Luke Haverhals came to the latest episode of Progress Over Perfection donned in items made with his own brand’s materials: a Ralph Lauren tee and Allbirds kicks. Clearly, he’s a man on a mission. And his mission is to get humans off the petrochemical supply chain and back onto the natural one.
Haverhals is the CEO and Founder of NFW (Natural Fiber Welding), known for its revolutionary plant-based materials MIRUM® and CLARUS®, and used by the likes of Camper and Pangaia. At NFW, if it ain’t 100 percent it ain’t good enough. If you take a look at the materials that it produces, you won’t find a drop of petrol or toxic chemicals anywhere. Whereas some companies may mix plastic-based materials with plant-based ones, NFW is 100 percent plastic free.
We sat down with Haverhals for a very interesting chat that moved from the efficiencies of engineered materials (a roll of MIRUM is much more efficient than an irregular shaped cow hide) to the hard economic truths of next-gen material production, and how to be “compatible with the Earth.”
Haverhals and Daniel Navetta, FVV’s Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, also talked about what real transparency and traceability looks like. Humanity is “destined to end in tragedy [if we’re not] truthful and holistic about how we measure and discuss our impact,” says Haverhals. “And that’s something that’s not happening well in our world right now.”
The big issue of scalability was also tackled. “If you want to change the world, you’ve got to get thousands of brands, including the biggest brands in the world, to show up to your place of business,” says Haverhals. You’ve got to go all in. And if the problem you’re facing is as destructive as the climate crisis, your solutions better be moonshot in ambition.
“When you look at the 2050, 2030 climate goals, human rights goals, those things will not happen with people who simply do incremental tinkering on the current system. It requires radical vision and disruption of the current system. Not every part of the system, but certain parts cannot stay the same and should not be recognizable by 2050.”
Plenty more fascinating subjects are addressed, including why we should think about materials as nutrients for the Earth. It’s tasty stuff.