Imagine a tonne of garbage. That should be quite easy. Now, imagine that tonne of garbage being transformed into enough high-quality yarn to create about 1,000 m2 of carpet. That’s not quite as easy to imagine, but we assure you it’s possible. What’s even better is that those 1,000 m2 of carpet will once again become the raw material for new products someday. Al Jazeera captured a unique and inspiring story that makes you think. It may only be the story of one nature conservation initiative, one company and its brand, but it’s a remarkable journey. The product may not be a status symbol, customers aren’t waiting in line to buy it, and teenagers don’t know the song from the commercial — but, in spite of all this, it is undoubtedly a great success story.,. It is all about a global and sustainable story. This article will show you just how profitable sustainable management can be.
Global problems need solutions
You will probably agree that water pollution, particularly in oceans and seas, is an issue that concerns all of us. It is a global problem. Ghost fishing is a big part of the problem, as non-degradable and exceptionally tough fishing nets are destroying marine life. Because there is no real solution to this problem, the number of nets in the oceans and seas is constantly increasing. The nets are either lost, stolen discarded, or get caught on the reefs and the fishermen have no other choice but to leave them in the water. These nets represent deadly traps for marine animals of all sizes, causing them to suffer great pain and a terrible death.
What is sad is that there is no systematic means to avoid the ever-growing number of discarded and lost nets. The need for food is also constantly growing due to the rapidly increasing number of inhabitants of our planet, which in turn drives up the intensity of fishing. Clearly, nature conservation organizations cannot solve such a large problem on their own. We need to find systematic solutions — we use the plural here because we believe there has to be more than one way of solving this problem on multiple levels.
This is where our story begins. The Healthy Seas Initiative was founded as a non-governmental organization in collaboration with two other companies. Other companies have since joined, allowing the organization to operate on two key levels. The Initiative uses various awareness-raising activities to promote the issue and actively engage local fishing communities and the fishing industry. With joint forces, they have successfully collected thousands of discarded and lost fishing nets in a number of countries around the world including but not limited to Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain. What they are collecting is actually waste. And though this is commendable work, it is only the beginning.
Knowledge is progress
Despite the enormous amount of knowledge mankind has been able to accumulate throughout its history, it’s a sad fact that this very knowledge has often caused harm to our habitat. Businesses primarily use their knowledge for their own growth and development, while failing to take all the factors into consideration. One of the most important factors is surely the environment. Growth means more pollution, and businesses all too often forget that there are certain limits to their growth — one such limit is the environment itself.
The question is, how can businesses apply their knowledge to reduce their impact on the environment? And why would they even embark on such a complex and long-term process? The answer to these questions lies in our company, Aquafil (the owner of the brand ECONYL®), where discarded fishing nets — that is, waste — are processed and regenerated into new products. In this way, waste becomes a raw material! And the best part is that there is no danger of the supply ever running out. The use of this material does not cause pollution, but instead is a systematic solution to another problem.
Using a completely new chemical process, we obtain a substance called caprolactam from discarded fishing nets and use it to produce Nylon 6. The Nylon 6 we make is just as high-quality as any other Nylon 6 but ours is made from waste and can be endlessly processed and regenerated.
This example demonstrates how, by applying their knowledge and expertise, advanced businesses are capable of reigning in a problem to find a solutions with the help of chemistry, physics, advanced technology, etc.
Sustainable management is the solution
Sustainability has become a buzzword as of late. It seems to be popular to talk about sustainability and there are a lot of successful sustainable projects, yet there is still a lot of greenwashing. One good solution to the issue of sustainability is a circular economy based on the premise that resources are limited and takes a comprehensive approach to the way it operates. This concept also follows the ethical principle that we have a duty to preserve the world for future generations. We can best mimic nature with sustainable operations, as, just as in nature, everything goes in a circle. This natural law is only broken by humans, who do not even notice that by hurting the environment, they are in fact hurting themselves.
Aquafil’s sustainability figures prove just how effective these practices can be.
In his interview for the article by Al Jazeera, president and CEO of Aquafil S.p.A. Giulio Bonazzi said, “When you are sustainable, your business is also more successful and more profitable.” It sounds strange and a little crazy, but the example of our high-quality ECONYL® shows that it makes more sense than it seems at first glance. We just need to start thinking differently.
Sustainable management and sustainable business models lead to greater competitiveness. This is why it is becoming more and more necessary for companies that haven’t caught on yet to rethink their business models if they wish to become even more successful in the future.
Watch the video and see for yourself:
Al Jazeera captured an inspiring story that makes you think. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the story actually inspired people to take action and make real changes in commercial processes.