Belgium-Based Ecover Acquires Method to Create Largest Green Cleaning Company

Belgium-based company Ecover, manufacturer of ecologically sound home cleaning products, has recently acquired San Francisco-based cleaning product company Method. This tie-up has created the world’s largest green cleaning company with a collective sales of more than $US200m (£126m) and 300 staff. 

According to GreenBiz.com, Method’s co-founder Adam Lowry has been quoted as saying that the deal, “feels more like a merger” as each brand will retain its own separate identity as well as R&D teams. Both companies will work together on innovation to draw new customers into the green cleaning and personal care market.

According to Lowry, who founded Method twelve years ago in his garage with Eric Ryan, “The partnership gives us greater scale and resources and a global platform for our supply chain and research and development.”

The product range of both companies combined will ensure a global reach for both brands. It also means that Ecover has a strategic position in the U.S. market and Method has a European partner. Ecover was founded in 1979 and has 35 different products currently retailed across 40 countries.

According to Ecover chief executive Philip Malmberg, this arrangement, “will not only create the world’s most dynamic and visionary green cleaning company but also establish a great platform for growth for both brands. By leveraging each other’s strengths, this partnership will support the elevation of the green cleaning category as a whole.”

Both companies will have access to new geographic markets. In addition to this, they also have the potential to manufacture products closer to where they’ll be sold. They also have the opportunity to share know-how like Method’s developments in green solvents and Ecover’s biosynthetic surfactants.

Both companies are also strong in their areas of operation. Ecover naturally has a bigger presence in Europe and Method has a stronger presence in the States. In Asia, Method is doing well in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan – and Ecover is experiencing strong performance in Japan and Korea. Therefore, together they are able to have a bigger, stronger global presence.

Method will start to manufacture products for the EU market in Ecover factories located in France and Belgium. However, it is still unclear whether Ecover will start to use Method’s facilities in the States. Both companies however have similar concepts when it comes to manufacturing – Method has focused on reducing its carbon footprint in its product distribution as well as installing solar panels and eschewing the use of water in some of its facilities. Ecover on the other hand, designs its own factories in order to lower its environmental impact.

In spite of all the changes that are sure to come, Lowry has emphasized that the deal will not change the way Method operates. Lowry will retain his role working on product sustainability and co-founder Ryan will remain the brand’s chief architect.

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net