ask saskia: ingredient screening

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Q. your website says that you evaluate every ingredient that goes into your products—what does that mean?  

A. i love to cook. right now i am up to my ears in the bounty of summer—rosy red tomatoes, crisp peppers and perfectly juicy peaches. yum. i love to experiment with new foods and new recipes, but i would never put any ingredient into any dish without knowing what it is, where it comes from and if it’s healthy.

method’s greenskeepers (sustainability guardians) and green chefs (in-house chemists) have the same approach to making soap.

the thing is, soap is simple. a cleaning agent—we call them solvents and surfactants—works to pull away oily and sticky stains, allowing them to mix with water and wash away.

but making soap is actually quite complicated—especially if you’re a company trying to do the right thing. the more we learn, the deeper we can go, and the more ways we can improve. method’s greenskeepers look at the full life of a product including the environmental, community and health-related impacts. in our pursuit of ingredients that have the best social and environmental footprint, we ask our suppliers where our ingredients come from and how they are made.

and to finally answer your question, we work with a third-party to evaluate every ingredient, ensuring that we only use ingredients that work for people and the planet. the independent research institute McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) assesses every ingredient before it is considered for any formula. MBDC considers over a dozen environmental and health characteristics, for example:


short term: non-toxic; non-irritating for eyes, skin and the respiratory system

long term: not carcinogenic, not endocrine disrupting, not a reproductive toxin, not a developmental toxin


biodegradable, not bioaccumulative, low aquatic toxicity

greenskeepers work very closely with our green chefs, and if an ingredient has an environmental or health concern, we won’t use it. we also use the assessments from MBDC to work with our suppliers to help them develop safer ingredients. these assessments help us screen out dirty ingredients. you might say that it’s one way of keeping the rotten apples out of our pies.


saskia is our resident greenskeeping manager, though we like to call her “captain planet.” got a green question for saskia? email it to questions will be chosen at random and answers will be posted on our blog. 

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