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Meet the Neemsayer - Dan Black founder of Black and Blum

Meet the Neemsayer - Dan Black founder of Black and Blum

What actions have you taken to reduce your footprint

As the founder and lead designer of a company that has been creating products for the last 23 years, I’m conscious that the nature of our business, and retail in general, does have a detrimental effect on the environment. Our objective is to create products that last, and that serve a genuine purpose, and that help our customers live more sustainably. We hate the word ‘gadget’ as to us, this is an item that gets used only a few times, but will eventually end up in landfill. So that’s why everything we create has a place in the world, and can be used every day.

We design unique and high-quality lunch boxes, water bottles and thermoses. These products help people reduce single-use food and drink packaging and also minimise food waste, both of which have a huge impact on the planet. Our style and aesthetic is utilitarian and what we call ‘modern retro’. It has a contemporary feel but is inspired by functional antiques that can still be used today. We don’t use fashion-led patterns and consciously keep colour minimal so our designs can remain timeless. Using materials like stainless steel, wood, and glass, our designs are built to last and age well. Stainless steel and wood might take a dent or scratch, but this only adds to the quality of the product. We believe products that get used regularly become cherished and develop soul. We stock spare and replacement parts for all our products, so should an item break by accident, it is possible to repair it without having to buy a whole new product, and all our products are designed with materials that can be recycled. Ultimately, all these factors mean our designs will have a longer lifespan, and help to reduce the environmental impact of producing them.

We are members of 1% for the Planet (the charity co-founded Yvonne Chouinard who founded Patagonia). This commits us to giving 1% of our annual sales to non-profit environmental causes. Our chosen charities are City Harvest, which repurposes waste food to those in need, and Trees for Cities, which work on an international level to plant trees in cities.

We are also Climate Neutral Certified. We measured our company’s carbon footprint, and then offset it in its entirety by purchasing quality carbon credits, as well as planning to reduce emissions in the future. Each year we take further steps to reduce our impact.


What would you suggest others do as a result of what you’ve experienced and seen?

Take responsibility for your everyday impact. Each step might seem small, but over a year it can all add up. Love every product you own, so you become more conscious about everything you buy/use and the impact it will have. Cook more food you have grown or bought without packaging. Reduce your food wastage. Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season. Eat less meat. Stop buying bottled water. Recycle and repair.

What have you witnessed first hand that has inspired or motivated you the most to do something, around climate change and biodiversity loss?

I grew up in a small village in Yorkshire. My parents still live there. Each time I go back, it is easy to see the growth of the towns and encroachment on the countryside. Everywhere you look, nature is suffering under human impact and our lack of respect for the planet. I read one of James Lovelock’s book on Gaia Theory fifteen years ago. This theory predicts a far shorter time frame before we see more devastating climate change impact the world. I don’t have any depth of knowledge in environmental science, but do believe in Gaia Theory and this has driven my life decisions.


How would you describe Neem?

It is wrong to use the word fashionable, as this makes it sound short-term and frivolous. Neem creates considered timeless products that are responsibly sourced, beautiful, and a pleasure to use.


Name some music you love

Fairly eclectic – anything from Fleetwood Mac to Zara Larson.

Fav artist

As someone who one day wants to be an artist in the sense of drawing, not singing, I am going to say Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935).. one of the Scottish Colourists.



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