The Business Logic of Sustainability
Ray Anderson, who passed away in August 2011, was founder and chairman of Interface Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. He was "known in environmental circles for his advanced and progressive stance on industrial ecology and sustainability.
Anderson first turned his focus toward the environment in 1994 when he read The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken, seeking inspiration for a speech to an internal task force on the company’s environmental vision. Hawken argues that the industrial system is destroying the planet and only industry leaders are powerful enough to stop it.
In 2009, Anderson estimated that Interface was more than half-way towards the vision of “Mission Zero,” the company’s promise to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by the year 2020, through the redesign of processes and products, the pioneering of new technologies, and efforts to reduce or eliminate waste and harmful emissions while increasing the use of renewable materials and sources of energy.
He was featured several documentaries and films, such as The Corporation, (2004), The 11th Hour (2007) and others. He received a host of accolades throughout his life, including: Time’s Hero of the Environment and Forbes Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year. Under his leadership, GlobeScan listed Interface #1 in the world for corporate sustainability.