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Special Project

Special Project
From the 4th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

#ReefCycle - Reef Fishing Net Transformed From "Dangerous" to "Desirable" Sunglasses

Finalist in Business-NGO


It all started when WWF-Australia supporters helped to remove the last commercial gill net operating in the northern Great Barrier Reef

From this, WWF and VisionDirect created a unique partnership, based on the shared ambition to make a difference in ocean plastics. This led to the concept of ReefCycle sunglasses - an upcycling solution for commercial gill nets.

Historically, products have been produced according to a linear economy. This means a manufacturer will use new raw materials to make a product which a consumer then purchases and eventually disposes. Products are designed for convenience and more often than not, without any consideration for waste or disposal. 

In the case of ReefCycle, this upcycling process not only takes something once deadly to marine life and transforms it into a new sustainable product but also reduces the dependence on virgin plastic production and minimises waste.

This is just the start. Our joint aim is to create enough momentum so we can continue to transform problematic ocean plastics into sustainable sunglasses all over the world.

Strategy and Execution


Our partnership began when VisionDirect purchased the last full-time commercial gill net from Charlotte’s Bay which WWF supporters helped retire. Together, we share a vision of supporting one of the largest havens for marine life in the world.

We are venturing to re-purpose 100% of this gill net into sustainable sunglasses.

The net is shipped, shredded and melted into pellets and injected into our specially built mould. The sunglasses are finished by hand before the final branding components are added, the frame undergoes Quality Control, and lenses are fitted to the frame.

Unique Selling Point:

We need to get 1,000 pre-orders to go to production. We’ve designed two models, so people can pre-order their pairs of sunglasses for $89 or polarized for $139.

Each frame is made 100% out of the upcycled gill netting. Every pair purchased will be engraved with the Arise Collective and WWF logos. On top of that, each pair will also be embossed with a marine animal people are saving, whose futures depend on the haven for dugongs in the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Within the first 1000 pairs, people can personalize their pair of sunglasses with their favorite animals among dugong, turtle, dolphin, hammerhead, and sawfish.

Doing so, we tried to create an emotional connection from the supporters to the animals they love.


In terms of packaging, besides the sunglasses upcycled 100% from the gill nets, there are a pouch, a box and a brochure. 

Pouch - Made from 100% Recycled Post-Consumer Plastic bottles

The pouch is made entirely from post-consumer plastic bottles that have been collected, washed, chopped, melted and made into yarn. This yarn is used to make a Recycled Polyester fabric including a fleece lining, which we have converted into a pouch.

Box and Brochure - Made from FSC 100% Material

Meaning you can be sure that you’re supporting a product that has not been manufactured at the expense of the forest, or the animals, plants, and people who rely on it. 


Being a partnership between one of the top eyewear retailers in the industry and the largest wildlife conservation organization in the world, we had in-house marketing professionals that together developed a comprehensive marketing plan.

Key timeline:

The key messages of the marketing surrounded touching feelings of the supporters and the animals that are drowning by gillnets every day. Raising consciousness and getting enough pre-orders are the goals of our marketing campaign. The more the orders, the more fund is raised for future environmental protection activities, which means more animal lives will be saved.


We exceeded our goal of 5 million reaches and 1000 pre-orders. Some key channels and highlights are:

Emails were sent to targeted supporter segments on both WWF and VisionDirect's eDM database, in which, WWF database has 900,000 subscribers and VisionDirect database contributes 200,000 subscribers. Our landing pages received a huge surge amount of traffic during July and August, with a total 1.05 million traffic.

Online Coverage

In total, there are 259 placements on online news sites and journals with a total of 3.7 million views. Highlight includes:

National TV and Radio Broadcast:

Some national TV News and Radio broadcasted about #ReefCycle like WIN TV - Townsville & Central Qld, 9 News, 10 News Brisbane and ABC radio's Brisbane morning show. Examples here. The estimated view is 978,000.

With enough pre-orders, we're going to the production phase. In the end, 50% of the profit will be contributed to WWF to continue their environmental conservation activities. This has raised considerable consciousness on oceanic issues and helped to create a haven for marine life.

Being confident with the success of this partnership, we're going globally with the ultimate goal of transforming problematic ocean plastics into sustainable sunglasses.


Video for #ReefCycle - Reef Fishing Net Transformed From "Dangerous" to "Desirable" Sunglasses

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