I interviewed Mark Abrials, Co-Founder and CMO of Avocado, one of the best-known manufacturers of verifiably healthy and sustainable mattresses and a brand that I've long admired and use in my own home. A few nuggets from our chat that are worth a double or triple underline (for you TL;DR folks):
- Making healthy + sustainable products is often harder, but well worth it.
- Reputable third-party certifications help combat greenwashing.
Read on for the full interview.
What have been some of the highlights and challenges around sourcing materials and establishing manufacturing processes consistent with Avocado’s values?
When it comes to our materials, we raise the bar. We raise our own sheep responsibly to organic standards. We clean and process our wool naturally. We own our rubber tree farms and make our own latex foam cores. We handcraft each mattress in Los Angeles, in a GOTS certified factory that we own. And we obsessively test and redundantly certify everything in our brand name for trust and transparency — from our farms all the way to the finished mattresses — to be natural, organic, safe, responsible, sustainable. Of course, the materials we use are just as important as the materials we don't use. Unlike traditional mattresses, we don’t use polyurethane foams, off-gassing adhesives, or toxic flame retardants.
Doing things this way is more challenging, but this radically honest and vertically-integrated approach enables Avocado to deliver the best natural latex mattresses and bedding at remarkably affordable pricing.
In your view, what does the future of the furniture and mattress industry look like? Do you expect to see more and more brands prioritizing sustainability and health, and reducing consumer exposure to chemicals of concern?
Companies know that “being green” is good for business. In fact, about two-thirds of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products. The result is the ever-increasing ubiquity of greenwashing — the claim that a company is “green” or “sustainable” when the reality proves they are anything but.
At Avocado, we let our third-party certifications do the talking. No other company is as committed as we are to independently verifying our positive impact. We back up every claim and establish transparency and trust — ensuring every step of Avocado manufacturing meets the highest standards for social and environmental responsibility.
What’s next for Avocado?
At its core, Avocado Green Brands is a platform to advocate for social and environmental responsibility. We raised the bar for sustainability in the mattress and bedding industry. Now, we’re doing the same with apparel and skincare through our new brands Hass and Reed + Gwen. Over the next five years, we want to continue to raise that bar.
If you could encapsulate the Avocado journey over the past six years in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Better for you, better for the planet.