. So it was run on wind solar, you know, we weren’t allowed to shower if it hadn’t rained. And I went in the, um, spring in the dry season.
So, you know, I think we once went like 13 days without showering, which was insane. um, and you know, I think a lot of people think of climate change when they’re first introduced to it as this really stressful, scary. Situation. They look at wildfires and they see, um, you know, uh, terrible things happening.
And the way that I was introduced to it was in this beautiful Bahamian paradise, um, and really saw a way of living that is possible and, and incredible. And so that really set me on a path of, um, just focusing on how we can all live a little more sustainably. I, I. Was in different sectors when I graduated from college, I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to fight for sustainability.
I went into the nonprofit world at first and then realized. And what was your degree? My degree was in environmental history, which was so exciting because I think, you know, It’s hard to know where to move forward. This is such a cheesy thing to say, but it’s hard to know how to move forward. If you don’t understand really strongly what’s happened in the past mm-hmm
And so, you know, what’s helpful for me now is that when people say, you know, we need more government intervention or we need companies to stay to be more regulated, I can look back to what happened in the seventies and eighties and have a really informed. Opinion on, on what might happen in the future, just given what’s happened previously.
And so that was just absolutely fascinating to me. I love thinking about, um, you know, the, the birth of the environmental movement, which, um, you know, partly was silent spring, Rachel Carson, and then I’m from Cleveland originally. And so when the Cuyahoga river caught on fire, or that was a couple of miles from my house, um, and so said environmental history went to go work for the nonprofit world and.
You know, just sort of had a, an awakening that was, I think the, I think these problems are gonna be solved in the private sector and at least the private sector’s gonna have a massive, um, part of, of this change, whether it’s good or bad. And so I wanted to understand that I had absolutely no business background.
Um, I, I think I got a C minus in econ in undergrad. And so that was not enough to, um, To get me to, you know, go work for companies immediately. And so, yeah, I applied to get my MBA with a master’s in environmental management. Um, I went to Yale, which was a fantastic experience, spent three years really focusing on if the largest companies are able to reach their goals of, you know, sustainability, are we able to get under, you know, three 50 parts per in, um, that was sort of what I studied across those three years.
[00:05:43] Mason: really, so climate change was a big part for you.
[00:05:47] Lizzie of Finch: A huge part. I would say climate change is sort of the center of my background. I think I’ve dabbled in several different industries, um, and several different impacts, but it all kind of comes back to climate change in one way or another. And so after graduating, I went to go work for Unilever.
I was on their supply chain team. Um, wild experience. I literally was helping move like. Ben and Jerry’s, and Mar I Mar from like the manufacturing center, all the way to the Walmarts of the world, learned so much about how these big companies operate. Um, and then I was lucky enough to pivot to their sustainability team where I helped integrate the Unilever sustainable living plan into our 38 brands.
Um, and then, sorry, this is such a long story. I feel like I’m talking way too much, but not at all. I you’re
[00:06:33] Mason: running through our questions before we’re even asking them . Oh, no. OK. OK. So no, no, it’s perfect.
[00:06:38] Lizzie of Finch: Well, OK. So, so essentially, while I was at Unilever, something interesting started happening where my friends and family started coming to me with questions because I’m one of the only people in my larger community who has a real formal background in this, you know, questions.
Like I just had a baby, um, what diaper should I be buying? What is this weird ingredient doing in my deodorant, et cetera, et cetera. And I had no idea where to look. I had no answers. Um, and I found that the internet was really tricky to sift through. And so. I started a newsletter, aiming to distill this type of information and long story short, that newsletter became what finishes today.
[00:07:14] Mason: awesome. And that’s pretty hilarious to me that you made a business out of family asking you questions, cuz generally I just cuss at ’em under my breath and give ’em the shortest answer I can.
[00:07:24] Jess: Yeah. And it’s such an interesting perspective. You have what with the background and understanding the history between different environmental movements from the seventies and eighties to help educate yourself or help educate others at this point.
um, absolutely. While you’re at Unilever and helping their portfolio of brands with sustainability, how would you describe their executive commitment to sustainability?
[00:07:44] Lizzie of Finch: Their executive commitment could not have been better. I was there under Paul Pullman who is such a hero. Um, and he is absolutely fantastic, such an inspir and, and he, he really, I mean, as a public company, he went against what a lot of other.
Public facing CEOs do and said, I don’t really care what our shareholders want. This is important for our bottom line. Um, and Unilever was really, I think that first company who was able to make a connection between brands growing faster with, um, with a veil of sustainability. And so I would say from the executive level, it was a fantastic company to be a part of, um, like any company.
With a hundred thousand employees, there are difficulties in the inner workings. Um, and I have nothing but great things to say about Unilever as a company and, and what they’ve been able to accomplish. I think sometimes it’s easy for an employee to get lost if they don’t have a particularly good mentor.
Team set up and that’s exactly what happened to me. I didn’t have champions in my corner to be quite honest. And I tried for three years to like really make it work. Um, but it just, it didn’t pan out for me, which was kind of amazing because I got to this, I think I was, I was young. I was probably 27 or 28 and I was like, I have just reached.
My dream job. Like I I’ve been wanting to work on sustainability at Unilever for at least a decade. And it’s not what it all is cracked up to be. Mm-hmm . And so it sort of forces you to go back. I don’t know if either of you’ve had this experience, but it forces you to really go back and think like, okay, now that that sort of dream didn’t happen.
What are the options here and how do I start from square one, which is actually a really exciting place to
[00:09:29] Jess: Yeah. Yeah. I think having those mentors and advisors or people in your corner, helping you continue to move forward and in your job and at your, in your, through your career is so important too.
[00:09:39] Mason: Yeah. Yeah. And I thinking of that moment, very clear in my mind, where I went over to, I had one company that was successful. I sold it. I moved to Spain to start a chain of restaurants and thought I was gonna be international businessman. And I lost all of my money and lost my girlfriend, contracted a parasite and came back and was like, what happened?
And, uh, and that was kind of the moment where I’m like, okay, well I can start from scratch. What am I gonna do? And for me, it was like anything that I do from here on out. I need to know that every day I’m working to help make the world a better place. And I need to, to do things that do that in a chain of restaurants was not doing that for me.
So, um, that’s how I got into sustainability as well with that kind of moment. Amazing. Were there any projects in Unilever though that you, um, , uh, really enjoyed or feel like, or had a lasting impact that you got to work on?
[00:10:34] Lizzie of Finch: that’s such a good question. And oddly, haven’t thought about that in so long. I think what was really exciting for me were the internal, um, internal projects that were happening within our own offices.
I’m like such a geek when it comes to how we can make our offices and our, our buildings more efficient. And I remember I was in charge of this one project where we were, um, I. We were someone was trying to sell us an, I think it was an anaerobic digester for the like kitchen where all of our food waste would go mm-hmm
And so I did this really cool study. I mean, and Unilever, we’re still an incredible revenue generating company. So it had to, it had to make sense from a financial standpoint. But I remember doing these really cool, um, you know, studies on like, okay, how much trash do we pay to get to dispose every week?
What percentage of that trash has food in it? How can we like how. How long will it take us to get that ROI from paying for this thing, but having the food almost like magically disappear yeah. Um, into the Santa dentist. And then of course the science behind, like, is it okay that it’s going into the sewage system?
What’s like the New Jersey headquarters, um, like municipal laws versus other places we got like really in the weeds. And that was just, that was solo for me. And it had, it gave me a really good insight, honestly, into how long these processes take. I think the entire sales cycle for me was. Oh, my gosh. I think it was at least, uh, like 11 months, if not an entire year where I just kept pressing and making the business case.
Meanwhile, I had this poor guy working for this company being like any updates I’m like, I wish there were, but it’s just gonna take a little bit longer. Um, and then finally, when that came in, it was like, wow, this is an actual, like material thing that able to, um, To accomplish. And then I would say, you know, nothing specific comes to mind, but was what was really fun is just, we have such a diversity of, I say, we like, I still work there.
It’s been like six years they have such a diversity of products in their portfolio that sometimes, you know, a company would come to me and say, we’re thinking about like avocado oil versus coconut oil. Like, what are. What are the differences there? And I would have no idea, you know, that’s not like a specific thing that I studied in graduate school, but I would have the opportunity to like really look it up and, and do that research, um, and help these brands.
And what I think is like a pretty measurable way. So that was really fulfilling. Yeah. So fun.
[00:12:57] Jess: It sounds exciting to be able to move something forward internally, too, that may not be tied to exactly like what your manager is wanting you or needing you to do for the brands that you’re working for. But an internal project can be so fulfilling at one of those companies too completely again,
[00:13:11] Mason: and hopefully the digester is still running.
[00:13:13] Lizzie of Finch: let’s hope I need to check in on that.
[00:13:16] Jess: so let’s move to what Finch does and how you guys do it. Um, can you talk to us about the criteria that you use to evaluate the different products and categories?
[00:13:26] Lizzie of Finch: Sure. So I think backing up for a second Finch’s goal is really to become the nerd wallet for sustainability.
So for anybody that’s that knows nerd wallet, you know, when you Google which credit card should I get, nerd wallet is the first thing that comes up to give you an entire list of. You know, comparisons of credit cards, why they’re good, why they’re bad, et cetera. If you have any questions on personal finance, that is your, your go-to, and there’s really nothing like that, that exists in the sustainability space.
Um, and so that is FIS sort of overarching goal. And the way we’re starting, that is by decoding products, environmental impacts. And so our criteria really covers a huge, um, A huge variety of attributes under the umbrella of sustainability, including, you know, human health, um, uh, social issues along with of course, climate, climate, mitigation, water, all of those things we have identified.
We have this brilliant scientist on staff named mark, and he’s identified around a hundred attributes that go into the, the sustainability of a product. So everything from what’s, the child labor, um, If any, hopefully not. , um, what’s the likelihood that this will she microplastics and everything in between.
So there are a hundred of those. We are very, um, we feel very strongly that we will not incorporate an attribute until we have done significant research on, um, like peer reviewed studies until it, the data’s pretty clear for us. And so we’ve only thus far incorporated probably. 25. Um, so right now, when you see the browser extension, you’re seeing 25 attributes and over time continuously, that’s like one of our three main priorities right now as a company is improving that data set and making it as, as defensible as possible.
Oh, cool. So right now we’re looking at, um, six impact categories. Um, we’re looking at water, climate, human health, eco toxicity, um, natural resource depletion. Ecological footprint. Um, and then of course like a, a veil of social sustainability as well. And in each of those, we have a couple of, um, a couple of attributes.
Um, and then what we do is we weight those attributes based on the product category. And so a category would be body wash, shampoo, detergent. We figure out what’s most important to pay attention to in that specific category. And then we weight them based on what the science is telling us.
[00:15:55] Mason: Very cool.
That’s a cool rubric. How do you choose the categories to dig into
[00:16:01] Lizzie of Finch: we’re choosing the categories in a combination of ways. The first is what do people buy often? And that are not that expensive. So we wanted to start with products that. You know, if worst case scenario, you’re not happy with your purchase, you have to buy toilet paper again in a month probably.
Um, and that was a way to really just like gain trust. We figured if we went out of the gate with like, we can tell you what shoes or t-shirts or jewelry to buy people are like, these are actually really big decisions for me. I don’t buy them all the time. Like, I don’t know you all enough yet for this.
And so. So we’re starting with those. And we have a couple of, um, a couple of outliers, like we do mattresses and sheets and pillows. Um, but that’s because my chief of staff Jane came from the textiles world and has a deep background in that. And so that was like an easy, easy win for us to, to do that research.
Um, but generally it’s. Consumer goods that are not food related. Um, and then we’ll aim to, when we go beyond these 85 categories, we’ll do more, you know, kitchen, appliances furniture, things that you find in your house, electronics, um, and then probably move on to apparel, more luxury items, et cetera.
[00:17:14] Mason: So you’ve identified 85.
How many do you evaluate right now?
[00:17:19] Lizzie of Finch: We attributes or product categories, product categories. We we have rated 85 product categories. Oh, okay. Awesome. Yep. And so you guys, and then, sorry,
[00:17:30] Jess: go ahead. No, go ahead. Um, you guys just launched the Chrome extension for this and so that if correct me if I’m wrong, but that was like the main.
what you were hoping to get out of Finch, correct? Like it started with the blog and then you have wise guys as well and Chrome extension. This was the ideation of the apex.
[00:17:48] Lizzie of Finch: Yes. Thank you. 100%, you know, it’s been so interesting because for the first, I would say year and a half, we were really like a media company.
You know, we were just blogging and writing. That was our main product for so long. Um, the extension is. I would say the first iteration of us becoming a data and technology company, which is the main goal. Mm-hmm we are so excited to see how the extension evolves. I think there are a lot of different directions that, that we could take with it.
One that’s exciting. Exciting to us is, um, integrating into other extensions, like maybe a honey or mm-hmm something else. I don’t know so much about like how the. Um, how the ecosystem changes. Like we, we don’t know if in 10 years people will have, you know, 15 extensions downloaded on their browser. Yeah.
[00:18:38] Jess: I think I have about five right now.
Probably, you know, from you. Yeah. Which like what coupon codes they’re scanning or what website take you to a place to buy it for cheaper or things you wanna pin and now, you know, Finch with how to shot more sustainably. So.
[00:18:52] Mason: I think F I maxed out, I think I had 12 or 14. Wow. That’s live at any given time.
Amazing. And it, but it bogged to the right audience, but it bogged down the browser. So I ended up having to turn a few of ’em off.
[00:19:03] Lizzie of Finch: Exactly. So I think long term, you know, we are really open to a world in which we sell. Uh, we sell our data directly to, to retailers who can integrate on their own platform.
So if you imagine, instead of using the extension on Amazon, you’re able to sort by. Price and also by sustainability and that’s all powered by Finch in the background. Um, and so we’re sort of open to seeing how this evolves.
[00:19:26] Mason: Yeah. Cool. Kind of an aside I noticed on toothpaste, your top rated, most of your top rated toothpaste did not have fluoride.
What’s your take on fluoride?
[00:19:39] Lizzie of Finch: Boo you’re testing me. Mason um, I actually, I don’t have a good answer for you. Okay. I am. No worries. I don’t, I’m not sure about fluoride specifically. I think, um, what we’ve noticed with Toms of Maine and some other good, um, good product, uh, brands is that, you know, the, the less, I guess, Bad chemicals used the better.
We try to stay away from saying things like bad chemicals, but I can’t think of anything else to describe it. and so I think fluoride we’ve just found like the, what I do know is that your teeth can be cleaned and, um, you know, protected from ditis cavities all of those things without the, the need for fluoride.
And so that’s just sort of an add of that isn’t necessary and that’s kind of across the board with our products. Anything additive that’s not completely necessary for the function or the experience. Um, we tend to, to rate a little bit
[00:20:32] Mason: lower. Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve always found it, just a fascinating topic and there’s a surprising lack of data on either side around fluoride.
It, it seems that the original, um, studies around it and specifically, so fluoride and water. I think is, is bad. And I don’t think there’s any reason for fluoride and water, but it seems that fluoride and toothpaste does have benefit. And there is a reduction in, um, dental carries from in when you have fluoride in toothpaste, but it’s such a complex issue because as.
Countries become more advanced and end up with fluoride in their toothpaste. They also end up with a lot more sugar in their food. And so then it, it is hard to tell, like, is it, you know, what is it better or not with the fluoride or not? So, um,
[00:21:20] Lizzie of Finch: like what is that isolated experience? Yeah. Yeah. That’s really interesting.
[00:21:25] Mason: But fluoride and water generally seems like completely unnecessary and it’s usually an industrial. Byproduct waste stream like sodium Hexa chloro fluoride kind of stuff. That’s really toxic that they put in water systems, but since they diluted down enough, they claim it turns into a safe product.
[00:21:46] Jess: mm-hmm well, we don’t have any more, very specific questions like fluoride, a particular ingredient in a particular product. Um, but what are some of the worst categories in home for sustainability right now? Like the companies that are not companies that are doing the most harm, but, uh, Where there’s areas for improvement?
[00:22:05] Lizzie of Finch: Well, something that we’re so excited to dig into, which is, I’ll answer your question in a second, but, you know, while we have all of this research, we will be able to see where the gaps are in the innovations. Right. So we’re able to see like, oh my gosh, there’s no, you know, toothpaste without fluoride, for example, or deter, that’s not liquid, things like that.
Um, and I think eventually what we’re excited about is going to. Startups or investors and saying like, here’s what to look for. Like somebody to innovate on these different areas. And so it’s been really fun to watch and the way that we rate them is on a, um, it is not absolute, it’s all sort of normalized and compared to one another.
And so to your question, Jessica, like I long detergent is pretty toxic. There are a lot of. Harmful ingredients in any type of laundry detergent, it’s not the type of industry where people can readily or like will, or are willing to make it at home, you know, in their bathtub or something like that. And so we, you know, there are a couple of amazing products, like drops.
We love, um, and some others, we love drops too. Pods. They’re the best. I actually just use another one. That’s a laundry sheet that I had never seen before. I had seen dryer sheets, but not detergent sheets. And that worked really beautifully. Yeah. And so. um, but that’s an example of like, no product really is like knocking it out of the park.
There’s not because like, by default you need chemicals to wash your clothes correctly. Um, and so because of that, we also on the counter don’t wanna give users a bad experience. Like it would be kind of a. Not great experience for you, if you’re going on fi and you’re seeing the highest detergent is like a four out of 10, right?
so we have to say like, from what’s on the market, this is the best. And we’ll give that like a 9.7 out of 10, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a 9.7 in detergent is not the same as a 9.7 in like. Toilet paper where you’re having like a bamboo carbon positive toilet paper. Does that make sense? Sense?
[00:24:04] Mason: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. And that seems really, um, wise not to make people feel bad for shopping for laundry detergent and I’d just be like exactly, but we want people to wash their clothes.
[00:24:18] Lizzie of Finch: right. And it’s like progress, not perfection. We want people to wash their clothes, but once further than that is like, people will buy detergent regardless of whether Finch is here or not.
So for us to, to use the language of like, this is bad and you should feel guilty about these purchases, whatever. That’s not a helpful narrative. The narrative is like, we understand that you have needs as a family, an individual, whoever you are. And so we are going to make this experience as seamless for you as possible.
Um, And ensure that you can make these small changes, that will make a big difference, but otherwise it’s not like people are gonna stop buying detergent. It’s just that they’ll buy whatever is cheapest or whatever’s out there and not really think about the sustainability impacts. Yeah.
[00:24:58] Mason: You, you talk about that, right.
Research fatigue.
[00:25:00] Jess: Yeah. And I feel like it’s great that you guys do it for the smaller items that you’re shopping for regularly already, because there’s so many good brands out there, but you don’t really know how to compare ’em against each other. And like, I’ll do my own research and then just get research fatigue.
And I’m like, all right, well they both, they all kind of seem good. So let’s move forward with this one. But so I’m so excited to use fi for those types of products, but then even like the big your purchases, like you mentioned, like clothing or. Jewelry or shoes with that too. I get research fatigue and I end up just not buying something, which is probably the better, the better thing anyways.
um, exactly, but it can be frustrating for sure. So excited that you got excited for where you guys have started and to get into those other products at some point in time.
[00:25:40] Lizzie of Finch: Thank you so much. Yeah. It’s, it’s gonna be fun because people will, will do it’s sort of counterintuitive, right? Because people buy toothpaste and toilet paper all the time, but it’s not something that you tend to do a ton of research on, unless you’re as.
Passionate about this as, as you two are probably, or me, um, on the other hand, like cars, like when you buy a car, you’re doing like months and months of research. And so fi is kind of trying to figure out where we fit in with that research. Like how can we be a meaningful part of that experience, um, while people are doing the work.
And we think about this with new moms all the time, um, you know, we’ve been buying paper towels for our entire lives, but. Unless you’re a new mom. You’ve never bought diapers before. Right? Mm-hmm , you’ve never bought, um, bottles or, or formula or things like that. And so. That’s the type of, that’s a perfect time for us to come in and say, while you’re doing all this research for the very first time, um, here’s where fin can play a role.
And I think that will also happen hopefully with those larger purchases.
[00:26:40] Jess: Mm-hmm . Yeah. I have a friend who, um, recently became pregnant and her and her husband were shopping. And I mentioned to, they asked us like what baby diapers they should buy. And we mentioned, you know, there’s a lot, not that it’s greenwashing by any means, but.
You know, they, you pay more or a premium for like compostable ones, but then if they aren’t a family that actually composts, they still think that they’re making a better decision because it’s green on the packaging. But then if they’re not actually disposing of it the right way, or if you even can dispose all of those composable diapers.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s like, it’s hard because, and they were like, we were just at target and we almost bought those compos hostable diapers. Like so glad we didn’t, because we wouldn’t have disposed of them correctly. Or like maybe they can’t even be disposed of correctly. Yeah. Especially for those can’t new.
New moms and dads that don’t know where to start. This is a great place completely. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:27:28] Mason: And funny, you mentioned, uh, partnering with startups. One of our goals at mostly green life through this podcast was to find new opportunities for businesses that we can launch to help us help people move more towards sustainability.
In fact, we can tease out that we already have a company that we are working on with partners in this, but like the data you’re generating could really help us as well in this regard. So we should, uh, talk about, uh, deeper partnerships sometime.
[00:27:57] Lizzie of Finch: Yeah, that’s terrific. We’re so excited to, um, to kind of dig in on all of this, because you know, behind closed doors, we do have all of those scores where an entire, an entire product category isn’t getting higher than anything.
We also, on the other side, don’t, um, we don’t ever give products a 10 because any physical product is. Doing some harm. Yeah.
[00:28:19] Mason: It’s the, uh, we always quote the Patagonia, the Patagonia quote, the most sustainable business is to not have one. exactly.
[00:28:28] Lizzie of Finch: just stay at home. Don’t buy anything. Right. Right.
[00:28:31] Jess: Um, so three L’s research.
Have there ever been any surprises, like products you didn’t expect to be good that were, or vice versa are products that were bad that you didn’t expect to be bad?
[00:28:42] Lizzie of Finch: I think. Generally I’d have to think a little bit more about specific products. I’m sure there are, but what’s been most interesting is this scientist, mark on staff who is sort of, um, challenging the status quo in a lot of really exciting ways where he is telling.
And probably if I were to take time to really think about this, I would’ve come to a similar conclusion, but he is actually do in this research that shows like, you know, if you buy a. You know, a aluminum water bottle that’s reusable. That’s great. But if you use it twice and it sits in your cupboard, you actually probably should have just bought 10 days worth of bottled water.
Mm-hmm um, right. Or like, you know, we, we love the, um, the. The plastic bag example of, if you have a canvas bag, 100%, that is the best thing to use. If you forget your canvas bag at home or your car, and you’re at the grocery store, it is significantly better to buy a plastic or a PA, sorry, not even buy to just use their plastic or paper bags that one time, rather than buying more canvas.
Because when you think about these different impacts of like, yes, plastic ends up in the ocean, but there’s, you know, with a, with a straw, for example, there’s a one in seven chance that that plastic straw will, will enter the ocean with a metal straw. There’s a 100% chance that carbon was used to make that in the first place.
And so that has been really fun for us to say like, yes, these are good, but only in, in these specific circumstances, if you’re using them correctly, um, it’s just been fun.
[00:30:11] Jess: And you guys have written blog posts about that and I’ve read through them and they’re lengthy and they’re so full of information.
And at the end of it, sometimes they’re like, so we don’t know exactly what the best decision is because there are so many contributing factors to it. And you’re like left in this conundrum. You’re like, wait, so which one do I use? And it’s dependent on the situation like you just
[00:30:29] Lizzie of Finch: described completely in terms of products, what we’ve found to be really interesting, which again is probably.
Well, I don’t know if it’s obvious or not. It’s probably obvious to me in retrospect, but you know, shampoo conditioner, body wash is made up of 60% water. And guess what you have unlimited amounts of when you’re showering is water . So when you think of the carbon intensity to ship. These heavy bottles that are filled with 60% water only to get to your shower where you’re mixing it with even more water mm-hmm , um, makes shampoo bars and, you know, body wash bar, or like, you know, bars of soap really, really appealing when you, when you put it into that context.
[00:31:12] Mason: We were really, I was very skeptical of, we had tried one in poop bar and it didn’t really work and it just like flaked up and then made a, a mess in it. Uh, but recently we are introduced to another one that we actually both love.
[00:31:26] Jess: Yeah. The first one I’ve ever used and liked, which was exciting. And I think they’re an Austin company.
[00:31:32] Lizzie of Finch: I’m so sorry. That’s
[00:31:34] Mason: we’ll wait for it. if they’ve gotta. Something to yell at. I think
[00:31:38] Lizzie of Finch: he’s good. so sorry. So what I’m curious, what brand, um, those were, yes.
[00:31:44] Jess: You know, so it’s called super zero. And so I believe they’re an Austin company and she shipped us some product and it’s set it up like most shampoo bars don’t in my opinion.
And. I feel like typically they leave my hair feeling oily or like it didn’t get all of the gunk out per se. Um, but I loved this one, the shampoo and the conditioner, and then we have the body wash as well, but it was the first one that I’ve used that I’ve actually enjoyed. And I think I’ve probably tried.
I mean, I wouldn’t say I’ve tried 20 by any means, but a handful enough to have given up on it. And so she sent the product and I love it.
[00:32:14] Mason: And it doesn’t make a mess in the shower either.
[00:32:16] Jess: Great. That’s
[00:32:17] Lizzie of Finch: true. super zero. That’s so good to hear, you know, one of the most fun parts of growing this company is that like the fluoride example, I’m not always seeing every single detail of what’s going on.
Mm-hmm and we just posted, I, I didn’t see this before it went out, but we just posted an Instagram on how to make the most of shampoo bars. Oh. And I’m watching it and I’m like, this is amazing and helpful. Um, like one of the things that I always do is I like try to. Rub the bar between my hands and then I put it in my hair.
Mm-hmm and this video I’m I can’t wait to try it. This video is like, that’s not the best use. What you should do is really just like put the bar directly on your hair. Um, it gives it like much better, I don’t know, surface area or something to, to cover your head. And so check out, check out those tips, but it’s like, It’s always helpful for him to see how we can, how we can improve it.
[00:33:04] Mason: Have you seen any products really degrade or dramatically improve in the time that y’all have been monitoring
[00:33:14] Lizzie of Finch: any products dramatically improving? Um, I don’t, I don’t think in the amount of time that we have been monitoring, but you know, I keep bringing up. Well, first of all, I do think, I think toilet paper has made a real like improvement.
I think back to, you know, the first I’m such a huge fan of seventh generation, but like those first few examples of seventh gen, like from 10 years ago, they were awful. And like, nobody wanted to use those. Um, we just bought and that’s example, we always use of like, yeah, exactly. Um, and now. We just bought some from this bamboo company that I can’t remember the name of.
And it’s like taboo, a fantastic experience. Mm-hmm , it’s not taboo, but that is one of that. That’s one of our top picks. Yeah. Um, and they seem great too, but it’s like, they’ve figured out the textures. Um, I think the innovations that I find most exciting or when you don’t feel like you’re compromising anyway, right.
Mm-hmm and that’s what Finch is all about is like, you can make these right decision, these better decisions, not right or wrong, but better and not. Have to like pat yourself on the back every day that you’re doing something for the environment, but like the experience isn’t that great. Yeah. Um, like those simple swaps are, I think, where the excitement is.
And that’s how I feel about, you know, the laundry detergent space with drops. Like there’s literally nothing it’s, it’s better to use those pods because it’s cleaner. I mean, it’s like, um, It’s like less messy, right. When you’re actually doing laundry, you just like throw it in. Um, and so those are the innovations that I just love experiencing.
[00:34:45] Mason: Yeah. Yeah. Agreed. I’m, you know, excited as y’all grow to knowing that y’all will be able to measure this impact and the number of people that are making better choices and a little bit jealous, cuz you can, uh, measure it so easily and compared to. You know, he’s saying it started out as a media company.
It’s a lot harder to measure that, uh, compared to products that people are buying, what are your goals? Do you have any goals for impact or what’s your vision for the future?
[00:35:16] Lizzie of Finch: Yes. I think that, you know, the, the ultimate impact for us will be when we can go to brands and we can say, Hey, tide, you just lost 20% of your buyers because they.
Found through Finch that drops was a better product than tide. Here’s how you can bring your score from a six to a nine. Right? And so that’s the impact level that we’re working at, which is we have hard numbers for the business case of why you’re losing market share, because you’re not as good as you could be.
And meanwhile, on the flip side, these companies that are doing good can continue to do the great, what they’re doing, knowing that it’s actually making a difference because it’s still for. Any company is really tough to make that business case. And so on that overarching level, I’m super excited to, to have those hard numbers, to show what people are willing to switch on, how much more they’re willing to pay for products, if anything, all of those sort of granular details.
Um, and then on the consumer level, I think we can take our six impact and say like, you know, over the past month, uh, we say we avoided. 20,000 tons of Virgin plastic, or X amount of gallons of water, um, from being wasted and, and et cetera. So I don’t have hard numbers on sort of what that looks like, and I don’t have goals for that yet.
I think it will depend so much on like our user base. Um, but I think to be able to manipulate those numbers is gonna be really interesting. I mean, we’ll be to say like men save, you know, Twice as much water as women do on average or people that live in Austin do better than people that live in Maine.
Right. So we can have a lot of fun with, um, sort of demographics and, and. Make it a little competitive, hopefully too. I think the gamification aspect, like you two could, um, technically like compete against who’s saving more
[00:37:06] Mason: after a certain point, which is cool. Wow. Well, Jess is really
[00:37:10] Jess: competi competitive.
Oh, we, oh, you, I was saying we are, you’re saying I am but yeah, we’re definitely competitive here, but I guess it’s me.
[00:37:19] Mason: It’s I a competitive streak too.
[00:37:22] Lizzie of Finch: I feel like all you need is one competitive person. And then, and then like the other person is forced to be competitive. Like be true. No choice. That’s true.
[00:37:29] Jess: So would you guys evolve into like a consultancy firm to help brands, you know, make those changes? I know you have a background in that, but I mean, I guess that’s like so far in the future, potentially.
[00:37:39] Lizzie of Finch: Yeah. I think ideally, you know, we are coming in at an interesting point where we will never do. I don’t, I never say never.
I don’t think we will ever get to point where we’re doing like life cycle analyses for people. Um, and I, because I think what we found is the. Difficulty in, it’s just like it’s time consuming and it’s expensive. And you have to like, literally be on the factory floor to see how this work is being done, which fi certainly doesn’t claim to do right now.
And I don’t know if we’ll ever claim to do that, but I think we’ve, we can hit a sweet spot that we’re kind of finding in real time. That is good enough, um, and cheaper. And so I think, you know, the highest level of consultancy will, could be just. Here’s the factors that make the biggest difference and here’s how you can heighten your score, which would be, we could easily do for everybody.
And then going much deeper would be okay, let’s work together and figure out, you know, you’re building this brand new product, how to make it good in the first place. That is something that’s really exciting to me. I’ve got questions before, around like, will you ever make your own products because you know what goes into them?
That’s not interesting to me or exciting. I think that there are a lot of. Fantastic companies out there, probably a little too many that if we can focus our energy on helping those guys as opposed to doing our own thing and just adding to the mix, um, that’s where I see our impact really happening.
[00:39:05] Mason: Very cool.
And aside from downloading or installing the extension, what can our listeners do to help Finch?
[00:39:14] Lizzie of Finch: Dell, the extension is definitely the most important, I would say. Secondly, it’s just making sure you’re subscribed to a newsletter and telling all your friends about it, spreading the word. Um, and then finally, you know, the value of having these conversations and where we are in, in real time is that I still check our hey@choosefi.com emails, where we get people coming in with questions on a daily basis.
So if listeners have specific questions, um, I hope this will last as long as possible, but for definitely right now, like I’m answering those and I’m asking our scientists on staff, how to, how to best answer. And so you’re getting that like real personal connection with us, which I, I would love for more people to take advantage of.
[00:39:59] Mason: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being on the show was really great information and we’re excited to continue to integrate fi into our purchases.
[00:40:10] Lizzie of Finch: Thank you so much. Mason and Jess, this is so great.


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