Lance Sheppard, Head of Marine Division of EcoStore in New Zealand and ISS Board Member, chats about the situation in his country, which has been in lockdown since March last year, and how he has been handling his business under these very unpredictable circumstances.

How have you carried on promoting your company outside of New Zealand while your country is shut from the rest of the world? Ecostore has partnered with leading global marine companies that share the same passion that we must protect and preserve our oceans and reduce the amount of single use plastic on Superyachts. We are working closely with Burgess Yachts and Fraser Yachts supporting and sponsoring various events they have been holding for crew (Frasers Short Story Contest, Burgess Beach Clean up) These companies also have a strong company mandate to transition the boats under their management to ensuring they become more operationally sustainable in everything they do. This strong network has been very important in times when we cannot travel ourselves.

How do you ship your products during the lockdown? Is it more complicated? Most of our shipments are by seas freight so this has not been impacted. Getting samples to boats via airfreight has been more challenging. During the first few months of this year there was some reluctance to order with such uncertainty around global transport links, but as the integrity of these were maintained our clients felt more comfortable to continue to order.

Have there been production or supply problems on your end to manufacture your products? All our products and natural ingredients are manufactured in New Zealand so we have not had issues with product availability. Our only issue was getting pumps for the hand wash bottles which come out of China. Expanding the suppliers in our supply chain has mitigated the pump shortage but we have had an interesting variety of pump styles on our products.

Have you had to re-think your company strategy? Our marine strategy has had to be flexible with the uncertainty that has been created globally. Many boats are using this time to go into refit or their cruising season has extended making logistics a little tricky when the boats are on the move. Overall because the strategy we have in place has been built around a clientele which is always mobile we have had the flexability to built in to manage the curve balls this year has thrown us.

How do you envision the next few months or year? For Ecostore, growth into the marine sector will continue to strengthen. The demand for our plant and mineral based environmentally sustainable products on Superyachts is continuing to grow as more crew hear about us and the quality and performance of our products. There is a global increasing awareness for sustainability. The Americas Cup in New Zealand was certainly going to be one of our launch events, with upwards of 150 Superyachts registered to come down pre pandemic. With our borders still closed many boats have decided not to come. However we are seeing several Superyachts a week still arriving so we are very confident that momentum to help Superyachts transition operationally to more sustainable products used on board will continue to keep us busy during this time.

Ecostore has been voted New Zealand’s most trusted brand 5 years in a row.Our marine specific website Also our Instagram @ecostoreocean.

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Interview by Christelle Holler