03 - Interview with Nicholas Hänny - co-founder and CEO of NIKIN

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Please find more information on my blog: www.sustainnow.ch
Nicholas Hänny, co-founder and CEO of the Swiss clothing brand NIKIN. NIKIN plants one tree for every product sold and tries to make sustainable fashion more affordable. They've already planted over 1'000'000 trees and mostly grew threw eCommerce and Social Media Marketing. Nicholas Hänny is a scout and therefore has always had a connection to trees and nature, however the whole topic of sustainability in a business and fashion context has only come into his life with NIKIN.

Nick bootstraps NIKIN since 2017 and actually started with a different mindset and adapted over the time to the sustainability vision. Actually, their customer told them that they don't want to buy their products if everything comes out of China.

We also talk about how to reduce returns as a fashion brand and how to be sustainable but at the same time focusing on growth.

In this episode we talk about the actions NIKIN has taken to make his whole value chain more sustainable. We go through each step and he provides actionable tips.

Nick clarifies that they are not the most sustainable fashion company in Switzerland, but rather 90% better and they are trying to improve in all aspects. Currently, they are working with ECOS - a sustainability agency - to improve further their goals, values and actions.

We take a deep dive into packaging. Nikin uses recycled cardboard, no plastic bags for fashion and using sugar cane paper for the tree certificate.

Fun fact - for organic food they use the startup wormup, but too slow to watch them eat :)

We talk about greenwashing - especially towards planting trees as co2 offsetting. This article of BBC provides a good overview - when and how tree planting is really helping the global warming or can be contra productive by

  • limiting biodiversity due to monocultures
  • not letting it grow for 100 years to store carbon effectively (rather cutting it after 10 years to create more co2 certificates)
  • by cutting it down and using little sustainable manufacturing processes

Nick explains that with the organization ONETREEPLANTED, they tried to plant tries for different purposes such as supporting local communities with food, re-structuring river lines, helping endangered species, etc.

Nick defines for himself that sustainability needs to be in balance with social, economical, environmental aspects. His top 3 necessary changes to get a more sustainable world:

  • Research Development by private and public organizations - especially in the energy space
  • More innovation in the sustainability space
  • Consumer Behavior change - eat & travel more locally

In my Blog about Climate Change, I took a deep dive into the sources of greenhouse emissions and what we can do.

Nick emphasizes that as multi-brand retailer, you have one big choice to make:
"Choose your brands wisely and evaluate your products regarding sustainability. "

In the end, Nick shares his passion for social media. He talks about how he bootstraps with CHF 5.000 his company to over CHF 20m revenue company by selling primarily via social media.

Please check out show notes and background information: www.sustainnow.ch
Ideas for a podcast episode? Please contact us here: fvw@forestrock.ch

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