The Duffle & Co. team is part of Creative HQ’s incubation programme, working out of our space in Dixon St. Duffle & Co. produces remarkable products that look good and do good too. We caught up with co-founder Danny Pritchard, to find out more about their mission, their values and their commitment to sustainability.
Tell us more about Duffle & Co. How did it all start?
Whilst in India, I came across incredibly talented craftsmen and families, who were competing against sweatshops and fast-fashion factories. Convinced I needed to do something, I called Kai (my co-founder and schoolmate). We put together our savings on bought 100 of their handmade bags. We stored them under my bed, built a website and Duffle&Co. was born.
What are you working on at the moment?
We want every product created to genuinely make the world a better place both socially and environmentally. Now it’s not about avoiding harm or slowing down negative impacts of producing. It’s too late for that. By reversing environmental impacts and actually empowering people, we aim to bring net benefit to the planet. A few actions we are taking to achieve this are; focusing on using the best natural and recycled materials on the market, facilitating environmental restoration projects, removing C02 from the atmosphere, working with large businesses to leverage positive change, educating communities and re-designing our products to be functional and last a lifetime to mitigate waste.
You recently achieved the climate positive accreditation (congrats!). Can you tell us a bit more about what this means and why it’s important for Duffle&Co?
Thanks! This means going a step further than achieving net zero carbon emissions, it’s actually creating an environmental benefit by removing additional C02 from the atmosphere. It’s important to us because we frequently ship products & use high volumes of energy in our production process. We feel we should do more than take responsibility for our own footprint and be part of the solution to our global environmental crisis.
Sustainability is a big focus for Duffle&Co. What advice can you give to companies looking at developing a sustainable practice?
Firstly, I think all companies need to develop positive environmental practices, even if they are profit driven. I believe, in 20 years time good businesses won’t have a negative environmental or social impact, but great businesses will be reversing the impacts – that’s what customers want. Impact equates to profit for future businesses, most millennials (who will soon make up the majority of the workforce and have the most purchasing power) only want to purchase from and work for companies doing good. Businesses that are not sustainable or ethical could struggle to motivate staff and generate demand for their products & services.
The best advice I can give to businesses is that change starts within your organisation – look inside your office; do you have plastic cups at the water cooler? What coffee beans are you using? Are there incentives for the team to be more sustainable? This will take your business out of the greenwashing category and customers will respect your eco-initiatives. Also, it actually motivates staff and will plant the seed for a more innovative, sustainable practices throughout the company.
You are currently part of Creative HQ’s incubation programme. How is this helping you?
Creative HQ’s incubation programme has given us many opportunities which have lead to expanding our business both in NZ & globally. It’s been incredible to have the mentor-ship with external perspective, a creative work environment and being connected with numerous business doing epic things.
Book, podcast or video that has inspired you recently?
The book would be the Patagonia book called ‘Let My People Go Surfing‘ – it’s broadened my perspective in creating sustainable apparel and served as inspiration for Duffle&Co. I also enjoyed a TedTalk; ‘Cows Carbon and Climate‘ by Joel Salatin – it has a very insightful view on the role of healthy soils in agriculture to mitigate global warming.
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