Monday, June 13, 2016

Bohol project among region’s
sustainable business models

TAGBILARAN CITY, June 10, (PIA) – It is almost like hitting two birds with one stone, but more appropriately it is netting as much in a single haul. 

A business venture fed by communities picking up discarded fishing nets from the seas and coastlines of Talibon and Bien Unido in Bohol attained as many in a haul: cleaner seas, healthier ecosystems and communities earning extra income and technology. 

Among the region’s sustainable business models showcased at the Negosyo, Konsumer At Iba Pa (NKATBP) at the Hotel Marco Polo in Cebu, Net Works Philippines, shared the limelight with the region’s most sustainable business models during the 3-day One Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Services. 

Net Works Philippines project manager Amado Blanco explained that the company envisioned a business that would help conserve and maintain a healthy marine and freshwater ecosystem in the country’s most environmentally critical area: the Danajon Double Barrie Reef areas. 

Often referred by conservationists as the center of the center of biodiversity, Danajon also feeds fishing communities who still need to internalize resource conservation and environment protection. 

Populated by large fishing communities who mostly use fishing nets in their fish gathering activities, Net Works also saw how discarded or abandoned torn nylon nets continue to damage reefs, even killing fish that still get entangled in them, Blanco shared. 

We have allocated a day for coastal clean up in September but we discard plastics to the seas 364 days, he noted. 

“Plastic debris in our oceans are damaging the ecosystem and nylon fishing nets represent a large portions of plastics in our oceans,” he said. 

Seeking out a new and better way of doing sustainable business and pitching in the goal of eliminating or cutting dependence on fossil fuel by switching to bio-based materials, Blanco said they put up their inclusive multi-sectoral social entrepreneurship in Net Works. 

The idea is simple as it is novel: create a family-traded supply chain for nylon fishing nets which uses an inclusive business model to benefit the poor communities and the environment. 

The system is simple: ask the community to gather discarded fishing nets, bring them to buying centers in their villages, and in turn they get paid. 

To sustain the buying operations, with ZSL Philippines, Net Works set up community banks and credit associations to respond to the biggest challenge: incentivize the collection and generate buy-ins. 

The collected nets are then baled, sent to a regional buying station which then ships it to Slovenia where a recycling happens making the nets into yarns. The yarns are then used a raw material for carpet tiles, which decorate the homes of the affluent. 

To Blanco, among the biggest gains of the project is the benefits it accrues to the community: cleaner coastlines, better ecosystems, alternative livelihood and setting up of a social infrastructure that is inclusive and enriching as they can get no-nonsense business advice from partners. 

With Net Works, DTI believes the business model can be used for other partners, where a crucial industry partner must bankroll some funds, strengthen memberships and social infrastructures, while designing more and more socially inclusive business systems. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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