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Economy

PANGAIA: Extending Hands Across All Continents

Image provided by Lucas George Wendt

Imagine a fashion brand with a direct-to-consumer online store consistently launching products and collections, and a materials science company making ever-forward progress in eco-friendly technologies and materials. Well, no need to imagine, because PANGAIA is all-hands-on-deck in bringing together this unique hybrid business model. Over the past several years, the company has grown to become “a global collective of scientists, designers, thinkers and creators from all backgrounds and walks of life,” all sharing a mission: to make their impact visible, to work towards a better future, and to ultimately become Earth Positive – or net positive across all resources used. 

As Chief Marketing Officer Maria Srivastava and Chief Innovation Officer Amanda J. Parkes told L’Officiel, “the name ‘Pangaea’ is derived from Ancient Greek pan (all, entire, whole) and Gaia (Mother Earth, land). Pangaea was the last supercontinent to have existed. . . We used this name to insist on this strong relation to nature and Mother Earth, and it translates to everything in our brand, from the colors to the materials we use.”  

Launched in 2018 with headquarters split between New York and London (plus a lab in Florence), the young start-up takes dedication to sustainability to the next level with their own team of scientists innovating in-house. One scientist, Enrico Cozzoni, explained to Forbes that “we have found [ourselves] to be completely aligned with the value system of PANGAIA as a company, and with the vision to be [high] performing, but also ecologically respectful of the ecosystem around us, so we have joined forces.” 

All the innovative materials developed by PANGAIA strike a balance between “sustainability, functionality, and purpose.” The company has been cutting edge in its use of fibers. Their FLWRDWN™ down-fill material, used in “lite” jackets and vests, is a plant-based alternative to animal feathers and synthetic downs produced using fossil fuels. It’s filled with substances like compostable corn biopolymer and wildflowers, the seeds of which are re-sown. And their C-FIBER™ technology is used to create a biodegradable, water and energy-efficient fabric used in t-shirts, pajamas, and dresses.

Another alternative is PANGAIA’s organic cotton made from a variety of inedible crops. Recognizing that even organic cotton can be wasteful, the company also uses recycled cotton, avoiding landfill contribution and saving 20,000 liters of water per kilogram. Plus, PANGAIA aims to reduce industry dependency on virgin animal fibers with their recycled cashmere that is composed of 70 percent post-consumer material and Global Recycled Standard certified. 

Image provided by David Köhler

PANGAIA is devoted to several important causes, with biodiversity standing out. A portion of every PANGAIA purchase goes to the Tomorrow Tree Fund, They also support the Bee the Change Fund, And they’ve released a range of Mother Earth collections – the Ocean, Coral Reef, Desert, Forest, and Arctic collections, plus the Mother Earth capsule – with some of the product profits designated to planting trees while the others benefit specific organizations.

Image provided by Heather McKean

PANGAIA pays a lot of attention to ocean health. Before the launch of the Tomorrow Tree Fund, every product sold corresponded to a mangrove tree planted in a collaboration with SeaTrees, resulting in more than 400,000 planted between January and October 2020. Also notable is the TIPA® packaging that is 20 percent bio-based and 100 percent compostable; like an orange peel, it will protect your product and then fully decompose in 24 weeks. In 2020, PANGAIA used this packaging to replace 1.5 million conventional plastic bags and save 39.2 tonnes of plastic, diverting it from the oceans. 

Between Basrur Backwaters, Mangrove Forest. Image provided by Vishwasa Navada K. 

Finally, the company is quick to invest in human potential. With a team that is 76 percent female, representing 35 countries and 19 languages, their talent comes from around the world. And PANGAIA is dedicated to making sure all members feel included. There is monthly training on diversity, equity, and inclusion, with topics including ‘Women in Science’ and ‘How to be a better Trans Ally.’ Racial equity is particularly important and they took the Juneteenth Pledge to recognize the date as a paid holiday for their team. In 2020, PANGAIA donated more than $100,000 to causes like Black Lives Matter and Doctors Without Borders. While creating product launches aimed to help specific communities including July’s #TOGETHERFUND x WJSFF (Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation) campaign which supports organizations working for racial justice or fighting the pandemic; October’s PANGAIA x COSTA BRAZIL line which donates all proceeds to Amazon Forever to help rural indigenous tribes hit hard by Covid; and March’s International Women’s Day collection which donates half of the proceeds to Choose Love to help refugees and displaced people. 

Everything PANGAIA does, it does with love for the world. Stay tuned for their inevitable branch into categories like accessories and furniture, where their compassion, creativity, and foresight are welcome as new entrants into these industries. 

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