As industry pushes civilization to new heights, the world we live in is globalizing, disrupting, selling and consuming more than ever before. However, with these successes, the unintended environmental consequences of industrialization continue to negatively impact the climate, resulting in an urgent need to change how we do business.
Interface is committed to operating in a way that is restorative, meaning we do good, rather than just less harm to people and the planet. This awe-inspiring journey began in 1994 when we embarked on Mission Zero®, our commitment to transform our business to have zero negative impact on the planet by 2020. It was a big shift for a flooring manufacturer to start a journey toward sustainability. In fact, we set a goal of zero when others were just beginning to think about their environmental impacts. We knew it was aspirational and would require us to dramatically change our thinking and business – however, we knew it meant transforming our shared future.
Mission Zero and Climate Take Back – our current phase of change making – require us to create and adopt new business models. By sharing the lessons we’ve learned during this journey, we hope to encourage other companies to follow suit and provide them with a roadmap to create change within their organization. We hope to inspire them by showing what’s possible.
How does Interface Lead the Industrial Re-Revolution?
At the core of our effort to lead the industrial re-revolution is one idea: we must identify new ways of doing business that go beyond just avoiding harm and drive positive change for the Earth.
At Interface, we achieved our original mission by transforming our supply chain and products, reducing the impact of our business and operations, and implementing new sustainably minded business models. For example, previous programs like our Net-Works™ initiative, which sourced material for carpet tiles from discarded fishing nets, showed what business can accomplish by applying new thinking to materials sourcing. Ultimately, this innovation became widely available to other companies, and became its own entity, allowing us to create an impact far outside what we could have achieved on our own.
More recently, we innovated ways to work with recycled content and bio-based materials to make carpet tiles that store carbon, preventing its release into the atmosphere. These efforts included enabling our supply chain to develop more sustainable raw materials. We also increased the amount of bio-based materials used in our products to 48%. We did all this while maintaining our use of renewable energy at our manufacturing sites at an industry-leading 75%.
Help Others to Lead the Way
To have real impact and bring the re-revolution to fruition, we cannot do it alone. We must first inspire partners to follow our lead and help them pave the way for others, creating a ripple effect. As we moved closer to achieving Mission Zero, we started mentoring other corporations, like Walmart. In fact, our results convinced the world’s largest retailer that it was possible and profitable to focus on sustainability. We also created ripple effects by giving businesses ways to participate in our journey toward sustainability. By working with suppliers to develop more sustainable raw materials, we enabled others to access those same ingredients. When we worked to develop renewable energy sources, the benefits extended beyond our company to others in the community.
As we continue our Climate Take Back™ mission, we look to create a climate fit for life. One way we’re doing this is by endeavoring to become a carbon negative enterprise by 2040. This goal uses a science-based approach, committing to aggressive greenhouse gas reductions that go beyond zero in a 20-year timeframe.
We’re convinced a fundamental shift – an industrial re-revolution – needs to happen in the global response to climate change. Together, we can do more than merely limit the damage caused by global warming – we can transform industry into a force for the future we want and need.