By: Sophia Semensky
The rise of Amazon and online shopping has brought many benefits to consumers: fast and easy delivery, access to a wide range of products, and oftentimes, lower prices. However, this trend has also led to the proliferation of cheap, low-quality goods and unsustainable options to crowd out the explosion of durable and eco-friendly alternatives.
Colin Campbell, a UF graduate, has a solution. This year, he launched ALDA, an e-commerce platform that finds, chooses, and sells only sustainable and ethical products. Providing carefully considered choices — of brands, of causes, and of products — the company hopes to stand up for the environment and human dignity.
Colin Campbell, Cofounder of ALDA and a UF Alumnus
ALDA currently carries accessories, reusables, and even biodegradable toothbrushes on their site, showcasing a range of brands that are committed to doing good. ALDA selects each individual brand to meet their standards — a sustainable, ethical product that promotes human and environmental justice.
Campbell is not new to environmental issues or innovation; at UF, he started the Gators for Environmental Community Outreach organization and studied Business Administration with a focus in sustainability. In addition, he was influenced by the professors he met and their passion for environmental change. This unique background is what makes ALDA different — adhering to business principles, but with an omnipresent ethos. Though Campbell faced long hours to just get the project started, ALDA is just beginning, and there are plans to widely expand the scope to a variety of categories and brands.
The brand is driven by passion, and Campbell hopes to provide an example of a sustainable, scalable business, upending the traditional consumption-driven model. Instead, ALDA hopes to be a positive agent of change that balances business, sustainability, and a sense of humor. Sustainability is a wide concept — some of their brands, like the sunglass company Panda, give back to nonprofits, while others use quality-sourced materials for their products. In addition, ALDA aims to cultivate community, using social media and youtube to connect to their customers and share their adventures. At its core, the goal is to solve a problem — while also growing a healthy company and supporting other green businesses.
Changing your shopping habits may not seem like much, but it just might be enough to start to look at the world differently. Instead of continually buying and discarding cheap goods, it is possible to choose long-lasting, quality items — both practical (a sturdy water bottle) and fun (upcycled beer bottles). Perhaps, in the future, sustainability can be a major factor in all aspects of our lives — in our homes, as our energy sources, and, yes, in our online shopping.