Designer’s recycled furniture wins awards
WHILE world leaders gathered in Paris this December for the UN Climate Change Conference or Conference of Parties (COP21), a Cebuano company is steadfastly proving that while fighting climate change may be hard, it is truly possible.
Pete and Cathy Delantar founded Nature’s Legacy Eximport Inc. in 1996 with sustainability as part of their business core values.
When they cleared up the space for their factory in Compostela, Cebu province, Cathy didn’t want to burn up the dried leaves, twigs and other debris they gathered.
Instead, they turned it into Naturescast, now an award-winning lightweight material that can be shaped or sculpted into customizable, multitextured and genuinely sustainable products such as chairs, vases, wall art and other home furnishings. Many of their furniture designs can be seen in top hotels and celebrity homes around the world.
Their quest for sustainable business and design all began when the Delantars were looking for products to include in their decor and garden design market.
“We wanted to simulate natural-looking stone using minimal materials,” shares Pete.
The result was Stonecast, a lightweight material handmade from natural crushed stone.
This material is then dry-stamped into molds of different-sized pots and vases, similar to how the earth makes limestone, while ensuring its durability.
The resulting elegantly designed products enhance indoor and outdoor spaces. It became much sought-after both here and abroad.
True to their commitment to sustainability, their proprietary-binder formula turns what others consider as “scrap” into beautiful home decor, accessories and furniture, which they now export to over 41 countries.
Using the same eco-saving methods, they even launched Floreia, a fashion jewelry line that is also being exported to over 28 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, United Arab Emirates and Japan.
Naturescast also caught the attention of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC), a US-based nonprofit balanced coalition of industry players created to promote sustainable practices among manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
They have invited Pete to be a founding member. (He would also be the first and only Filipino ever invited by the SFC.)
One of Nature’s Legacy’s latest products is Nucast, a sturdy material made from recycled papers but has no volatile organic compounds—which means it is ideal for indoor spaces and safe from emissions that harm the environment.
Their newest innovation is the G-SKIN, an interior wall material made to look like bamboos, leather or cement.
“My invention is so simple yet very practical. I wish every Filipino would be encouraged to invent something out of nothing … from things we take for granted or consider scrap, castaway or of no value,” says Pete.
“We must keep looking, keep experimenting,” he adds.
This year marks another milestone for the Cebuano inventor and Nature’s Legacy, when their entry called “Molded Coarse Particle Product with Cast Paper-Based Reinforcement” bested over 800 top inventors and participants from all over the world at the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland.
Pete is now the first and only Filipino to receive the prestigious 2015 Gold Invention Award.
“This award means a lot to us, and especially to the Philippines. We were the only Filipino representatives,” says Pete.
“It tells the rest of the world that the Philippines still has innovations and inventions, otherwise they will just forget about us. Being the only Filipino representative, we are proud to have won the award for our country. It is a milestone for our company as well, confirming that what we have created is indeed noble and original,” he adds.
Nature’s Legacy adheres to high ethical standards and best manufacturing practices, and they also strive for less carbon footprint—by providing affordable housing to their employees so they can walk or carpool to the factory.
These are just a few of the ways they prove that their commitment to fight climate change goes hand-in-hand with their desire to make their employees’ lives better.
The company also regularly reaches out to communities within their vicinity through the Nature’s Legacy Foundation, which became a recipient of the Child Friendly Award from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. in coordination with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines and the International Labor Organization.
Through the foundation, they are able to involve the community in caring for the environment.
Pete and Cathy’s children are also involved, in different aspects and in their own ways, in either the family business or in environment-friendly projects.
“From the age of about 8 years old onward, we would bring our children during weekends to our factory, so they could understand and see what we were doing,” says Pete.
“We wanted them to see for themselves how we are saving the environment, recycling or upcycling what others consider as waste materials, and utilizing time and transportation by carpooling. Those little things that they learned every day, became part of their daily life. It has become a lifestyle.”
The Delantars believe that a culture of sustainability should be encouraged and taught to as many communities in the Philippines as possible.
In a country rich with natural resources that need to be protected for future generations, being the third worst plastic offender in the world is a trend that needs to be reversed.
Pete believes that now is the best time for local government units, corporations and companies to work together in order to take concrete steps toward sustainable development.
“Can you imagine how much the government is spending just to clean our canals and waterways? Or garbage that isn’t even segregated? Going green is really a mind-set.
If we want to sustain our environment, we must do our share. We can start small—like segregating trash and then adding more value later on, like eliminating something that isn’t good for our environment,” says Pete.
“We need to educate our people on how to do it, and help them to understand and feel that we are all part of the Earth that we need to save,” he adds.
“If we here in Cebu can do it, so can the rest of the Philippines.”
Nature’s Legacy products are available “made to order” or custom-made. Selected items are available at their new showroom in Manila: D+M Showroom located at 2308 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.
(For more information about Nature’s Legacy, please visit www.natureslegacy.com. For inquiries, please contact 0917-6204138, 0939-9196780 or (032) 4258399, or e-mail [email protected])
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