We give special recognition for Ray Anderson, founder of Interface, maker of commercial carpet tile. He recognized the way we have traditionally created, operated and planned our enterprises in a short sighted method, often without regarded to the impact on our planet, was not the best approach. During his tenure, Mr. Anderson improved his company and his corporate web reflects that progress:
• Interface has a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy. As of 2010, eight of nine factories operated with 100% renewable electricity, and 30% of our total energy use was from renewable sources.
• We reduced our greenhouse gas emissions from our global manufacturing operations by 35% from our 1996 baseline through diverse strategies including process efficiencies, energy efficiencies (such as lighting and equipment replacement), fuel switching, and use of renewable energy.
• Our waste reduction efforts have resulted in a 76% decrease in total waste to landfills from our carpet factories since 1996.
• Interface has several facilities around the world certified by U.S. Green Building Council‘s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system, a third-party certification program that awards recognition for high performance green buildings.
• Quality Utilizing Employee Suggestions and Teamwork (QUEST) began in 1995 as a program to drive waste reduction efforts at our factories. It’s an employee-led system to define and eliminate waste. This allows for more optimal yarn usage and significantly less waste. It is estimated that the portable creels reduce scrap yarn up to 54%.
• All of our global factories have been certified to conform to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems. ISO 14001 helps us minimize the environmental impacts of our operations while working toward continuous improvement.
• Trees for Travel™ – Program designed to track and neutralize the carbon emissions from employee business air travel. Interface has planted more than 118,000 trees to neutralize the carbon emissions from business related air travel since this program started in 1997.
• Cool Fuel™ – Program to track and offset carbon emissions from company cars. Using money received from corporate fuel card rebates, Interface purchases certified carbon offsets to balance the carbon emissions of our corporate fleet. Interface has purchased 2.4 million gallons of Cool Fuel and retired over 27,000 metric tons of certified carbon offsets as a result of this program.
• Cool CO2mmute™ – Program offering Interface employees the opportunity to neutralize the emissions from their daily commutes and personal travel. Interface matches employee contributions to purchase tree plantings that neutralize carbon emissions from their commutes. Nearly 45,000 trees have been planted since this program began in 2002.
Mr. Anderson recognized that Sustainability was a change in leadership and the corporate culture. Since business models were none existent during the late 20th century, experimentation with ideas, methodologies and empowering his employees to become engrained in that philosophy was based on hard earned lessons learned. The message was embraced by everyone. One of his prized “awards” was given to him. It was a poem that was written by one of his employees, Glen Thomas, that made the point of why Sustainability is important to everyone:
Without a name; an unseen face
And knowing not your time nor place
Tomorrow’s Child, though yet unborn,
I met you first last Tuesday morn.
A wise friend introduced us two,
And through his shining point of view
I saw a day that would see
a day for you, but not for me.
Knowing you has changed my thinking,
For I never had an inkling
That perhaps the things I do
Might someday, somehow, threaten you.
Tomorrow’s Child, my daughter-son,
I’m afraid I’ve just begun
To think of you and of your good,
Though always having known I should.
Begin I will to weigh the cost
Of what I squander; what is lost
I should never forget that you
Will someday come to live here too.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said; “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I think Ray Anderson would probably agree.