Net-Works™, Interface implementing Leadership in Sustainability
5th August 2013
Leadership on the Sustainability Exchange
Sponsors, Interface, have teamed up with conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to create the project, Net-Works™.
Net-Works is a great example of how leadership can be implemented in sustainability and how many different people can benefit from one project. Net-Works was launched in the Danajon Bank area of the Philippines in 2012 to tackle two distinct issues: first, to address the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities, and second, to help solve the problem of finding a viable waste stream to feed the company's ambitious post-consumer nylon recycling goals.
End of life fishing nets recovered from the fishing industry supply chain represent some of the world’s cleanest and most abundant supply of post-consumer nylon, the same raw material as carpet yarn. Developing a local reclamation system for these nets, Net-Works is improving residents’ livelihoods and providing the impetus for new community banking institutions that offer long-term solutions to poverty.
Collection systems are set up in at least 15 local villages, involving more than 280 impoverished households (equivalent of 1,400 people based on an average household size of five). The goal is to collect a significant amount of netting that will generate funds directly for communities and make a positive difference, given that family incomes in the area are typically less than £100 a month.
Nigel Stansfield, Chief Innovation Officer at Interface says, “It is really gratifying to see that the concept we’ve developed with ZSL works and promises so much. At Interface, we are designing for a higher purpose—and feel a sense of responsibility beyond the products we sell. The collected fishing nets have a nylon that can be recycled directly back into our carpet tiles, which will help us reduce our use of virgin raw materials and, critically, create livelihood opportunities for local communities. We are now looking forward to expanding operations and delivering the first carpet tiles from our collaboration.”