Eco-Living Magazine

Five Friday Facts: Ray Anderson, Interface, and the Bottom Line

Posted on the 22 September 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev
Five Friday Facts: Ray Anderson, Interface, and the Bottom LineRay Anderson, who passed away last month at 77, had an epiphany when he was 60 that would profoundly transform his thoughts about sustainability. In short order, it would also transform his carpet business, Interface, into one of America’s greenest companies. Here are some facts about how his push for sustainable practices led to a cleaner environment and a fatter bottom line.

This quote from The Economist captures part of the epiphany:

Someone gave him a book, Paul Hawken’s “The Ecology of Commerce” to help him prepare his first speech on the subject. Thumbing vaguely through it, he chanced on a chapter called “The Death of Birth”, about the extinction of species. Reading on, he came to a passage about reindeer being wiped out on St Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. Suddenly, the tears were running down his face. A spear-point had jammed into his heart. It was the very same feeling, he said later, as when he had first seen carpet tiles, but orders of magnitude larger. He was to blame for making the world worse. Now he had to make it better.
  • GHG emissions cut 92% between 1995 and 2007
  • During the same period, water usage was reduced by 75%
  • 74,000 tons of used carpet had been “recovered” (The Economist’s wording) from landfills
  • 25% of the company’s new material came from post-consumer material.
  • $400 million dollars was saved by making no scrap and reducing off-quality (defective) tiles
[Source: The Economist]

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