Southington native launches sustainable company

By Lisa Capobianco
Staff Wrtier
When Southington native and energy efficiency engineer Jeff Julia noticed that consumers were not buying green products as quickly as they could be marketed, he created his own company to solve the problem.
After years of studying both consumer needs and product liability, Julia launched Soutenir, LC, selling stream-lined, home-use products bundled for on-the-go consumers. The French name Soutenir means “to sustain,” which Julia said reflects the mission of his company, as it provides sustainable products to customers.
“Sustainability for us means it is ongoing,” said Julia, adding that for his company, sustainability refers to the entire life cycle of a product.
Julia, who has refitted colleges and corporations nationwide to improve energy conservation, said the goal of his company is to provide products to customers who are looking to lead more “sustainable” lives. Soutenir LC has partnered with different companies, conducting extensive background research before selling their products on the website, which offers a select variety.
“We do that research—we screen companies,” said Julia, noting that Soutenir examines the sustainability policies of each company and where their products are made, as well as whether they donate to various philanthropies.
Julia said “going green” has become a mainstream term today, noting how companies have placed a “green spin” on a number of products, using terms such as  “all-natural,” “BPA-free” and “eco-friendly.” He said these terms may confuse or mislead consumers.
“Most of those terms mean nothing,” said Julia, adding that just because a product has the label “BPA-free” does not mean that it may not have other harmful chemicals.
From reusable sandwich wraps to bamboo utensils to 90 percent recycled plastic water bottles, Soutenir LC sells “bundles” of products to meet the needs of consumers on a daily basis.
Julia said his company focuses on bundles products around everyday circumstances people face every day, such as using plastic containers when bringing lunch to work.
Julia said that ten percent of profits go toward philanthropy.
“All of that is throwaway,” said Julia.  “We want to reduce waste, reduce recyclables.”
One of the bundles Soutenir sells for working adults is called “The Professional,” which includes reusable products such as bamboo utensils and a plastic water bottle that is 90 percent recycled. There are also bundles geared toward children who bring a lunch to school.
Julia added that his company is currently working on a new bundle to help drivers clean their vehicles in a more sustainable way instead of using paper towels. He said the bundle will combine locally sourced materials with microfiber cloth.
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