There are headlines from 1982: Argentina and Britain go to war over the Falkland Islands, Israel marches into Lebanon, Nicole wins the Eurovision Song Contest with “Ein bisschen Frieden”, Helmut Kohl becomes Chancellor/Head of Government in Germany, the members of the terror organization RAF Mohnhaupt, Schulz and Klar are arrested, short-time work and mass layoffs result in two million unemployed. In the summer of that year, the NATO summit conference in Bonn dominated events in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Do things different.
During this political period, marked by protests, rallies and demonstrations, Kerstin Stromberg and Jürgen Hack laid the foundation stone for their company in 1982. What preceded this is similar to a classic love story: The chemist Jürgen Hack, who works in the oil industry, meets the politically committed student Kerstin Stromberg. He throws his old life overboard and makes a 180-degree turn. Together they run a pub, car repair shop and sheep breeding in a collective in Göttingen. “Autarky”, says Jürgen Hack, “has always been one of our principles, as well as our ambition to do things differently.” In this spirit, in contrast to the “whiter-than-white ideology” propagated by the conventional detergent industry, real ecological alternatives emerge. No surfactants from petroleum but from plants! The sodasan idea was born.
By the way, the name sodasan is composed of two words: on the one hand, “soda” as an ingredient used in many formulations at that time and on the other hand from the word “Sanitas” which stands for health. Scouring powder and dishwashing liquid are the first self-made products under the label sodasan.
The company is relocated to Ammerland near Oldenburg, in the North-West of Lower Saxony. With their idea to oppose the conventional industry with a truly ecological alternative, they are ahead of their time. Ecological washing, rinsing and cleaning has not yet taken up a place in the minds of many consumers.
Demand for green products increases with the change of environmental awareness. 2005 sodasan moves from the farm to a modern factory building in Uplengen, which offers more space for production, warehouse and employees. The company is growing. As the first detergent manufacturer, already in 1996 Sodasan based on the EC organic regulation by ECOCERT certification. It remains a challenge to explain to consumers the difference between conventional and organic detergents.
For this pioneering work that sodasan is doing, Jürgen Hack was awarded the B.A.U.M. Environmental Award in 2015. This is followed in 2018 by the German Sustainability Award (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis) for the company’s forward thinking that provides impetus.
Today sodasan is an employer for 60 people, distributes 70 eco-certified products in 45 countries and is an integral part on the shelves of the organic markets. Inflation, war in Europe and exploding raw material, packaging and energy prices – the players in the organic sector are currently facing new challenges. “We have not experienced this in 40 years”, says managing director Kerstin Stromberg. “But even in these times we must maintain our high sustainability standards,” Stromberg said. “As before, we must protect our environment from ourselves. It used to be mountains of foam in rivers and oceans in the past, now it’s plastic waste. With our plastic-saving bag-in-box packaging, our refillable concentrates and our bottles made from recycled material, we are always looking for the best packaging solution for our products.” This is another reason why the cooperation with the «Ozeankind» association and the support of the seal breeding station in Norddeich is much more than just and affair of the heart. Behind it is the realization that the environmental problem can only be solved together.
Mission “The clean way to clean”.
There are still a lot of people that the organic pioneer sodasan would like to take with them on the mission “The clean way to clean!”. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary, from September on there will be a revival of the 80s spirit in the form of a room fragrance. The anniversary room fragrance is called “1982” in reference to the founding year of sodasan.
“We have captured the spirit of the 80s in the form of a fragrance with a wink of the eye and have thus followed the wish of our employees to bring this anniversary edition to the market,” says Thorsten Godau, who has been supporting the management team at sodasan since the beginning of the year.