California has a history of being at the forefront of environmental movements, with many businesses continuing this tradition today through their sustainable practices. Whether it’s the materials selected to manufacture their products, a reduction in carbon emissions or a “green” ethos in their businesses practices, there’s a diversity of ways they are attracting consumers who are committed to making sustainable choices. So if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint in California, here are six eco-conscious businesses to consider.

Toad & Co. 

Based in Santa Barbara, Toad & Co. is acutely aware of the fashion industry’s impact on our environment (it’s the fourth largest polluter of our Earth’s air and water!) So what’s their solution? Go sustainable or go nude! Aside from using sustainable materials, such as organic cotton and recycled fibers to manufacture their apparel, they also offer reusable packaging with all their shipments in the continental United States. In 2018, they reduced their CO2 emissions by 51 tons and are committed to making clothing that is long-lasting and can be either recycled, renewed or up-cycled when they’re no longer functional. 

Heath Ceramics

Heath Ceramics was founded in California in 1948 and is still designing and manufacturing timeless pieces for the home today. It’s led by a husband and wife team who are focused on reshaping the relationship we have with objects we own in a movement away from a “throw-away society”. They’re continually looking for innovative ways to be more environmentally responsible, including reducing their energy consumption, the reuse and/or recycling of all manufacturing waste, and a commitment to creating a zero-waste-to-landfill business. Rather than pushing towards large-scale operations, they’re intent on keeping things at a grounded, human-scale that celebrates the materials used, the processes involved, and the people and places behind their products. 

The New Wheel

Founded in 2010 by Brett Thurber and Karen Wiener, the New Wheel is re-envisioning the way we get around through the couple’s passion for electric bikes. They specialize in the sale and full service repair of high-quality e-bikes, helping commuters to get around efficiently while reducing their impact on the environment. From city bikes to mountain bikes and a variety of family-friendly options, they’re on a mission to shape the future of transportation for all citizens of the Bay Area. They operate two shops in Bernal Heights and Larkspur Landing where you can test ride their electric-assist options, which will augment your pedal power when climbing even the steepest San Francisco hills.


With one foot in San Francisco, California and the other in New Zealand, Allbirds is a sustainable footwear company that’s on a mission to eliminate its carbon footprint. They manufacture runners from superfine merino wool and castor bean oil, as well as shoes designed with eucalyptus fiber and thongs made using bioplastic foam from sugar cane. Allbirds was founded by the former New Zealand soccer player Tim Brown (who had a background in leather shoe making) and Joey Zwillinger, a biotech engineer and renewable materials expert. By replacing synthetic materials with natural, renewable ones, the company has reduced its average carbon footprint per shoe to 7.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (compared to 12.5 kilograms of CO2e of a standard shoe).

P.F. Candle Co. 

Begun as a one-woman operation in 2008, the P.F. Candle Co. is a handmade fragrance company that has a strong commitment to sustainability and preserving the planet in all aspects of its business model. They produce a stunning range of vegan, cruelty-free and phthalate-free candles that are made with 100% domestically-grown soy wax and housed in amber-colored, recyclable jars. All of the company’s products are developed, manufactured and shipped from their Los Angeles warehouse while their flagship store in Echo Park also stocks a variety of homewares that include plants, blankets and coffee table books.

Sustainable Surf

Surfers are no strangers to the impacts of consumerism on our oceans, with plastic waste having a devastating impact on our coastal environments. Sustainable Surf is a San Clemente-based business that’s using the surf lifestyle culture to guide people towards a greener lifestyle. They address issues such as climate change, ocean plastic pollution and water quality through their education initiatives, as well as establishing several globally-recognized programs that include the ECOBOARD Project and Waste to Waves. Sustainable Surf is pushing surfboard manufacturers to produce boards with a minimal carbon footprint, as well as encouraging coastal dwellers to recycle styrofoam waste so it can be used to create eco-friendlier surfboard blanks. California surf shops involved in their Waste to Waves programs and surfboard manufacturers with the ECOBOARD label can all be found on their website. 


Pippa Strickland, environmental scientist, wrote this piece in cooperation with