SUPPLY CHAIN TRANSFORMATION WITH ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL BENEFIT BY INTERFACE
Water is the lifeblood of our planet and we have a responsibility to care for it. While water often inspires our biophilic product design in carpet tile styles like Ice Breaker and Net Effect, Interface is also drawn to ways to make a larger positive environmental impact on the bodies of water that nurture us. Learn more about supply chain transformation that benefits communities and nature.
The majority of our planet and our bodies are composed of water. And in the next four minutes, over 100,000 pounds – 45 metric tons – of plastic waste will be dumped into the ocean. If this trend does not change, more than 150 million metric tons of plastic waste will have entered the ocean by 2025. If we continue on this trajectory, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our seas than fish (source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation).
At Interface, we are increasingly seeing companies realize the power and value of collaboration. In 2018, a cross-industry consortium of companies joined forces to tackle the global issue of marine plastic pollution. Convened by technology provider Dell and non-governmental organization Lonely Whale, NextWave is the first global, scalable and operational supply chain for ocean-bound plastic.
Interface joined NextWave as a next step in our goal to make a larger positive environmental impact. Since 1996, we’ve decreased the total water intake at our factory sites by 89% as part of our Mission Zero® journey. But we knew that we could go even further, and we knew we couldn’t do it alone. In 2012, we launched a project focused on creating a socially inclusive supply chain. Our focus was on nylon, the main raw material in our existing products. We established Net-Works™, a partnership between Interface, our nylon supplier Aquafil, and the Zoological Society of London.
Net-Works focused on working with coastal villages to recover fishing nets and incorporate them into our supply chain, to see them made into recycled nylon for our products. Plastic waste not only poses a threat to ocean ecosystems, it also endangers the health of marine species and the well-being of communities that depend on the ocean. We launched the first community-based supply chain project in the Philippines in 2012, engaging local villagers to collect and process the fishing nets and paying them for the net recovery. The partnership has since scaled this approach to Cameroon and Indonesia.
Our products are made with the same type of nylon that customers know and love, but now with the added benefit of a powerful environmental and social story. The response from customers to these products has been powerful, and we’ve gained knowledge and experience addressing marine pollution.
Since the program began, over 224 metric tonnes of waste fishing nets have been collected, and 2,200 families now have access to finance. And crucially, it’s been a commercial success.
Our Net-Works™ program was the reason we became a founding member of the NextWave Initiative, alongside Dell and HP, to share our experience recycling and using marine plastic with other member companies. Collaboration between like-minded organizations is key to advancing the circular economy. NextWave will accelerate plastics recycling and leave a lasting positive impact on the health of our oceans.
For more information, connect with your local Kansas City Interface representative
Katie Allen (Sweetin)
Account Executive KS & Western MO