Danajon Bank in the Philippines is one of only six double-reef barriers in the world and boasts blue sky, wide stretches of ocean and beautiful beaches. Yet, if one looks more closely, both ocean and beaches are littered with tons of discarded nylon fishing nets and other waste. As the 40 island communities in Danajon Bank are entirely dependent upon the ocean for sustenance and revenue, and as the broken nets damage the reef and continue to catch and kill fish and other species, this waste is not only unsightly, but also damages the ecosystem and threatens the locals’ livelihoods.
Therefore, together with Aquafil, the Zoological Society of London and the local communities of Danajon Bank, Interface started the initiative Net-Works™.
The idea is as simple as it is revolutionary: it enables local residents to collect discarded Nylon fishing nets in a community-based supply chain. They are then cleaned and sold through Net-Works™, providing a valuable additional source of income for community members in the Philippines. Aquafil (a global supplier of synthetic fibers) turns the nets into 100% recycled yarn which is used by Interface to produce beautiful carpet tile.
Interface wants to lead by example and encourage other businesses to explore new sustainable resources. The company sees itself as a role model for developing interdisciplinary initiatives that make both, a socio-economic and an environmental impact, while also benefiting the company itself.
Miriam Turner, Assistant Vice President Co-innovation at Interface states: “It may seem a little crazy that a commercial carpet tile company has ended up working with the fishing community on a remote double barrier reef. But that’s the beauty of seeing design as more than just product. Co-innovating with experts from lots of different disciplines has been brilliant; together we’ve re-imagined what the value chain could look like. Sustainability is the mother of all collaborations after all.”
The Net-Works™ programme is proof that when business, conservation, and communities innovate together, a positive, sustainable impact can be created.