Big Change Begins with Little Actions

Jarami Bond

In June, Interface announced the bold next phase of our sustainability journey. It’s a commitment to reversing global warming; we call it “Climate Take Back.” As we engage the world in this mission, we recognize that to make progress, everything, no matter how big or small, counts. Micaiah Jones, our 2016 Interface Scholar, emerging change agent and Foresight Prep participant understands this and is an embodiment of what our mission is about.

Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College is an enriching program that provides high school students with an opportunity to explore their interests in social and environmental sustainability while cultivating the tools needed to excel scholastically and professionally. I had the opportunity to chat with Micaiah about her growing passions and experience at Foresight.

Micaiah Jones

As an aspiring entrepreneur and developing change agent, Micaiah was attracted to the Foresight Prep program due to her desire to better understand the integration of sustainability into business. But her journey didn’t begin there.

In 8th grade Micaiah enrolled in Earth Science, a course that exposed her to the array of environmental issues that our world faces. She remembers the day her instructor showed her pictures of garbage patches in the ocean and communities ravaged by pollution. These images “struck a chord” with Micaiah, completely altering her worldview and inspiring her search for solutions. Initially, Micaiah was overwhelmed by the weight of the issues. She often asked herself, “What could a young high school student do to address these dire issues?”

Instead of growing passive, Micaiah embarked on a quest to change the world. She immediately began performing independent research on the remedying of issues caused by increasing ocean acidity, the destruction and rebuilding of the ozone layer and innovations in renewable energy. To continue investing in her personal education and to begin putting her passion into motion, Micaiah joined her high school’s Environmental Club. Through this experience Micaiah spread awareness about the importance of recycling by creating and posting informative signs and emphasizing the locations of designated recycling bins around her school. Micaiah also came in 2nd place in her school’s science fair. Her project was centered on developing social strategies to increase bike ridership, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are derived from automobiles. Active in her community, Micaiah also participates in several annual food and clothing drives that support Syrian refugees and Washington D.C.’s homeless.

Micaiah Jones biking

Getting a global perspective: Micaiah Jones studied the Zhangjiajie mountains in China.

When I asked Micaiah what her first step is in changing the world, she answered, “Big change begins with little actions. Most people can’t define sustainability. The first step is to bridge the gap and help society understand what sustainability is and then show them the small behaviors they can adopt in order to get involved in the movement.”

Micaiah valued her experience at Foresight Prep because it went beyond the classroom and afforded her and her fellow students, valuable, hands-on experiences that helped her understand “the different shapes sustainability can take.” Additionally, she was able to work toward developing skills such as project management and team leadership. Micaiah also appreciated the instructors’ passion and commitment to her success. Hearing Micaiah enthusiastically elaborate about how much she enjoyed her time at Foresight Prep, I asked her to share what she thought current professionals need to know about the sustainability leaders of tomorrow.

She answered that today’s professionals need to know that the sustainability leaders of the future are invested and have a long-term commitment to ensuring that future generations experience a better world than present and past generations. She also encouraged today’s sustainability professionals to create and connect with programs like Foresight Prep and offer internship opportunities, all contributing to the education, growth, and development of students who seek to, as Ray Anderson once said, “brighten their corner of the world.”

As Interface embarks on its new journey from negative to positive via Climate Take Back, we believe that everyone can contribute. The problems we face were not created overnight or by just one person. Their solutions will likewise require time and a team effort. From the designer who asks, “How can I transform this space for the better?” to tomorrow’s change-agents like Micaiah Jones, every one of us can be a part of the movement.

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A Macro Look at Twist & Shine Micro

Mandy Leeming

Fresh and sophisticated, Twist & Shine Micro is a monolithic microtuft that creates a seamless aesthetic for a perfect, broadloom-like appearance. This modern look from Europe is comprised of 12 colorways, including 4 brights and 8 natural colors that can be used alone or paired with our other products to create inspirational interiors.

Twist & Shone Micro

Twist & Shine Micro is a monolithic microtuft carpet tile with a perfect broadloom-like appearance.

So, what’s a microtuft?
Twist & Shine Micro has a densely tufted, low, level loop construction and looks like a hybrid between hard and soft flooring. It’s made with a special yarn that uses a proprietary color-twist technique. This provides the organic sense of movement we see with yarn-dyed fibers but with all the benefits of solution dye. It also creates a subtle, irregular pattern in the carpet tiles (without the need for a complex construction) and adds a bit of shimmer that makes this flawlessly smooth floor a bit more reflective.

Twist & Shine Micro installed

Twist & Shine Micro – a terrific broadloom impersonation from a carpet tile.

Its beauty is not just skin deep
Twist & Shine Micro is precision machined at one of the most sustainable plants in the world – our Scherpenzeel facory in The Netherlands – with 100% recycled content yarn and a recycled PVB precoat. This helps decrease its environmental impact, making this product not just good-looking, but more sustainable.

It’s simply understated, and that’s the beauty of Twist & Shine Micro.

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Insights from Foresight

Jarami Bond

The youth of today are tomorrow’s sustainability champions. One very cool part of my job at Interface involves sharing the Interface sustainability journey with this next generation of leaders. I recently had the opportunity to share Interface’s mission as well as my personal journey to sustainability and collegiate success with a group of students at Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College.

Led by Peter Nicholson of Foresight Design, Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College is a program that offers a diverse set of high school students concerned about social and environmental issues the opportunity to better understand and realize their personal and professional potential and capacity for positive impact. Over the course of a summer, students engage in experiential learning, networking opportunities with sustainability leaders and community activists, and transformative projects.

Foresight Prep class

Sustainability coordinator Jarami Bond (on screen) speaks with students in the Foresight Prep program.

After my visit with the Foresight Prep students, I had the honor of awarding one of Foresight Prep’s shining student leaders and the 2016 Interface Scholar, Micaiah Jones, with a scholarship that will go toward funding her program participation.

As a passionate advocate for inclusive youth leadership development, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with Foresight Prep’s students. Throughout the entire experience, they were all very engaged and inquisitive. It was easy to sense their authentic passion and endless potential. Equipping our youth with the tools needed to impact the environment and society positively is one of the major keys to unlocking a sustainable future. Investing time and resources in diversity-focused programs like Foresight catalyzes tomorrow’s sustainability champions, transforming curiosity into action.

More about Foresight Prep:
Highlights from the 2016 program.

Sustainability Insight
91% of students agreed the program increased their understanding of the systemic nature of sustainability issues with 97% agreeing it increased their knowledge of effective strategies for creating change.

Leadership
94% of students agreed the program helped them identify and articulate their leadership potential.

Diversity
62% of students were people of color, a 20% increase from 2015. 80% of all students received some form of financial assistance to enable their participation. 100% of students agreed the program helped them better understand the impact of sustainability issues on diverse communities.

College & Career
98% of students agreed the program increased their desire to integrate sustainability into their future education and career paths.

Network
100% of students treasured the relationships they’d formed with peers, faculty, and sustainability leaders.

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Feeling Good, Working Well

Jean Nayar

In the relocation of its Toronto corporate office, Meridian Credit Union’s transition team worked closely with designers Bullock + Wood and Interface to craft new offices that emphasize and support the well-being of its employees.

Meridian Financial

As Ontario’s largest credit union, Meridian knows well what it takes to help its members grow. And in the process of supporting more than a quarter of a million people enriching their lives and their businesses from Windsor to Ottawa, the community-centric credit union has also grown and now employs more than 1,500 people in several branches and various commercial and corporate offices throughout the region. So when the employees who worked at its Toronto-based corporate office began to outgrow their space in a building in the downtown core several years ago, Meridian applied the same business ethos it relies on to support its Members as the driving force behind the design of a new office environment that would reinforce the well-being of its employees and help them to function effectively.

Meridian Financial

The Meridian team chose a mix of nature-inspired Interface carpet tile as the launching point for the entire design of the office space.

“As we undertook a location search five years ago, we made the decision that moving out of the core was more aligned with who we were as a community credit union,” says Sandy Brown, vice president of real estate and property management for Meridian. As a result, the company relocated this corporate office to suburban Toronto West to be closer to the community it serves as well as to its sister corporate office in St. Catharines. “Our functional goals included creating an environment that linked to our evolving business, supporting our employees’ well-being from a social and physical perspective, and reflecting our leadership and cultural values,” says Claudine Chess, senior human resources business partner for Meridian. Among the plus points of the new light-filled 33,000-square-foot space the company chose for the 150 Toronto corporate office employees were expansive views of the nearby surroundings, including greenery, Lake Ontario, and the Toronto skyline in the distance. Situated on the 6th and 7th floors of a 1980s LEED Gold certified building, the offices were also in a place where Meridian “could stake claim,” says Chess, noting that “Meridian was founded on the idea of neighborhood banking,” and the new setting would allow easy access to the people who lived in condos or worked in small businesses or for commercial developers nearby.

Meridian Financial

Recognizing that the extended commute to the new office setting would likely meet with resistance among many of the employees, the transition team involved in spearheading the design of the new offices was keen on creating spaces that would inspire a sense of comfort and well-being for the employees—especially those who would have to travel an hour or more to get to work. So designing an appealing environment with varied spaces and tools to ease various work-related tasks was critical. “We wanted them to have choices with equipment like headsets or sit-stand workstations, because in today’s work environment sitting is thought of as the new smoking and we wanted employee well-being to be front and center,” says Chess. Since many of the company’s mobile workers often work from home as well as the office, they also wanted to include characteristics that would echo a home environment. “From a wellness perspective we relied on an analogy to inform the design, which offered a choice of spaces that you’d intuitively use for different kinds of tasks in a home,” says Chess. “A dining table for concentrated work, for example, or a comfortable chair for reflective reading, or room to pace around during a conference call.”

Meridian Financial

Employees are encouraged to walk the “Meridian Mile,” outlined throughout the office by Interface Off Line carpet tile.

Another essential ingredient for the team, who worked with Toronto-based interior designers Bullock + Associates on the design of the new offices, was to support a sense of well-being by embracing the uplifting influence of nature beyond the light, greenery, and inspiring views. Interestingly, the team had been introduced to Interface products and the underlying point of view that drives its designs, and they chose to rely on a mix of its nature-inspired carpets as the launching point for the entire design of the office space. “Early on in the design phase we were presented with Interface’s Human Nature™ collection of products and we fell in love with the sustainability story behind the line and used it to inspire the look of our whole office,” says Brown. “We also saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to communities,” adds Sarah Rea, Meridian’s senior manager of corporate social responsibility, noting that the building’s LEED Gold environmental standard and the materials choices in the office align to the goals the company aims to achieve.

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Talking “Negative to Positive” at Greenbuild 2016

Interface

Join us at Greenbuild in Los Angeles as we talk about our Negative to Positive journey and our new mission, Climate Take Back. 
October 5-7 | Booth 1443 | Los Angeles Convention Center

We’re proud to be a Gold Sponsor. If you aren’t attending the show, you can follow us virtually using #ClimateTakeBack

GreenbuildDon’t miss these Interface experts and friends during Greenbuild:


Wednesday, October 5
8:00 am – 10:00 am | A01 – Nature Inspired Material Innovation: Factory as Forest (Outdoor)
Panelists
Erin Meezan, Chief Sustainability Officer, Interface Inc.
James Connelly, Director of Living Product Challenge at International Living Future           Institute
Nicole Miller, Managing Director at Biomimicry 3.8

11:00 am – 12:30 pm | Executive Luncheon
Interface’s president and chief operating officer Jay Gould will be the featured speaker at this invitation only event.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | B01 – Biophilic Design: Achieving Broad Adoption (Outdoor)
Panelists
Bill Browning, Partner at Terrapin Bright Green
Amanda Sturgeon, CEO at International Living Future Institute
Vivian Loftness, University Professor & Paul Mellon Chair in Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University
Richard Piacentini, Executive Director at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Thursday, October 6
9am – 10am | D13 – The Shared City: The Sharing Economy in the Evolution of the City
Panelists
Chris Garvin, Partner at Terrapin Bright Green
Paolo Parigi, Associate Director at Stamford University
Erin Barnes, CEO / Co-Founder at ioby

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm | EL52 – BASF Presents: Material Ingredients
Panelists
Annie Bevan, VP, Certification Services at Green Circle Certified, LLC
David Green, Manager Applied Sustainability at BASF Corporation
Brent Trenga, Director of Education & Sustainability at Kingspan

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm | MT101 – Materials Think Tank at Greenbuild
Panelists
Mikhail Davis, Director of Restorative Enterprise at Interface, Inc.
Scot Horst, Chief Product Officer at U.S. Green Building Council
Mahesh Ramanujam, Chief Operating Officer at U.S. Green Building Council
Douglas Brown, Sustainability at BASF
Elizabeth Cassin, Senior Associate & Associate Unit Manager at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Friday, October 7
8:00 am – 9:00 am  | G12 – The Theory of Biophilia and the Practice of Biophilic Design
Panelists
Stephen Kellert, Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus at Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Elizabeth Calabrese, Principal Architect at Calabrese Architects, Inc.

11:00 am – 12:30 pm | Closing Plenary
Greenbuild’s closing plenary is always forward-thinking, asking “what’s next?” Our Erin Meezan will open the plenary followed by incoming USGBC CEO Mahesh Ramanujam and BIG founder Bjarke Ingels.

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm | Material Health Summit: Beyond the Tipping Point
958 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90015
Speakers
Lindsay James, Interface Vice President of Restorative Enterprise & Certified Biomimicry Professional
James Connelly, ILFI Living Product Challenge Director
Andrea Cooper, ILFI Declare Manager

 

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