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Sarah,
Auckland

THE REPORT IS GREAT BUT WHY ARE YOU MADE IN CHINA INSTEAD OF IN NEW ZEALAND?"

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Erin,
Christchurch

WHY DOES ICEBREAKER USE SOME SYNTHETICS?"

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Bianca,
Sydney

I’VE SEEN THAT YOU WORK IN BANGLADESH – A COUNTRY WITH A POOR TRACK RECORD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. WHY DOES ICEBREAKER WORK IN BANGLADESH?"

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Joost,
Amsterdam

I LOVE ICEBREAKER AND KNOW YOU LOVE NATURE, BUT WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY DOING TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT?"

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Dominic,
Hong Kong

HOW DO YOU PROTECT WORKER’S RIGHTS?"

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Joe,
UK

HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE INDUSTRY?"

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Matt,
London

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SHEEP?"

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Tom,
LA

WHAT DOES ENTREPRENEURSHIP MEAN TO YOU?"

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Sarah, Auckland

THE REPORT IS GREAT BUT WHY ARE YOU MADE IN CHINA INSTEAD OF IN NEW ZEALAND?"

Jeremy Moon, Founder

"The report is great but why are you made in China instead of in New Zealand?" Well, we used to be made in New Zealand right at the beginning, but because we’re a global brand the manufacturing here is really, really small. We’re not actually like a clothing manufacturing company; we’re really, really good at growing the fibre. So, I went on a quest in 2002 and I was trying to find the best place to manufacture. We were looking for the cleanest technology and the most innovative partners. I went all around the world. I went through North America, through different parts of Europe and different parts of Asia; and, actually the best technology was all based in China. So, when I think about our supply chain, it's like, there’s a French company based in china, there’s a German company based in China, there’s a Japanese/Chinese joint venture based in China. It's more like a United Nations. And, what I learnt is, it's not actually where things are made, it's how they’re made. So, our partners are really long term trusted partners. All the incredible technology we’ve unveiled, or there’s new uses of merino, has come directly from that decision. So, I’m really proud of it; I really stand by it and it was a tough call.

Erin, Christchurch

WHY DOES ICEBREAKER USE SOME SYNTHETICS?"

Jeremy Moon, Founder

"Why does Icebreaker use some synthetics?" Yeah, a bit of a trade-off right? Because we’re all about natural performance, yet some of our fabrics, like our underwear, for example, has a little bit of lycra in it. So, what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to… I think of synthetics only as a structural element, like a skeleton; and we only use them to try and bring out the natural performance properties of the merino. So, for example, this tee-shirt has a very, very fine filament of nylon that we wrap the merino around. That means I’m getting all the benefit against my skin, against my body of the merino, but the reason we wrap it around is because it's now about three times stronger than the version without it. So, it's kind of like a trade-off right? It's less pure, but it's going to last two or three times as long. So, we just kind of go through our garments and we think, “Right, can we make this better, by adding a little bit of synthetic, and then some outer wear in some of our lighter weight fabrics?" That’s the case, and if that what it takes to make the best fabrics we’re okay with that.

Joost, Amsterdam

I LOVE ICEBREAKER AND KNOW YOU LOVE NATURE, BUT WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY DOING TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT?"

Jeremy Moon, Founder

Our approach here is a bit different to the rest of the outdoor industry. So, typically, the kind of traditional way is you use synthetics, you’ve got a synthetic layering system, and then you use the profits from that to donate back to environmental causes. So, our thinking is totally different; it's more like, how can we minimise environmental impact in the first place. Plastic is everywhere, right? There’s so much, and now we’re reading about the impact when washing synthetics, in terms of how all those microfibers are getting into the waterways and ultimately into the animals that live in the sea. So, starting right with the question of how do we have less synthetics in our life, is a really, really good way to start thinking about reducing our environmental impact. So, it's not just clothing; you know, like our philosophy is really about nature has got all these answers and how do we understand that; and, then turn those into solutions from nature. So, we’re not trying to just make natural products here; we’re trying to impact the lives of our customers, we’re trying to have a positive environmental impact on the whole industry to demonstrate that there are nature based solutions, to reduce our reliance on petrol chemicals, and ultimately the impact, that we’re only really understanding now, of those petrol chemicals; not only on our body, but on waterways and on the environment. So, it's a more holistic approach. You know, we support different courses and we sponsor a lot of people, but it's more root cause thinking about trying to have an impact on people and their environment.

Joe, UK

HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE INDUSTRY?"

Jeremy Moon, Founder

It's a great question. So, let's think about how the traditional outdoor industry works. They buy synthetic fabrics, they make a synthetic layering system, and then from the profits of selling that they then can donate to environmental causes. But, you know, this is just perpetrating more and more synthetics and more and more plastics into the world. Our mission is to think about this completely differently, right? Why do we need all of this plastic around us? It's because there aren’t enough alternatives. So, we’re totally passionate about creating a natural alternative to synthetics; about learning from nature. So, when we start with our merino fibre, we’re building long-term contracts, up to ten years, to secure on-farm environmental sustainability and profitability with our growers; and then taking steps all the way through is having a massive environmental impact on the clarity of the impact in our supply chain. Then ultimately, having a product that over 85 percent of the fibres that we use is pure merino wool; so having this as the finished product, as a consequence we’re having less impact on waterways. There’s so much evidence now, that every time synthetics are washed there’s the microfibers which are coming off into the waterways, into the sea and impacting sea life. So, for us to have a really positive environmental impact, we need success and momentum around getting traction around this idea of natural alternatives to synthetics. And, it's not just about clothing, it's about the furniture that we have and the materials that we bring into our life. And, that’s what we’re passionate about; asking people to think differently and to behave differently, so then collectively we are all having a major impact on the environment positively.

Matt, London

Do you have a favourite sheep?"

Jeremy Moon, Founder

Yeah, there’s a sheep I’m very fond of in Mt Nicholas Station called Bevan who’s 11. Often he’ll come running up to me and I’ll have a special meal prepared. He can speak six languages, which is very unusual for a sheep; you know, one or two at the max. So, I always think of Bevan when I think, about questions like that.

Tom, LA

WHAT DOES ENTREPRENEURSHIP MEAN TO YOU?"

Jeremy Moon, Founder

When I think about entrepreneurship; for a start it took me three years to work out how to say the word, right? I’d never heard of it. And, for me, starting Icebreaker was more about learning to trust my instincts; trust my intuition, follow my dreams, and also kind of counter that dream state and that vision of what’s possible, with a really big learning quest. Who can I learn from? I’m not from a textile background. I did a degree in cultural anthropology; I was working as a researcher. But, by finding people that could help, that kind of taught me that when you’ve got a strong idea of something that you believe in you can really achieve anything; and there’s so many people around us that want to help. So, if you do have an idea write it down, nurture it and then ask for help and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Bianca, Sydney

I’VE SEEN THAT YOU WORK IN BANGLADESH – A COUNTRY WITH A POOR TRACK RECORD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. WHY DOES ICEBREAKER WORK IN BANGLADESH?"

Greg Smith, CEO

We believe working in Bangladesh is part of a positive change; to not exclude countries that maybe have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, but to actually do our own research and our insights to make sure that we’re giving each nation a chance; and, especially the ones that are making really positive moves with their factories and their employees and the way in which they treat people.

We work with a company called Youngone, who we have operated with for many years. They operated out of Bangladesh. Our decision to operate out of Bangladesh was based on a visit by our Chairman, Rob Fyfe, who wanted to personally be convinced that we should be working with this factory in this particular country; because we’re all aware of the track record that Bangladesh has had, and some of the issues that that country had have been truly outrageous. And, so it's at the heart of our business to ensure that we’re working with companies and factories that meet our high standards, and not just a standard within a certain country. Those types of standards, and what Rob encountered when he got there, was free healthcare, an air ambulance, free onsite child care, free lunches, a standardised working week which was around eight hours per day; so, it ticked the boxes from our perspective, but it's only once a member of our leadership team has visited these countries, and in particular the factories that we work with, that we will decide to work with those particular brands.

Dominic, Hong Kong

HOW DO YOU PROTECT WORKER’S RIGHT?"

Greg Smith, CEO

When it comes to human rights and working with factories in particular, we have a human rights policy which is part of our on-boarding process, and what that means is we vet all of the factories that we work with based on the UN Declaration of international human rights. And, I think it's important to understand that when we’re entering into a relationship, as part of that on-boarding process, what we’re looking for is a narrow and deep partnership and relationship for a long term. So, many of our factories we’ve worked with for over a decade and we continue to work with those businesses because they provide the best conditions for everyone in the factories.

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