Marine Plastics – the role of the supply chain

The Attenborough effect. Turning the tide on plastics. The plastic pledge. Call it what you will, our awareness of marine plastics and the negative impact they’re having on the world we live in has never been greater. Not only have individuals been motivated to change their behaviour, but governments and businesses are also sitting up, paying attention and taking action.

It’s fair to say that contributing to a more sustainable future is nothing new for Interface, it’s something we’re continually striving for. Our Net-Works® programme, which turns discarded fishing nets into yarn for our carpet tiles whilst empowering communities, and our engagement with NextWave, an initiative set up to tackle ocean-bound plastics at scale, are testament to this. During this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, we convened a group of experts to discuss, debate and answer questions on what part the supply chain can play in tackling marine plastics.

Marine Plastics Panel

The Time is Now

National Geographic’s Paul Rose described the current situation as a “sweet spot”. A perfect opportunity to act before people feel exhausted by the issue and there’s no question that he’s hit the proverbial nail on the head.

On the surface of it, at the moment, there’s an element of choice in how businesses deal with the issue of plastics. The government’s Environment Plan pledges to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042. That’s still 25 years away and critics of the proposals are disappointed by the lack of legislation behind them. Many businesses do see the value in taking immediate action and I believe that’s a necessity, we can’t look back in 10 years and see this as a missed opportunity.

Who is Driving Change?

Paul Rose believes the “smart money” is in the supply chain and designer Claire Potter says the best brands will not just focus on creating a great end product, but also on educating people and thinking about the social aspects of what a product can really do. Anna Birney, director at Forum for the Future, says most companies will talk about business models as driving change, but she says it must go further than that. She says firms need to take risks to tackle the issue of plastics and to do that they must understand where trends are going in order to make sure they will be profitable not only today, but in the future.

Marine Plastics

Our Mission

At Interface we believe in making better products and improving our planet. One of the key pillars of our Climate Take Back™ mission is to, Live Zero, to aim for zero negative impact on the environment. This means eliminating the concept of “waste” and ensuring we close every loop, so that resources can be used again and again. We’ll start with others’ waste, make it beautiful, and then bring it back at end of life to be reused, recycled or repurposed. In doing so, we’ll work together with our customers and suppliers to create a climate fit for life.

Watch the panel and I in action here.

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