Martin studied renewable energy engineering (designing wind turbines / solar panels etc) at university in Falmouth in Cornwall, Rob was studying business at Plymouth university and Rob spent a lot of time going to see Martin at university and going surfing together, it was during one of such long car journeys to the beach Martin told Rob about the things that he was learning – we can imagine that the first year of a course on renewable energy engineering would encompass learning about the basics of climate change and environmental impact. Martin passed on a lot about Peak Oil, Malthusian Collapse and overpopulation and as a result Rob and Martin both became very passionate about sustainability – They wanted to ‘do’ something.
They researched on problems in the fashion industry and mapped the supply chain and product lifecycle of a standard high street t-shirt and we found there were problems in three areas:
- Product –the agrochemicals and fertilisers used to increase yield of crops and decrease pests.
- Planet – the energy used in the production of clothing.
- People – widespread human cost of clothing production.
After they mapped these areas they applied a sustainable solution to each and their mantra at the time was for each of these initiatives to offer the ‘net best effect on the environment’
- They decided to make Rapanui products from organic fabrics.
- Then they looked at the energy and carbon emissions and made use of renewable energy to power the manufacture of Rapanui products.
- They then also made sure that the supply chain of Rapanui products also had all of the relevant ethical accreditations and operated at the standard rate of human welfare.
Since then Rapanui has developed products to make them ‘cool’ first, then eco and also developed some award winning Traceability and Eco labelling initiatives....