Neuterra enables consumers to make data-driven purchasing decisions and helps brands gain valuable insights on sustainability trends, with the goal of revealing the true cost of consumption and taking an intersectional approach to addressing the climate crisis.
No one would buy a product with a label reading "Made with Forced Labor" or "Waste from This Product Contaminates Town's Main Water Source.” And yet, many products purchased today have egregious human and environmental costs hidden along their supply chains. A new, ethical e-commerce platform is on a mission to bring transparency to consumer goods products.
Neuterra decodes the societal and environmental impacts of global supply chains and shares those insights with consumers. The platform enables consumers to make data-driven purchasing decisions and helps brands gain valuable consumer insights on sustainability trends, all with the goal of revealing the true cost of consumption and making transparency the norm.
The company scrutinizes its vetted brands’ supply chains through a proprietary life cycle analysis (LCA), which assesses social and environmental impacts across five key production pillars:
1. Material extraction
3. Packaging and transportation
4. Consumer use
5. End of life
Neuterra integrates the tried-and-true aspects of e-commerce with a new paradigm of ethical consumption. It will feature curated brands with high supply chain visibility. Easily digestible infographics illustrate the true cost of consumption, and artificial intelligence empowers consumers to shop their personalized values (working conditions, BIPOC representation, gender equality, etc). When viewing an item, the product’s supply chain story will be displayed to give shoppers a full view of who created it and how.
“We want to re-imagine consumption on a planet that has finite resources, and we want to choose to imagine a climate-safe future that is equitable, habitable, and in which everyone can thrive,” said Neuterra founder Fatimah Walee told Sustainable Brands™.
Sixty percent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from consumer products’ supply chains. Neuterra is starting in fashion, which alone contributes to 10 percent of global GHG emissions. The organization will compare its brands’ holistic supply chain outlook to a fast-fashion baseline; as the platform evolves, it will add other consumer goods categories.
Neuterra seeks to enact systems change through consumer education and transparency incentivization. Unlike other “education” platforms that shift the burden of action on consumers, Neuterra will work to connect brands that are actively seeking supply chain transparency to consumers that want to support them, fostering a culture of corporate accountability.
“We want to take the burden of combating greenwashing from consumers and put that back on businesses and brands, because they’re the ones responsible for their own carbon emissions and how they treat their workers,” Walee said.
In Walee’s opinion, current mass production models are incongruous with holistic sustainability. Neuterra and its partners are imagining a new paradigm of small batch production, thereby reducing excess emissions and waste associated with mass production.
“You can’t have a company built on exploiting natural resources and then claim that you’re sustainable at one stage in your supply chain,” Walee said. “It just doesn’t work that way. We’re taking a holistic approach — looking not just at brands’ in-house operations, but their entire supply chains.”
Caste discrimination + racism = climate crisis
According to Walee, capitalism is the benefactor of institutionalized racism — where exploitation and colonization were not only considered moral, but a necessity for advancing civilization. Externalities were swept under the rug of the margins; and the climate crisis has now emerged from the margins with a vengeance.
“The quicker folks realize the reason we’re facing the current climate crisis is because of racism and caste discrimination, the quicker we can actually do something about it,” Walee said.
As a Black-owned, Muslim-owned, woman-owned business, Neuterra recognizes the relationship between harm to people and harm to the planet. It’s Walee’s belief that justice for one can’t be realized without seeking justice for both simultaneously.
“There’s a correlation between how a company’s workers are treated and the company’s environmental impact,” she said. “Companies have to extract themselves from these abusive partnerships in their supply chains, and they have to do it when they identify them.”
This is where Neuterra comes in: It empowers companies to audit supply chains, identify forced labor risks, and take immediate action once injustice is exposed — then, relay that information to consumers.
Hidden externalities keep people from developing knowledge and connection with a company or product; transparency fosters empathy and connection to the people and planet that produce our goods, Walee said.
Dismantling oppressive consumption
For Walee, intersectional environmentalism is everything: Social justice is part-and-parcel with decarbonization; because as long as there are people and places at the margins, society will dump planet- and people-killing externalities there.
Environmentalists won’t hesitate to connect the disappearance of endangered species with climate change; but they usually fail to recognize the correlation between a warming planet and what author Leah Thomas calls “endangered humans.”
“We need everyone on board to address this issue,” Walee said. “And a lot of the solutions currently exist; they don’t require new technologies. They just require us to listen to folks that don’t necessarily have the spotlight.”
Neuterra isn’t in it to remake the wheel, but to bring together siloed actors with big solutions. Neuterra has a “both/and” approach, utilizing in-house solutions and partner assets to create bespoke transparency frameworks for each individual brand partner.
In addition to strategic partnerships, Neuterra utilizes tech solutions such as radio frequency ID and blockchain to help companies digitize supply chain assets in a permanent digital record from sourcing to delivery, wrapping it all up in an easily digested interface to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.
“The number one thing for us to do is showcase all of our findings to consumers, because we need brands that are bold and smart enough to see the end goal,” Walee said.
She sees Neuterra as a part of a foundation for a new economy — one centered on radical transparency, egalitarianism and addressing the climate crisis with an intersectional lens.
“We’re in a battle of imaginations,” Walee said. “Whose imaginations do we want to live in the future?”
Neuterra is raising capital to help five onboarded businesses bring transparency to their supply chains and scale the Neuterra platform for full public launch in 2023.