Exit
BACK TO ALL
Media Features

Nextevo founder Harold Koh is transforming the business of sustainable textiles and he is doing it onc pineapple at a time

By Coco Marett

Harold Koh has lived many lives. He previously held executive roles at General Motors and machinery firm Hiab for over a decade, before spending nine years as president and CEO of Indonesian fruit supplier Great Giant Pineapple.

“After I left Great

Giant, I was at a coffee shop by myself one day when I thought, you know what, all my life, I’ve been working for corporations.

If 1 ran my own business, would I succeed?” Koh says with a laugh. “I thought, I’m going to go for it and see what happens.”

Today, he is the founder and CEO of Nextevo, a sustainable fabric manufacturer producing ready-to-spin fabrics made from discarded pineapple leaves. “It wasn’t my idea to begin with,” he admits. “It started with a conversation with a friend, who happens to own one of the world’s top coconut producers in Indonesia, about the potential of using agricultural waste to produce textiles.”

Initially, Koh was not convinced. “I didn’t want to be a scrap dealer,” he jests.

But his interest was piqued.

After further thought and speaking with his contacts in the agricultural sector, Koh founded Nextevo.

“I didn’t know too much about coconuts,” he says. “But I came from pineapples and that’s what I wanted to start with.”From his time at

Great Giant Pineapple, Koh knew about the astronomical amount of waste produced after the fruits were harvested. “If we don’t use the leaves, they’ll all go to waste.

Either farmers will burn them or they’ll go to a landfill, creating more stress on the environment,” says Koh. “It’s a matter of how to value-add on things that are being thrown away, Pineapple leaves are a by-product. They don’t require extra land, water or fertilisers to produce.” The cotton-like fabric spun from the leaves can be used on everything from denims and sneakers to higher-end designer pieces and homeware. Koh and his team are hopeful Giant Pineapple, new about the nomical amount of produced after the s were harvested. “If lon’t use the leaves, ll all go to waste. er farmers will burn m or they’ll go to a dfill, creating more ess on the environment,” ys Koh. “It’s a matter of ow to value-add on things nat are being thrown way. Pineapple leaves are i by-product. They don’t require extra land, water or fertilisers to produce.” The cotton-like fabric spun from the leaves can be used on everything from denims and sneakers to higher-end designer pieces and homeware. Koh and his team are hopeful that consumers’ growing appetite for responsibly sourced materials and raw “earthcore” aesthetics will mean less harmful waste from the fashion industry-and more business for companies such as Nextevo, of course.

But Koh says the difference with Nextevo is its ability to do it at scale, thanks to his background in commercial farming.to his background in commercial farming.

“Oftentimes, those in the marketplace who want to use agricultural waste to make a product are people in design or branding-while talented, they don’t Have the knowledge or resources to source sufficient raw materials at the scale they need,” Koh explains, adding that his near-decade working with a big-scale farm such as Great Giant Pineapple helped foster relationships with similar-sized institutions around the globe, from Central America to South Africa, and Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“It’s all about scale.

By utilising (my contacts in] all these places, I can source at volume, “he says,Our job is to take any kind of agricultural waste at scale and transform it into products that offer brands and companies a sustainable alternative.”

As it turns out, agricultural waste is the gift that keeps giving, with Koh and his team continually discovering new ways to transform commonly discarded materials into high-quality Beyond sustainable textile innovation, Nextevo is in the process of producing biocomposite boards with thermal and acoustic insulation properties-useful for building interiors and automobiles—and even bioplastic, which Koh is particularly excited about, made using leftover residue from pineapple leaves.

“When we extract the fibres from the leaf, we have leftover residue, which makes up about 75 per cent of it,” he explains: “If we’re a truly sustainable zero-waste company, it’s not enough to take 25 per cent and call it a day. We have to think about that 75 per cent as well. Se I was insistent in finding a way to use this waste.”there. Nextevo is looking beyond pineapples at other types of agricultural waste, including coconut, rice and durian husks. Koh says the first step will be using bioplastic to produce single-use products such as cutlery and cups, before moving on to multi-use ones such as homeware.

“The world is simply using too much plastic,” he says. “We’re trying to change that.”

Through Nextevo, Koh is also hoping to positively impact social change for Southeast Asian farmers.

“Most farmers in Indonesia make about S$300 or S$400 on average per month and with this, they have to feed entire families,” he says.

“By creating employment in the region and increasing the average salary by 10 to 20 per cent, we want

e bain ioneee ofale”The world is simply using too much plastic,” he says. “We’re trying to change that.”

Through Nextevo, Koh is also hoping to positively impact social change for Southeast Asian farmers.

“Most farmers in Indonesia make about S$300 or S$400

on average per month and with this, they have to feed entire families,” he says.

“By creating employment in the region and increasing the average salary by 10 to 20 per cent, we want to help improve their economic status and overall quality of life. This is important to us.”

 

BACK TO ALL

One Mans Waste

13 May 2022
Yahoo Japan
Logo
Media Features

Nextevo founder Harold Koh is transforming the business of sustainable textiles and he is doing it onc pineapple at a time

By Coco Marett

Harold Koh has lived many lives. He previously held executive roles at General Motors and machinery firm Hiab for over a decade, before spending nine years as president and CEO of Indonesian fruit supplier Great Giant Pineapple.

“After I left Great

Giant, I was at a coffee shop by myself one day when I thought, you know what, all my life, I’ve been working for corporations.

If 1 ran my own business, would I succeed?” Koh says with a laugh. “I thought, I’m going to go for it and see what happens.”

Today, he is the founder and CEO of Nextevo, a sustainable fabric manufacturer producing ready-to-spin fabrics made from discarded pineapple leaves. “It wasn’t my idea to begin with,” he admits. “It started with a conversation with a friend, who happens to own one of the world’s top coconut producers in Indonesia, about the potential of using agricultural waste to produce textiles.”

Initially, Koh was not convinced. “I didn’t want to be a scrap dealer,” he jests.

But his interest was piqued.

After further thought and speaking with his contacts in the agricultural sector, Koh founded Nextevo.

“I didn’t know too much about coconuts,” he says. “But I came from pineapples and that’s what I wanted to start with.”From his time at

Great Giant Pineapple, Koh knew about the astronomical amount of waste produced after the fruits were harvested. “If we don’t use the leaves, they’ll all go to waste.

Either farmers will burn them or they’ll go to a landfill, creating more stress on the environment,” says Koh. “It’s a matter of how to value-add on things that are being thrown away, Pineapple leaves are a by-product. They don’t require extra land, water or fertilisers to produce.” The cotton-like fabric spun from the leaves can be used on everything from denims and sneakers to higher-end designer pieces and homeware. Koh and his team are hopeful Giant Pineapple, new about the nomical amount of produced after the s were harvested. “If lon’t use the leaves, ll all go to waste. er farmers will burn m or they’ll go to a dfill, creating more ess on the environment,” ys Koh. “It’s a matter of ow to value-add on things nat are being thrown way. Pineapple leaves are i by-product. They don’t require extra land, water or fertilisers to produce.” The cotton-like fabric spun from the leaves can be used on everything from denims and sneakers to higher-end designer pieces and homeware. Koh and his team are hopeful that consumers’ growing appetite for responsibly sourced materials and raw “earthcore” aesthetics will mean less harmful waste from the fashion industry-and more business for companies such as Nextevo, of course.

But Koh says the difference with Nextevo is its ability to do it at scale, thanks to his background in commercial farming.to his background in commercial farming.

“Oftentimes, those in the marketplace who want to use agricultural waste to make a product are people in design or branding-while talented, they don’t Have the knowledge or resources to source sufficient raw materials at the scale they need,” Koh explains, adding that his near-decade working with a big-scale farm such as Great Giant Pineapple helped foster relationships with similar-sized institutions around the globe, from Central America to South Africa, and Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“It’s all about scale.

By utilising (my contacts in] all these places, I can source at volume, “he says,Our job is to take any kind of agricultural waste at scale and transform it into products that offer brands and companies a sustainable alternative.”

As it turns out, agricultural waste is the gift that keeps giving, with Koh and his team continually discovering new ways to transform commonly discarded materials into high-quality Beyond sustainable textile innovation, Nextevo is in the process of producing biocomposite boards with thermal and acoustic insulation properties-useful for building interiors and automobiles—and even bioplastic, which Koh is particularly excited about, made using leftover residue from pineapple leaves.

“When we extract the fibres from the leaf, we have leftover residue, which makes up about 75 per cent of it,” he explains: “If we’re a truly sustainable zero-waste company, it’s not enough to take 25 per cent and call it a day. We have to think about that 75 per cent as well. Se I was insistent in finding a way to use this waste.”there. Nextevo is looking beyond pineapples at other types of agricultural waste, including coconut, rice and durian husks. Koh says the first step will be using bioplastic to produce single-use products such as cutlery and cups, before moving on to multi-use ones such as homeware.

“The world is simply using too much plastic,” he says. “We’re trying to change that.”

Through Nextevo, Koh is also hoping to positively impact social change for Southeast Asian farmers.

“Most farmers in Indonesia make about S$300 or S$400 on average per month and with this, they have to feed entire families,” he says.

“By creating employment in the region and increasing the average salary by 10 to 20 per cent, we want

e bain ioneee ofale”The world is simply using too much plastic,” he says. “We’re trying to change that.”

Through Nextevo, Koh is also hoping to positively impact social change for Southeast Asian farmers.

“Most farmers in Indonesia make about S$300 or S$400

on average per month and with this, they have to feed entire families,” he says.

“By creating employment in the region and increasing the average salary by 10 to 20 per cent, we want to help improve their economic status and overall quality of life. This is important to us.”

 

Related Articles