They Get It – Interface

Interface, a carpet manufacturing firm has made great progress in their quest for zero waste. Bloomberg Business Week reports on the progress made since the founder Ray Anderson announced in 1995 that he was going to eliminate virgin nylon from the carpet manufacturing process and replace it with recyclables AND that he would replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

The article describes the drama of the moment very well. Anderson slammed down his slide carousel and talked about the toxic legacy of the industry and how he was committed and then how his stock fell 50% the next day. That’s enough to make one sit back reflect, “Was that really the right thing to do? What about the families that are cared for by my business?”

Today almost twenty years later the stock is back from $595 million in annual sales to almost a billion in revenue and today it is reported that they reduced their un-recycled nylon almost by half.

This is an example of a firm recognizing the role it plays in the world beyond the stock market, investors and industry. And how a leader can take a big chance and commit to the world and planet in ways that are sustainable and how with a sense of mission build a legacy that continues even after his death.

Well Done Interface

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