On the 8th of December, Interface was announced as a winner of a 2016 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) in Sustainable Oceans Management. The award recognises the positive impact that Net-Works, Interface’s partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), has had in fishing communities in the Philippines.
Net-Works helps tackle the growing problem of marine plastic pollution, by incentivising people to collect and sell used fishing nets, which are recycled into yarn to make carpet tile. It also empowers communities by providing access to financial services via community banks and encouraging investment in marine conservation projects.
Since 2012 over 100 metric tons of nets have been gathered for recycling – enough to go around the world twice. At least 900 families have been given access to finance and 60,000 people have benefitted from a cleaner environment. There are 26 communities in the Philippines participating in Net-Works, and a further 9 in Cameroon, Central Africa.
Interface was honored to be a joint winner of the Secretary of State’s award with California start-up Bureo, who make skateboards from recycled fishing nets, collected from coastal communities in Chile. Net-Works and Bureo have been long-time supporters of each others work, so a joint win was a real bonus for both businesses.
Jon Khoo, Co-Innovation Partner at Interface, commented: “Global challenges like the sustainability of the ocean need to be tackled collectively, with businesses big and small playing their part alongside NGOs, governments and community leaders. Interface and Bureo may be very different companies on the face of it, but we share a passion for empowering people through inclusive supply chains, and transforming plastic waste into something useful and beautiful.”
David Stover, CEO and Co-founder of Bureo said: “We are humbled to be recognized next to Interface by the US State Department. Interface has been an inspiration to our team, as they have proven the ability to develop waste diversion solutions at scale, while regenerating recycled materials into quality products. We believe the success of our respective programs, across varying geographies and product lines, shows the viability of comprehensive solutions to prevent plastic pollution in our oceans.”
Dr. Nick Hill, Conservation for Communities Technical Specialist at ZSL, also shared his pride in Net-Works’ receipt of the award: “In order to sustain the oceans we need to empower local communities and fishers to take action. Understanding how to enable this empowerment and overcome barriers to action for these communities is a big challenge. I am delighted that the US government has recognised the huge strides that Net-Works and Bureo have taken towards addressing this challenge.”
Interface will be presented with the award at the annual ACE ceremony on January 5, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. EST at the State Department. The event will be globally streamed online at http://video.state.gov/live/.