Redefining Metrics for a Carbon Negative Future

Here at Interface, we recently released our 2019 Sustainability Highlights, which convey much of the progress we’ve made toward minimizing our environmental impact since we began tracking key metrics in 1996.

While we share a similar overview each year, our 2019 metrics are something to celebrate – not only because we announced the achievement of Mission Zero last November, but because we adopted a new approach to calculating our sustainability metrics in 2019 that more closely aligns with our Climate Take Back™ mission. This new approach redefines our sustainability metrics in two significant ways:

  • First, our metrics now measure the total carbon impact of our business, including Scope 3 emissions as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This is a significant shift because, like most companies, our Scope 3 emissions make up the majority of our total carbon impact. Many experts increasingly view the tracking of Scope 3 emissions as essential to measuring a company’s full carbon footprint, and we’re proud to be among the pioneering companies adopting this approach.
  • Second, we’ve made another step forward in the integration of nora® rubber flooring and Interface. Beginning with our 2019 Sustainability Highlights, our metrics will be enterprise wide – encompassing the total carbon impact for all of the emissions associated with our business and factoring our nora brand into our calculations.

This is an exciting moment for Interface, as these shifts in approach signal that we are embarking on a new aspect of our sustainability journey.

Total Carbon Impact

We first need to look back at what we measured in the past in order to understand our new approach. Since 1996, our carbon emissions metrics focused predominantly on our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Scope 1 includes direct emissions, such as our use of natural gas and propane in manufacturing, while Scope 2 consists of indirect emissions that result from the production of electricity and other power sources used by Interface.

As of 2019, we are now including Scope 3 emissions, which come from sources that are out of our direct control. This category includes emissions from the creation of our raw materials, from customer use and cleaning of our products, and from end-of-life treatment of our products.

Although we have accounted for most of our raw material emissions for years in our Carbon Neutral Floors™ program, in 2019 we expanded our metrics to include all Scope 3 emissions. This move is unique for our industry and is at the forefront of sustainability metrics reporting in general. Because Scope 3 emissions represent the bulk of our total carbon footprint, publicly reporting them provides increased transparency into our progress as we work toward becoming a carbon negative enterprise by 2040.

As business management expert Peter Drucker famously said, “what gets measured, gets managed.” By measuring and understanding our Scope 3 emissions, we can better develop strategies to address these emissions that involve engaging with our suppliers and partnering with them to find creative and innovative solutions. Together we can have an even bigger positive impact, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help reverse global warming.

Inclusion of nora® rubber flooring

When we acquired nora® rubber flooring in 2018, we understood that we would need to build on our 25-year-long sustainability journey and apply those lessons to our new rubber business. With last year being the first full year post-acquisition, our 2019 Sustainability Highlights mark the first time that we included our nora manufacturing site and products in our calculations. Of course, this presents a different picture than past data that focused only on our carpet tile manufacturing; however, we believe in continuing to be transparent and in using our knowledge and expertise to accelerate progress.

Overall, adding our nora business to our annual sustainability metrics allows us to better understand our total impact on the environment. As time passes, we look forward to implementing new projects and to making significant progress. Already, we have had some wins, such as achieving the use of 100% renewable electricity at every one of our Interface and nora manufacturing sites.

Looking to the Future

Moving forward, our 2019 metrics will serve as our baseline figures to measure our progress toward our goal of becoming a carbon negative enterprise. We will also continue to track our improvement in areas like energy efficiency, waste, and water use. We invite you to join us on this new path as we chronicle our efforts to create a climate fit for life.

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