Miroslava Duma: How Pangaia is Building an Earth-Positive Business Model

By Marco De Novellis // 18 July 2023

Miroslava Duma, Founder of Pangaia, speaking at Founders Forum.
Miroslava Duma, Founder of Pangaia, speaking at Founders Forum.

Miroslava Duma started Pangaia with one mission in mind: to ensure every product it produces is better for the planet than if it did not exist. Read more in our ClimateTech 2023 report.

At the heart of Pangaia’s internal operations is its Impact team. Whether it’s sustainable swimwear or plant-based leather, they’re the filter that every new product idea goes through. With existing, traditional supply chains, in 99% of cases it’s a ‘no’. 

“Our mission is to design an earth-positive business model,” Miroslava Duma, Pangaia’s Founder, explains. “That means every product we produce is better for the planet than if it didn’t exist.”

Pangaia makes everyday garments from lab-grown, bio-engineered, regenerative materials. Its latest innovations include The Infinite Tee, the world’s first t-shirt made from 100% post-consumer, cotton-rich textile waste, and The NXT GEN Hoodie, made from animal-free protein fibres.

But the ecosystem for truly sustainable products is still in its infancy. Miroslava and the team at Pangaia help new innovations to go to market, bring their prices down, and scale.

From Plant-Based Leather to Sunglasses Made From CO2

While most fashion firms outsource their entire manufacturing process, Pangaia has its own research and development facility and creates its own-brand collections in partnership with sustainability-conscious designers and artists. 

“We turn agricultural waste into yarn for next-generation t-shirts and hoodies, and we’ve created sunglasses made from CO2 with carbon capture company, Twelve,” Miroslava explains.

“We can’t suddenly stop producing. People need jobs and an income – that’s how today’s economy works. Our solution is not to create less, but to design a way to create in an earth-positive way so businesses give back more than they take.”

Some products don’t make it. Pangaia considered launching sustainable swimwear made from plastic ocean waste. But anything made from plastic releases microplastic particles when it’s washed that are then released into water streams. “The technology to do a fully bio-based replacement just isn’t there yet,” Miroslava explains.

Pangaia: Building Earth-Positive Business

To drive the development of the ecosystem, Miroslava says more major companies and governments need to look at making climate investments with a long-term view on ROI. “It’s about looking at the next 50 years, not the next month.”

For her part, Miroslava is now working to launch a platform to democratise sustainable product creation and make Pangaia’s material science library available online

“You can have the most amazing innovation sitting in your lab, but if you can’t showcase or communicate it well, you won’t be able to sell it,” she says.

“We identify amazing individuals with great IP in their hands, invest in them, and help them take their ideas to market.””

Download our ClimateTech 2023 report for more insights from top climate tech founders. Plus, discover our European climate tech startups to watch!