The Good Collaboration

When beautifully crafted design and sustainable business meet, good things happen.

This piece explores how this collaboration between The Good Carbon Farm and HM merges sustainable farming and strategic design, driving a movement to make climate impact tangible through The Good Carbon Farm. Our partnership demonstrates the power of trust and expertise in achieving some serious goals. We’re thrilled and very grateful for this interview by Jenee Ris.

Cousins Joany Grima and Nancy Bugeja are breaking bounds when it comes to showing how they are paving the way for stunningly good business. Bringing their businesses together in a collaboration founded on trust and expertise has produced outcomes that are detail-oriented and good for the environment.

Nancy Bugeja, co-founder and CEO of the creative agency HM, alongside partner Miguel Valenzuela, has been empowering organisations through strategic design for just shy of 30 years.

Today, HM is a globally recognised and award-winning agency that focuses on meticulous design, which shines through in their projects. Naturally, Nancy became a sounding board when her cousin Joany began sharing her, and husband Allan Rockell’s, business ideas.

“We weren’t initially in contact for branding. I became like a business advisory support and from there, we [HM] put our hand up to help with the branding. I loved what I was hearing, and I trusted Joany and Allan would commit as much as we would.”

Joany and Allan learned of biochar (captured carbon in solid form) and discovered the benefits of growing food with it in their garden. Now, through The Good Carbon Farm, a not for profit company and registered charity, schools and community gardens across New Zealand are also benefiting from biochar.

Coming from a Maltese migrant family where growing food was an essential part of life in the Mediterranean Islands, Joany learned gardening from her father and uncles who utilised their large Australian backyards to feed their families.

“Growing up it was very normal for us to just go into the garden and pick our food. That’s where I learned and understood what it meant to grow food. I couldn’t imagine not growing my own food, it would feel like something was missing from my life.”

Without the support of HM, Joany believes The Good Carbon Farm would have remained a local venture with limited reach and impact. Through the support from HM, The Good Carbon Farm is expanding across New Zealand with aspirations to move internationally.

“I don’t think The Good Carbon Farm would be a thing if it wasn’t for Nancy’s guidance, development, and mentoring; and, The Good Carbon Farm would not have progressed this far if it wasn’t for HM.”

The brand strategy workshop, led by Nancy and attended by Joany and Allan, was a pivotal step in laying the groundwork for The Good Carbon Farm’s branding efforts. Nancy’s preparation and questioning prompted critical thinking.

Nancy guided Joany and Allan to start thinking more in-depth about what they wanted from the business; thinking beyond messaging and branding to include competitors, strengths, and The Good Carbon Farm’s place in the market.

“How can a process not be powerful when someone comes to you – and you have just given them a drip of what you are thinking – your idea, and they go ‘I really like this, let’s bring this to life.’”

Organisations tend to be linear and prioritise profits over doing what’s best. The Good Carbon Farm is inherently circular in its nature and practices. Waste is turned to biochar – and donated to local communities; relationships are turned into partnerships that produce good things, and positive environmental outcomes are woven into every aspect and process.

The HM team passionately dove into the research and development for The Good Carbon Farm where they discovered extensive research from colleagues at MEK Studio, inspiring the team to consider how colour impacts digital design, informing The Good Carbon Farm’s colour palette.

“In the process of brand development, we recognise that aesthetics alone are never enough. Our goal was to ensure that our design ethos reflected not only our commitment but also that of The Good Carbon Farm to sustainability.”

Together The Good Carbon Farm and HM’s collaborative efforts have yielded remarkable results, showing the power of a relationship where both parties are inspired by each other, trust each other to achieve positive results, and ultimately want better environmental outcomes for future generations.

HM is actively collaborating with The Good Carbon Farm as a member of the Good Friend Network, supporting the mission to create hundreds of community carbon sinks, effectively storing carbon for good. This partnership offers a unique opportunity for mutual contribution to circular community projects, ensuring long-term benefits for all involved.

“We would just be a bunch of notes on a wall if it wasn’t for HM’s involvement. HM is still holding our hand, this is still a good collaboration. There are still things that are going to come out of this that we don’t even know about yet.”

Needless to say, a year on The Good Carbon Farm is looking good while doing good things.

“The HM X The Good Carbon Farm collaboration can be likened to how we describe the benefits of biochar: circular, long-term, and compounding over time.”

The Good Carbon Farm is a not-for-profit climate action organisation, based in New Zealand. Working with nature, we create carbon sinks in schools and community gardens from upcycled green waste, storing carbon for good.