In 2012, Interface and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) embarked on a unique partnership. It began with the question: how could a carpet tile help address inequality?

Interface wanted to source material in a way that would benefit communities as well as the environment. ZSL wanted to develop a new model of community-based conservation — one that would bring immediate benefits to local people and break the traditional cycle of donor dependency.

The result is Net-Works™ – an innovative business that empowers people in coastal communities in the developing world to collect and sell discarded nylon fishing nets, thereby removing these nets from the ocean where they wreak havoc with marine life. The nets are then recovered by Aquafil and regenerated with the ECONYL® Regeneration System into nylon yarn to make Interface’s carpet tiles.

The strength of the Net-Works™ partnership is in what the partners bring to the table. Interface provides business strategy, start-up capital and a global network. ZSL provides conservation expertise, local community organization and local partner development. And Aquafil provides an innovative regeneration process that recycles the nets into yarn.

The core team is dedicated to a long-term agreement: to work together to co-innovate an inclusive business model that can grow and scale. The Net-Works™ project started in the Philippines and is now also running in Cameroon. Net-Works™ is always working to identify additional locations around the world, secure funding and develop on-the-ground partnerships to help with implementation.

Since 2012:

142 metric tons of waste fishing nets were collected and recycled through the ECONYL® Regeneration System

1,500 families now have access to finance

62,000 people enjoying a healthier environment

On June 28th, Interface, the Zoological Society of London and Aquafil were named “Partnership of the Year” at the National Recycling Awards in London for their collaboration in the Net-Works™ initiative.

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.