When Wellington design graduates Robbie Van Dam and Craig Bond were presented with a challenge to develop a multi-use pest-control device, they jumped at the chance. Little did they know that it would lead to the development of the company Goodnature, which is at the forefront of a movement to transform the global pest control industry.
In 2004, Van Dam was working part time for the Department of Conservation (DOC), which was looking for a way to alleviate the dependency on people to manually check and reset every pest trap across Aotearoa New Zealand. The traps weren’t ideal so Van Dam and Bond were tasked with designing a new version which could eradicate multiple pests, without human intervention.
“We wanted to figure out how we could bring trapping in to the 21st century,” says Bond.
“The purpose of it was really inspiring. We could see the incredible environmental impact that a device of this design could have and the benefit it would bring to New Zealand and other countries. It was such an exciting and fascinating challenge.”
After brainstorming 50 ways to kill a rodent, Bond and Van Dam developed Goodnature’s main pest-control product that lures pests to the trap, before triggering a striker which kills the pest, and automatically resets 24 times. Not only is the device efficient, but it is also humane and toxin-free, which was unique in the industry.
The product proved to be extremely popular and is now used across New Zealand by local community groups, hapū, iwi, and private landowners as well as DOC, OSPRI and regional councils. It’s also available internationally across Europe, United Kingdom, Australia and North America.
Furthermore, Goodnature recently signed a distribution agreement with Gallagher Group which will support the company to expand to Japan, Latin America and South Africa.
To date, Goodnature traps have removed 22 million pests globally and supported the conservation of forests, wildlife and more across the world. In recognition of this achievement, in May 2023, Goodnature achieved B Corp™ certification, setting new standards in the pest control industry worldwide.
Goodnature CEO Dave Shoemack says as part of the organisation’s goal to expand further, they were referred to the FernMark Licence Programme as an opportunity to showcase their New Zealand proposition and highlight the company’s conservation-led values.
“The more we looked into the FernMark Programme, the more we realised it fit really well with our principles and what we were trying to achieve,” Shoemack says. “It's a stamp of trust and authenticity, and reflects the wider New Zealand vision around sustainability.”
“We know that the pest control category will only get more competitive in the years to come and having the FernMark – alongside the B Corp™ certification – sets us apart.”
The pair says they are incredibly proud to be a New Zealand company and are grateful for the support they have received from the community.
“Aotearoa is on a mission to be predator free by 2050, but the rest of the world isn't there yet. We are leading the way and it's awesome to know that New Zealand is behind us," Shoemack says.
Bond says, “We are a small country where everyone knows everyone – especially in our industry. If we have a problem, we can always find someone to help and when they hear our story, they never say no, there is this universal support for what we are doing.”
Shoemack notes that while Goodnature is currently leading the way in producing traps that are humane and toxin free, changing global regulations mean all pest-control companies will eventually follow the same path.
“We want to consider how we can make the industry better and bring everyone along with us on our journey. That’s why we need to continue to push boundaries and innovate,” he says.
“For us it's just the beginning. We have a product that can help to reverse, in a small way, the effects of climate change so we owe it to the world to scale up. We are in a great place but now let’s supercharge it.”
To find out more about Goodnature, visit goodnature.co.nz