Entrepreneurs Daan van Diepen and Matthijs Westerwoudt have started The Landscape Company in 2018 to launch ventures and propositions that restore nature whilst being economically viable and scalable. Their first venture is ptthee, Dutch herbal tea that contributes to biodiversity (in Dutch the brand’s pun works perfectly, for our English-speaking readers: “PTT” was the Dutch post office and ‘Thee’ means tea).
We’re talking to Daan and Matthijs on the verge of spring, which is the start of their second growing season making Dutch biodiversity tea. Although we did not realize it at the time, it was also the last week that ‘live’ meetings like these could take place before the Dutch corona ‘intelli’-lockdown. They will share with us a bit about the why, what, how & with whom of ptthee. And how they look at sustainability and the inherent trade-offs.
These are the lessons we found most insightful and inspirational to help other pioneers or incumbents transitioning towards a (more) sustainable business model. Scroll down for the full interview:
- By carefully considering the full impact on planet, people (and profit) in the design & innovation phase, you can then fully focus on growth, growth, growth – knowing that more growth just means more positive impact. A strong purpose for the business helps a lot to achieve this.
- There will always be challenging trade-offs to make. Ptthee’s lesson is to start with the 80% rule, i.e. if you start with “great” while not losing sight of “even better”, it will be fine. For example in ptthee’s context: the ‘ideal’ seeds are very costly, so they use a blend of ‘perfect’ with the ‘80% right’ seeds which are also biologic, local origin yet available at a fair price.
- A continuous focus on and commitment to innovation is key as a sustainable pioneer. You have to keep re-thinking every aspect of the business and keep finding creative partnerships to stay ahead in sustainability. With green claims like ours, you are under a microscope. An example: we developed our fully compostable tea bags ourselves (contrary to what many people think, those on the market actually contain plastics and are not compostable).