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What are the Anthill Cool Company Awards?
The Cool Company Awards were launched in 2006 as a way for Anthill to acknowledge and celebrate Australian organisations that are doing things differently to bring about positive change. Cool Companies stay one step ahead of the rest. They breed leaders who are rule-makers and rule-breakers. They are trend-setters in attitude and action. Quite simply, they are … cool! More.
Company: TOM Organic
Category: Social Capitalist
Cotton may come across as a soft and fuzzy fabric, yet it’s really, to quote TOM Organic founder Aimee Marks, “the dirtiest crop on our planet.” The presence of bleaches, perfumes, insecticides, and other chemicals all make for a sobering label read — especially for women’s hygiene products.
“If you flip over a pack of any other conventional brand of tampons on an Australian supermarket shelf you will read a long list of ingredients,” says Marks.
TOM’s products, on the other hand, come with a list of reassuring adjectives for those intimate moments each month. Non-toxic. Certified organic. GMO-free. And 100% biodegradable.
Marks started TOM Organic from her bedroom in Hawthorn, Victoria in 2009. Her initial focus, tampon packaging design, had morphed into a full-health campaign to create a more wholesome, purer product inside the packet as well.
Now TOM is challenging traditional brands to come clean (and in more ways than one). This year marked a breakthrough for the company when Woolworth’s became the first big store to stock its products. (TOM additionally sells online through a unique subscription service, giving it another one-up over its peers.)
“By choosing our products,” says Marks, “women can keep chemicals out of the air, water, soil, and their bodies.”
Further, TOM Organic is pursuing its commitment to “good” using a new business model — registered as a benefit, or ‘B’, corporation — meaning, as a condition of its existence, it devotes itself to the greater social good while still operating as a for-profit business. The B corporation label was pioneered in the United States, and now TOM Organic is the third such registered corporation in Australia.
“We do not switch our value system off when we leave our homes in the morning,” says Marks, whose team works out of an office with a garden and a rooftop bee colony — organic all around. “We believe in being the best for the world, not in the world.”
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