In this blog series we’re catching up with our fantastic sustainability managers to give you a chance to get to know them and find out more about their work at Interface.
Here, we meet Ruth Prinzmeier, Sustainability Manager in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
Hi Ruth, tell us about your role at Interface.
My role covers a wide range of things. It involves supporting the sales teams and customers with information around the sustainability credentials of our products, as well as advising on sustainability strategies. I also represent Interface at talks and events in the DACH region, share the experiences from our sustainable journey and bring in the view of manufacturers to the local Non-Government Organisation (NGO) network about carbon and positive climate action.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Working across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, my day usually involves working closely with the sales and design teams to support them with questions around sustainability. I accompany the sales team, meet customers to find out more about their challenges and sustainability ambitions. This helps us to build a clearer picture of which flooring solutions will work for them. Furthermore, I work closely with Concept Design to create a connection between biophilic design and sustainability topics and cover news on sustainability in our internal communication and training.
What led to you taking this role?
In my previous roles I was responsible for change management, strategic projects, communication, supporting sales teams and stakeholders with new sustainability strategies. I gained experience in supporting sustainable decision-making and helping companies to develop a sustainability strategy as well as action plans. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to move into a role where I could bring all my skills and experience together as a Sustainability Manager. The opportunity at Interface is perfect for me as the company already has such a strong sustainability story and is a clear front runner in sustainable manufacturing. I’m so excited to be involved in its Climate Take Back™ journey and to be part of what comes next for the business.
What does Climate Take Back mean to you?
The mission gives my role a unique purpose. The concept and guidance for the responsible use of natural resources inspires our team, customers and suppliers to think about their role in reducing the global warming effects and to act now.
What is a favourite memory of working in sustainability at Interface?
I really enjoyed attending the latest conference in the Netherlands with the sales team. I had the opportunity to talk about important sustainable advancements for us as a company, including our CQuest™Bio backings, Carbon Neutral Floors™ and circular economic programs and why they’re important for helping our customers to reduce carbon and the ability to create impact at scale. It also gave me the opportunity to share the latest information about climate change in terms of what it means for the DACH region and Interface’s approach and plan for making a positive difference.
What do you find challenging?
Conversations and activities around sustainability are getting increasingly complex. The latest IPCC reports shows that humanity is running out of time to reduce the effects of climate change. At Interface, we’re constantly trying to keep our customers informed with updated information about sustainability. However, the building sector still has a long way when it comes to reaching its carbon targets. Therefore, we constantly need to make sure that we are articulating information around carbon and positive climate action in a clear, concise way to engage our customers, suppliers, the flooring industry and beyond.
Who inspires you in the sustainability/regenerative economy?
I particularly appreciate architects, interior designers and associations such as the DGNB, ÖGNI and ÖBU, who drive sustainable development in the building sector with innovative solutions – and usually go the extra mile to do so. They have great ideas on sustainability and clear visions and targets. They communicate these very well through their daily work and through talks and events with experts in the sector.
What are you most excited about this year?
I really looked forward to the launch of the Hospitality Collection. It will be great to introduce these beautiful new products to the market and have opportunities to speak to customers within this industry about how to create more sustainable interior spaces that meet current design trends and durability requirements.
Post COP26 do you feel optimistic about the role of business in tackling climate change?
Climate change is no longer just a threat to the future, it is a present problem. It is caused by the behaviour of human beings, but we have the expertise and techniques to reverse the effects. I am convinced that we get the curve – as we do not have no plan B or alternative for it. Every tenth of a degree helps in reducing the effects of global warming.
What is your top tip for designers and fellow sustainability professionals?
My top tip would be to always get to the point and back up what you’re saying with your actions. I think it’s important to be transparent with customers about sustainability credentials and to have databases, information and results available to measure exactly how products impact carbon emissions and other sustainability goals. For example, Interface has an environmental product declaration EPD nearly for all collections, giving our customers peace of mind that these products actively contribute towards their own sustainability goals.