Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Malcolm Rands sells out of Ecostore

Malcolm Rands' exits Ecostore. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Malcolm Rands' exits Ecostore. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Ecostore founders and environmental ambassadors Malcolm and Melanie Rands have sold out of the business after 22 years to focus on other projects.

The couple founded Ecostore in 1994 with the goal of making everyday products safer and healthier for people and the planet, campaigning for "no nasty chemicals".

The business has expanded globally in recent years and now sells into Australia, South Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan but in recent years the couple has begun selling down its share in the company, selling the remaining ten per cent late last year to businessman Peter Kraus.

"The choice to relinquish our minor shareholding of ecostore has in no way changed our passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the company that my wife Melanie and I created in 1994," Rands said. "Our original desire was to create a new model for business based on purpose or social enterprise."

"Whilst I continue in my full time role as ecostore founder, brand ambassador and spokesperson, the time is now right for me to focus on projects that have always been very close to my heart with Fairground Foundation," he said.

According to Rands, the business had been set up as "a means to an end" - as a source of funding for the Fairground Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable trust involved in education, stewardship and advocacy for sustainability and environmental restoration.

A proportion of Ecostore's profit would continue to fund the work of the Foundation which Rands said had several significant projects being launched this year.

In 2002, the Rands sold 50 per cent of Ecostore to fund expansion. Kraus later bought this share and extended it over the years as the couple sold an increasing stake to the businessman. Although Rands no longer owns the company, he said nothing had really changed.

"I'm still doing the same job I've been doing for the last however many years and I'm contracted for the next five years so it's not a big change really," Rands said.

"For ten years we've only had 10 per cent of the company, so its only the final 10 that we've sold, and Ecostore was never the reason I did it - it was a roadmap of a way to fund a not-for-profit."

The Fairground Foundation has been running since Ecostore was set up but Rands said he hadn't wanted to push the Foundation until it was in a position to launch some major projects.

According to Rands, New Zealand could expect big projects from the Foundation later this year.

- NZ Herald

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