By the end of this year, Americans will be able to buy New Zealand merino wool sticking plasters in convenience stores in the Grand Canyon.
The Kiwi company behind the plasters - Wool Aid - is hoping it will also be able to attract US investors so it can expand in a country that is the world's biggest market for adhesive bandages.
It's not just the money it is looking for, says Wool Aid chief executive Louise Cunningham, but the expertise to help open doors.
"Yes, the dollars will be important because that will allow us to accelerate the growth we know we can have up there - that would mainly be spent on working capital and marketing. But the expertise will be something we are looking for. How somebody can help us open doors and bring something else to the table - that is far greater value than just the money."
Wool Aid is one of about 25 companies being promoted by NZ Trade and Enterprise as part of its Do Good, Do Well campaign.
Launched last month in New York and timed to coincide with the start of Air New Zealand's direct flights to the city, the campaign aims to attract investors who not only want to make money from their investment, but also support companies offering products or services that are good for people and the environment.
Dylan Lawrence, general manager of investment at NZTE, says the US market is its biggest focus because that is where New Zealand companies most want to expand to.
"We follow NZ companies - if the company is looking to grow there [in a specific country] that is where we look to find the investors because that is where they need the help."
And for the first time, it is pushing to find investors on the eastern seaboard.
"I'm pretty excited about that direct route," says Lawrence. "The reason I'm excited is the feedback we get from investors is, if it is more than one flight away they won't invest.
"Having a direct flight to the East Coast is going to open that up.
"We have never really pushed that side of the coast hard. We have got the new investor migrant visa programme as well. We are going to try and leverage that opportunity as well on the eastern seaboard and get into pockets of capital with huge networks and connections that we otherwise have never been engaged with."
Foreign investment in New Zealand companies rose to record levels during Covid, despite the border being shut and investors unable to get to this country to carry out due diligence.
Between January 2019 and October 2022, 241 US-based investors put money into 201 New Zealand companies. The capital invested - some of it from outside the US - totalled US$6.37 billion.
Lawrence says huge amounts of economic stimulation have helped. But now that stimulation has largely dried up and the cost of capital has risen, things are going to get tougher.
"We think it is going to be more difficult. We are going to have to be more proactive. There will be investors that continue to invest. Many will tell you that the down cycles are the best time to invest. But you are going to see a lot of people sitting on their hands."
Lawrence predicts that private equity investors will continue to invest but wealthy individuals are likely to stay on the sidelines.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise hatched the campaign as part of this country's bid to reconnect with the world after Covid.
"As we were sitting in the middle of Covid, we were looking out at the other side and we thought, right, we have a chance to really reset the narrative after coming out of Covid, reconnecting with the rest of the world. Let's make sure we take that opportunity with both hands."
Lawrence says NZTE decided to focus on making an emotional connection with investors rather than just appealing to their desire to make money.
"We don't need a lot of money in New Zealand in the scheme of things. But the money or investment we want, we want to make sure it is right for what we need. We want investors to take a value-based approach to their investment."
He says New Zealand punches above its weight when it comes to companies doing good around the world.
"We want to show that prioritising and promoting businesses that are already doing good when it comes to sustainability, people and innovation that we can ... hope to secure investment that will help them grow but it also incentivises other New Zealand businesses to take a similar approach."
Cunningham believes there are a growing number of investors who care about doing good as well as making a return.
"From an investor perspective there is, in my view, less of an acceptance, or it is becoming less acceptable to just make a profit and cause harm in the process."
The US consumers that Wool Aid is targeting have been labelled LOHAs - people focused on lifestyles of health and sustainability. It's a market estimated to be worth $355 billion a year, says Cunningham.
"If those people are starting to make choices about how and where they spend their money and they like to do it on good, then that is ultimately what investors need to be aware of because they are the ones - they make the money."
Six Kiwi businesses aiming to do good and make money:
Lucas Smith, founder, and Louise Cunningham, CEO, Wool Aid
Smith: I grew up in Lake Tekapo on a 500 acre block carved off a merino sheep station, and I still pinch myself that this is where I call home.
After school I worked as a guide in Fiordland, leading treks that would last several days. Lots of people got blisters and we'd give them a plastic or fabric plaster (which is made from petrochemicals). It felt so wrong when we were in such a beautiful, natural setting.
I'd seen first-hand the difference between merino wool and synthetics when it came to fibre performance in clothing, so it struck me as odd that we didn't have medical bandages made using wool fibres, which are breathable and therefore better for healing.
So, I invented an adhesive bandage, or plaster as we call them in New Zealand, made from merino wool.
Cunningham: People aren't prepared to pay more for a product just because it's sustainable these days: it has to perform really well, and be sustainable. Breathability is important when it comes to healing, and wool is naturally breathable, so it offers better performance than the plastic or fabric alternative. But it is also biodegradable, with the fabric breaking down in the soil in just four months.
We've put Wool Aid through rigorous testing at AgResearch in Christchurch to prove superior breathability and healing via 3D skin models. We've also tough tested them in real life with athletes in the Iditarod Trail Invitational [dog sled race] in Alaska, one of the world's hardest adventure races, and lots of other events.
There are billions of single-use plastic and fabric plasters or bandages being used in the world and we want to stop that. Finally, after decades of very little innovation when it comes to plasters and bandages, there's a product that is better for wounds, and better for the world.
Karla Bradley, general manager horticulture at Kono
Kono (meaning food basket) is the commercial arm of Wakatū Incorporation, which represents the 4000 descendants of the customary Māori landowners in Whakatū, Motueka and Mōhua.
Our taonga (treasures) include apples, pears, kiwifruit, hops, mussels and wine. We want to be spray-free and zero-waste by 2040, and we have a transition plan to achieve both.
I started working here alongside my sister 10 years ago and fell in love with the place. I discovered our family name on the list of descendants and realised my connection here. So, I am one of the shareholders and I run the horticultural operation. We're a family business, just a really big one.
A big driver for us is getting our people back to the whenua (the land) and we have a māra (garden) where we are planting indigenous crops from seeds people give us. So far we've grown kūmara (sweet potato), taewa (like a small potato) and kamokamo (which tastes a bit like courgette but looks more like a pumpkin), among other crops. We are exploring different distribution models for kai (food), whānau (family) and community, while also thinking about opportunities for the Kono business.
Success for us is bringing family to work. My son Darcy is eight months old and comes to work with me most days, sleeping in a cot in my office. Staff retention through being a preferred supplier helps our bottom line, so we invest in upskilling our people. Re-gen isn't just about the environment and the soil, the health of our people is just as important.
Eileen Bowden, kaihautū at Miraka
Ko Tongariro te maunga
Ko Taupō te moana
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ko Ngai te Ranginui oku iwi
Kaitiakitanga is one of our core values. This means looking after the natural environment, our people and community.
Our vision "Nurturing our World" captures the role of stewardship and embodies the traditional Māori worldview, of the deep connection that exists between people and the natural world.
Miraka uses renewable "green" geothermal energy which enables us to achieve 92 per cent less carbon emissions than traditional coal-powered plants.
We process 300 million litres of milk annually, and export whole milk powder, UHT milk and frozen milk concentrate to 17 countries around the world. We are one of the largest Māori exporters in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The value of kaitiakitanga in action, from farm to consumers, is why Miraka introduced a farming excellence programme to improve environmental outcomes and support best practice on-farm. This structure has been put in place to build sustainable businesses over time.
We are seeing global consumer trends shifting away from fossil-based fuels to low-carbon products, climate-friendly and renewable energy sources. Reduced impact on land, conservation of water and environmental protection to support a healthier and cleaner lifestyle, are now key considerations that consumers take into account.
We have a 100 farms for 100 years outlook, and that's just the start.
Dr Kiri McComb, global applied science Lead at Oritain
I tried science academia, but what I find really interesting is that through my work at Oritain I get to use science to make a tangible difference. Our aim is to help clients to have the tools and the confidence to do better when it comes to making ethical decisions throughout their supply chain.
Lots of organisations make bold promises about sustainability and ethical sourcing. Consumers are often prepared to pay more for these products but also increasingly likely to want to know that the claims are true. We use forensic chemistry, statistics and data science to determine authenticity in supply chains, providing our clients with a trust mark they can put on their packaging or brand so their customers know that the origins of their product has been verified.
Fashion brands are probably our biggest area of work, although we are testing cotton, linen, wool and leather across many household goods as well. We are also working more and more in the food space, specifically coffee, cocoa and red meat as well as horticulture and dairy, and we've recently moved into wine too.
My PhD supervisor Russell Frew founded the company with a group of others and I collaborated to solve the problem as part of my thesis. We started as six or seven people in a lab in Mosgiel, and 14 years later there's 140 of us across four offices in Dunedin, London, Washington DC and Zug in Switzerland.
Christopher Boyle, managing director at Fabrum
I'm an electrical engineer and I set up Fabrum with my business partner Hugh Reynolds, a mechanical engineer, in 2004. We met at Canterbury University because we were both into racing motorbikes and we've been mates ever since.
We strive to do more with less for longer. We've developed original technology that liquefies atmospheric gases which we can deliver on-site. We've instigated a liquid nitrogen solution for third world countries to use on cattle farms to improve milk and meat yields, as well as a liquid oxygen solution that we created for NATO to deliver medical grade oxygen to field hospitals in war zones and at the site of humanitarian disasters.
Using the same cryogenic technology, we can liquefy hydrogen, which in liquid form becomes 800 times more dense than as a gas. If we care about our climate and want to reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, we have to move away from fossil fuels. So we are working with aviation, heavy industry and transport companies on how we transition to liquid hydrogen as our future fuel.
It's really important to me that we ensure there are challenging and clear pathways for students in New Zealand. Out of my university cohort, the majority were recruited overseas. We sponsor research projects and offer five summer internships, employing at least one graduate every year. We grow our talent internally, developing global technology leaders, because we are passionate about our country, our people and making a difference to our planet.
Catherine Wang, operations project manager at The Collective
I joined The Collective after I graduated and I have been with the company for almost seven years. Our mission is to shake up the dairy industry by crafting yogurt that tastes delicious and is good for the planet too. Within 10 months we were New Zealand's best-selling gourmet yogurt and we're now stocked around the world including the UK, Australia and the Middle East.
We have a responsibility to conserve the resources we use in the manufacturing process: gas, electricity, compressed air and water. My role is to work with the cross-functional team to initiate and lead projects that drive continuous improvement in the factory to reduce waste, improve process efficiency and promote sustainability.
I have been working on a company-wide water saving initiative. We started off collecting data and analysed our findings to come up with a list of initiatives that would enable us to reduce and re-use water. We've invested significant capital expenditure in upgrading equipment and pipework in the factory, as well as optimising our cleaning process and training operators on the shop floor to apply a number of water saving tips in the workplace. I take my responsibility in this role seriously. It takes a lot of effort to supply water.
I believe that business is about taking care of both the community and the environment, and by caring, we will ultimately deliver long-term financial growth for all stakeholders. Businesses that lead by example are the first to admit that they don't get it right every time, but by learning and experimenting and shaking things up, we will all benefit.