Interface’s sustainability journey began in 1994 only one year after the founding of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and Ray Anderson recognized early on that our fates were intertwined. In fact Ray told his story at the very first public gathering of the USGBC in Big Sky, Montana in 1995. Interface sales reps from our early sustainability years recall that Ray would always ask about two things when he visited their territories: how are your sales and what are you doing to build the local USGBC chapter?
Today, the dozens of Interface associates who participate in Greenbuild each year must uphold the leadership legacy of Ray Anderson and Jim Hartzfeld, the first USGBC Chairman to come from Interface. We take our responsibility to lead the way to what’s next in the green building movement very seriously. While many building product manufacturers approach Greenbuild as an opportunity to sell products, we see Greenbuild as a critically important venue to sell the ideas we consider to be most important to the future of sustainability in our industry and the green building world. Every year, we use Greenbuild as our platform to launch new and provocative ideas in sustainability. Whether asking how to end our dependence on oil – “Off Oil” in 2009, championing Biophilic Design in 2012 or exploring frontiers beyond sustainability “Restorative Enterprise” in 2013, we continually expand the conversation beyond current mainstream thinking. And we use a variety of interactive and informative events and materials to get the conversation started.
This year more than 40 associates worked to make Greenbuild a success; including:
- Melissa Vernon, Interface’s Green Apple champion and Director of Sustainable Strategy, started Interface’s Greenbuild 2013 off with a bang by biking 250 miles from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia with the Center for Green Schools, USGBC Students and Emerging Professionals.
- Nadine Gudz, Interface Canada Director of Sustainable Strategy, carried her responsibilities for the USGBC Educational Programming Committee into the conference by coordinating and facilitating four special-set educational sessions.
- Mikhail Davis, Director of Restorative Enterprise, was Interface’s voice on the hot topic of transparency and healthy materials, speaking on two panels, facilitating another, and participating in the launch of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Manufacturer Advisory Panel.
- Erin Meezan, Interface Inc. VP of Sustainability, brought partnerships with the Zoological Society of London, Aquafil, the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and Carbon Canopy into the spotlight through key panel discussions.
Interface’s creative and marketing teams designed an ocean-themed booth showcasing Net-Works™ and Restorative Enterprise while managing no less than six separate in-booth and off-site events with an array of NGO and corporate partners.
And George Bandy, VP of Sustainability for Global Accounts, was all over Greenbuild, his time very much in demand as the incoming Chairman of the USGBC Board of Directors.
All this activity makes the show a huge production with hours and hours of planning, but it’s a great opportunity to give nearly 30,000 participants a taste of the work we do every day to show the world a better way to do business and to shift our industry toward sustainability. As the USGBC has fundamentally transformed the way we design, construct, operate and maintain our buildings, we are changing the way carpet manufacturers approach everything from creating products to supporting the communities in which they operate and service.
Thank you everyone who visited us at Greenbuild. We look forward to hearing what you thought and what you think is next in green building and manufacturing.