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Up Close: In Conversation with Pangaia’s Christine Goulay

Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Christine Goulay, global director, Pangaia Science at Pangaia, discusses her company’s sustainability moves and why “sharing is caring” in material science.

Christine Goulay Pangaia
Christine Goulay, global director, Pangaia Science, Pangaia Courtesy

Name: Christine Goulay

Title: Global director, Pangaia Science

Company: Pangaia

Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction:

There are so many materials science innovations at Pangaia that I’m excited about—and many more in the pipeline to come! We recently announced a limited-edition capsule we made in partnership with Infinited Fiber Company to introduce the world’s first shirts made from 100 percent Infinna, a new textile fiber created entirely from textile waste.

Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?

The food industry has an excellent handle on the supply chain because it needs to do so in order to protect consumers and satisfy health and safety regulators, such as the FDA in the U.S. The apparel sector can learn from some of the traceability systems that have been put in place. Great strides are being made in apparel supply chain traceability thanks to technologies in physical tracers, digital platforms, blockchain, etc. It’s an exciting time.

How would you describe yourself as a consumer?

I am a consumer who always reads labels and who prefers to buy high-quality, long-lasting products to pass on to my daughters or potentially sell on a resale platform to keep them in circulation as long as possible.

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As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?

As with many consumers today, it takes transparency, honesty, commitment to responsible business practices and putting the time, money and effort into taking the needed steps to improve.

What’s your typical work (or weekend) uniform?

Today, it’s Pangaia! Last year, I would have answered Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, etc.

Which fashion era is your favorite?

I love the 1920s flapper look with its liberation of women’s fashion and effortless casual chic, epitomized by Chanel.

Who’s your style icon?

I love Angela Lindvall’s style. She has always been so conscious and vocal about the importance and beauty of nature.

What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?

In February, Pangaia announced its carbon reduction goals and progress towards establishing an Earth-positive business model. Pangaia will reach net-zero operations in Scope 1 and will be powered 100 percent by renewable energy by 2025, along with additional commitments to be net-zero carbon by 2040 across Scope 1, 2, 3. In order to reach these reductions, Pangaia will go beyond carbon offsetting to find active reduction solutions through its scientific and collaborative business model, such as working with suppliers to transition to renewable energy, investing in material science innovations to develop lower emissions products and supporting carbon-sinking projects.

How would you describe your corporate culture?

Pangaia is a team of disruptors and innovators based around the world. We have team members in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and more. The business was founded in 2019 and really grew in 2020, so a lot of the team started remotely during the pandemic. Even though we were mostly working from home, we managed to stay very active and connected. We have a great team of driven, open-minded people working together on making the Pangaia vision come to life. We just opened our new office space in London; it is great to finally be together.

What can companies learn from Covid-19?

The pandemic showed us that effective change comes from the group behavior of people and our joint commitment to evolving systems. As a company organized as a global collective, we believe the power of the collective is more effective than individuals working alone to make change. Together with our team, our partners who use our material science portfolio and our customers, we are building a better future.

What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?

The industry needs to be more collaborative. There are so many exciting innovations and new technologies sitting in laboratories right now, but they are not reaching the apparel industry or consumers. We believe that sharing is caring and we all need to act fast, so that is why we make our material science portfolio available to all brands. The more companies start using these material science technologies, the cheaper and more effective it is to produce, giving everyone access to ethical, sustainable and responsible products.

What keeps you up at night?

Thinking about whether I should be learning permaculture.

What makes you most optimistic?

The topic of sustainability has never been so relevant, and I believe that collectively we can make a difference and drive real impact. This common purpose is fueled by energy and the heart of the people, and it is this community that drives my own optimism. Now is the time, and together we will drive change. At the end of the day, our goal is to leave this planet in a better place than we found it, and that is an exciting challenge of its own. In order to achieve this vision, my biggest takeaway is that we must be humble and honest—especially about what we are not yet perfect at.