By Paul Johnson
Mermet Corporation was not content to create just any standard environmental stewardship program for the company. Instead, the Cowpens, S.C.-based innovative solar shade manufacturer went several steps further to create its Weaving Change initiative. The program is a broad-based movement that supports sound environmental textile manufacturing, resource conservation, environmental protection and charitable projects. But these projects and initiatives are not exclusively for Mermet; the company coordinates and supports these efforts with a variety of companies, organizations and individuals.
“We want to create this movement,” says Colin Blackford, director of strategy and innovation at Mermet. “We don’t want this to be all about Mermet. Instead, we want this to be an industry thing and we want to populate this hashtag. We also want to pat people on the back and say you’re weaving change. It’s a way for us to highlight all the good deeds that we want to do at the company and all the philanthropic actions that Mermet takes.”
Mermet, a subsidiary of Hunter Douglas, has instituted measures for positive environmental improvements. Many of the company’s leading solar textile products are based on recycled plastic products, so plastic is kept out of landfills and waterways. In addition, the company’s manufacturing methods have reduced carbon output and saved vital resources.
As a polyester textile manufacturer, Mermet is addressing plastic pollution. Part of the Weaving Change movement is the U-Turn beach and river clean-up project, and its goal is to remove plastic waste from coastlines and waterway areas. While a U-Turn project has not taken place yet in the U.S., Mermet has made waterway restoration a priority.
Developed in conjunction with many leading manufacturers, Mermet’s GreenScreen is an ecologically friendly and sustainable product that requires less energy to manufacture than competitive products. The Evolve and Revive solar screens are cradle-to-cradle Bronze-certified products, PVC-free and comply with the five quality categories—material health and reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water use efficiency and social fairness.
Within the Weaving Change movement, Mermet has provided GreenScreen products to Habitat for Humanity, and has donated to Special Olympics. In addition, it has also supported individuals who are pursuing environmental stewardship goals. Recently, Mermet donated $10,000 to environmental activist Jason Hallmark. After a recent multiple sclerosis diagnosis, his goal was to focus on the most important issues in his life, so he teamed up with the Climate Force Foundation and traveled to the Arctic. During the expedition, he saw and reported on the impact of climate change on the polar icecap.
According to a post on Hallmark’s Facebook page, “One way I plan to carry on my mission to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship is through my sponsorship with Mermet and its #WeavingChange movement. Since starting Weaving Change, Mermet has focused its efforts on charitable community work, protecting local ecology and making sustainable products. Moving forward I know we can Weave Change together and make the world a better place!”
Paul Johnson is a writer based in Minnesota.