“Life is replete with uncertainties. This I do know: When the year 2020 gets here, it will not mark the end of time. 2020 will mark a way station on the journey to fulfilling our company’s ultimate purpose. So I say to you – dream big. Work hard. Keep hustling. Do good, not just no harm. And have fun along the way. I will be with you every step of the way – in body, and then in spirit.”
Those were the words of Ray Anderson, our founder, in one of his last addresses to the Interface family prior to his passing in 2011. His intention was to inspire us to stay the course with Mission Zero, our goal to eliminate our negative impact on the environment by 2020. His true vision, of course, was for Interface to become restorative.
As we launch the world’s first cradle-to-gate carbon negative carpet tile today, I could not have predicted how his words would so perfectly capture the significance of our latest milestone.
Ray entrusted us to fulfill his legacy. It was our job to take Interface to the top of Mt. Sustainability. We made the rest of that climb and set a new moonshot goal to go even further with Climate Take Back, and to become a carbon negative enterprise by 2040.
And, here we are in 2020. A year for the history books, full of unexpected challenges, one that has tested us all in so many ways. Personally, I’ve experienced the incredible joy of becoming a grandparent for the first time this year, and at the same time, I’ve had many moments that have shaken me. I worry about all of us, and the future weighs heavily on me. We’re standing up to fight for social justice and human rights. We’re managing through a global pandemic. We’re witnessing and experiencing the effects of severe weather events displacing people from their homes and livelihoods. Weighty issues that impact us every day.
These challenges would more than create a reason for people to slow down or give up. At Interface, we have never given up on our journey through our many moments of truth – through economic downturns, other challenges and failures along the way. We have always invested in the future, tapping into our purpose to drive our sustainability mission forward. Not only for ourselves, but also for our industry, our customers, for future generations – for Tomorrow’s Child – and for the world.
With the launch of our new CQuest™ carbon negative backings, we’re challenging industry once again to bring forward restorative solutions. Our new carbon negative carpet tiles, measured from cradle to gate, store carbon. Storing carbon in our products keeps it out of the atmosphere where it contributes to global warming. These product developments advance our work to decarbonize the built environment and help us progress on our journey toward carbon negativity across the business.
This breakthrough has been years in the making. Our dedicated global Interface team — from R&D and manufacturing to product design and marketing — has worked hard to “walk the walk.” We created our carbon negative carpet tiles not just to meet our own sustainability objectives, but also for you — our A&D and end-user customers. Our goal is to help you specify high-design, low-carbon products to lower the carbon footprints of your projects and spaces. Ultimately, we want to help you fulfill your own sustainability goals.
Ray’s vision is coming to pass through all of our commitment and hard work, and I know he would be proud. 2020 is not the end. It most certainly is an important way station on our journey. We know our customers care, designers care, and the entire Interface family cares. We dreamed big, and we continue to do so. We’re proud to honor Ray’s legacy by doing good, not just no harm.
And I have just one question for you in this moment: Are you ready to join us?
CEO and Chairman, Interface