Sustain: Taking The Stigma Out Of Condoms And Sex

April 9, 2015
by Annalise Mantz for Thrive Market
Sustain: Taking The Stigma Out Of Condoms And Sex

For many people, birth control is something to be furtively thrown into your shopping cart and hidden in a bedside drawer. Sustain is a brand out to change that convention.

Founder Jeffrey Hollender first came up with the idea for Sustain in the 1990s. With the AIDS crisis and deforestation of Amazonian rainforests dominating the news, Hollender thought he had a solution — "rainforest rubbers."

The concept was actually pretty simple: Condoms that both promote safe sex and prevent sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and support sustainable business practices that are good for workers and for the environment.

Twenty years later, Hollender, the founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation, his wife Sheila Hollender, a long-time women’s health advocate, and their daughter Meika Hollender, a recent MBA-graduate, founded Sustain condoms.

Though a condom company is far from a typical family business, the Hollenders don't view sex as something dirty or taboo. Sustain specifically targets women, and hopes to combat the stereotype of the man always buying the condoms. Their philosophy supports empowering women, and encouraging safe sex as something no one should be ashamed of.

Building on this philosophy, the company has committed to a 10% For Women initiative, where 10 percent of their profits will go towards supporting women's reproductive healthcare. Sustain's partners include Planned Parenthood and the Breast Cancer Fund.

Their slogan — "Do What's Natural" — hints at the sustainable part of their business. Hollender and Meika hope their condoms will encourage people to strike up a larger conversation, about the environment, natural resources, and fair labor laws.

Every Sustain condom meets the company's high standards in this regard. Here are just a few of the ways Sustain condoms are giving back:

- They are fair-trade, vegan and Non-GMO Project Certified.
- Sustain uses rubber from a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) compliant factory.
- Every Sustain condom is free of nitrosamines (a carcinogen).

Choosing Sustain condoms not only supports you and your partner's sexual health, but also supports sustainability, female empowerment, and fair-trade labor. Who knew your sex life could help the planet?

Photo credit: Meika Hollender

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This article is related to: Healthy Choices, Healthy Body

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  • Meria81

    You had me...until you mentioned they support Planned Parenthood. Too bad! :(