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Interface, Inc. Updates Net-Works™ commitment to expansion At Clinton Global Initiative

In partnership with Zoological Society of London, Expanding Inclusive Business for Net Social, Environmental & Financial Impact

(SEPT. 25, 2015)—Atlanta-based Interface, Inc. (Nasdaq: TILE), the world’s largest modular carpet manufacturer, is delivering a progress report on its Net-Works Commitment to Action at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. Net-Works is an inclusive business model, created in partnership with conservation charity the Zoological Society of London and yarn supplier Aquafil.  This supply chain solution sources discarded fishing nets from impoverished fishing communities, keeping the nets from damaging the natural environment and giving them a second life as recycled nylon, which is made into beautiful carpet yarn.  This collaborative partnership tackles the growing problem of discarded fishing nets in a way that is good for business, good for people and good for the environment.

“We are challenging the status quo to reimagine our supply chain in a way that improves our ability to source recycled content,” said Jay Gould, Interface Chief Operating Officer and CGI attendee. “And more importantly, we are wrapping a positive social impact into our global sourcing, and cleaning up oceans and lakes while meeting our corporate goals. The ability to accomplish all three of these things together is a tribute to innovative thinking, the willingness to pursue unconventional partnerships and the willingness to look at our supply chain through a new lens, and we think it’s how companies will become and remain successful in the future.”

In updating its 2015 Commitment to Action, Interface and ZSL report that:

  • Net-Works has expanded to a third region in the Philippines – with the community banks set up and net collection underway in Northern Iloilo. This brings total Net-Works sites in the Philippines to over 20 communities in three regions.
  • Net-Works is newly-established in four communities in Cameroon. Community banking groups are currently being trained by ZSL Cameroon, a necessary precursor to the start of net collection in early 2016.
  • Net-Works is on track to set up in a third country during 2016 with ‘on the ground’ scoping underway.
  • The goal to make Net-Works self-sustaining is on track. Once a Net-Works collection site is established in country, its ongoing running costs are covered by money from the sale of the nets. Net-Works is not dependent on additional grants or sponsorship for continued operating costs.
  • The goal to create a replicable, scalable model is being met via the development of a tool kit, which is currently in Beta, with chapters and annexes being field tested by our teams in the Philippines and Cameroon.

“Although on the face of it Net-Works is an unlikely partnership for ZSL and Interface, working together has helped ZSL to re-imagine our approach to tackling some of the most urgent environmental and social problems affecting the regions where we work,” said Dr. Nick Hill, Conservation for Communities Technical Specialist at ZSL. “Over the last few years, the project has helped us take huge strides through developing a fully scalable and sustainable solution; an ultimate goal for any environmental organization.”

Since the program’s inception in 2012, Net-Works collection stats include:

  • 74,886 Kg (165,095 lbs) collected– enough to stretch around the world x1.5 (based on a typical net).
  • 51,934kg (114,495 lbs) have been successfully sent back to Aquafil’s regeneration site in Slovenia, and have been regenerated into nylon yarn.

Gathered nets are recycled by Italian yarn manufacturer Aquafil in their ECONYL® Regeneration System into nylon yarn that Interface uses to produce carpet tile.

Net-Works Background

Net-Works began as a pilot project in poor Philippines coastal villages in and around Danajon Bank where marine life and reefs are endangered.  The program provides supplemental income to fisherfolk, who gather and bundle discarded nylon nets (which would otherwise last for 600 years) for shipment to yarn supplier Aquafil.  Aquafil then utilizes their regeneration technology to turn those nets into 100% recycled nylon yarn.

After proving the inclusive model could work, the team sought out expansion sites.  In the Lake Ossa region of Cameroon, similar environmental and social challenges exist, as freshwater fishers use the same type of nets and dispose of them in the same way, degrading the ecosystem there.

Net-Works provides communities with access to finance and savings by establishing community banks or collaborating with selected microfinance groups. In addition ZSL builds trust in the communities, facilitating education and livelihood programs that help conserve the environment.

Based on participant interviews, we know that Net-Works has inspired local communities to take genuine ownership over the custodianship of their environments, and this programme has become a source of community pride.

About Interface Interface, Inc. is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial carpet tile. Its founder, Ray C. Anderson, served as co-chair of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development during President Clinton’s administration, from 1997-1999.  For 42 years the company has consistently led the industry through innovation and now leads the industry in environmental sustainability. It is setting the pace for development of modular carpet using materials and processes that take less from the environment, and is well along the path to “Mission Zero,” a 20-year-old company-wide promise to eliminate any negative impact it has on the environment by the year 2020. Interface’s worldwide carpet manufacturing facilities maintain third party registration to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard, and the company obtained the first-ever Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the commercial floor covering industry in North America. The company is recognized globally for its commitment to build environmental considerations into its business decisions. For additional information visit www.interface.com.

About ZSL Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realized through our groundbreaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information visit www.zsl.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.