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Interface: Radical Sustainability - The Road to Mission Zero

Posted by Fiona Cowan | July 05, 2016 | Facilities

Ray Anderson created Interface in the 1970s with the vision of shaking up the carpet tile market and making a healthy profit. However, in 1994, Ray recognised that the way the industry worked was fundamentally unsustainable and could see how much of the Earth’s valuable natural resources the industry used up and threw away, with too little regard for the future.

With this, Ray took the decision to shift the company’s strategy, aiming to redirect its industrial practices to include a focus on sustainability without sacrificing its business goals. This shift included switching from the linear business model the industry was used to and re-thinking waste methods to become more restorative and ultimately move towards a circular way of working.

This led Interface to their Mission Zero pledge. Mission Zero is the goal Interface committed to in 1994; to become the first company to be fully sustainable – with zero negative impact on the environment by the year 2020.

Progress to Zero

Interface has made huge progress on their route to Mission Zero through innovations and take-back schemes to address the level of CO2 its products emit. Microsfera, for example, is a carpet tile with the lowest ever carbon footprint.  Interfaces’ European manufacturing facility in Scherpenzeel, the Netherlands, is now operating with 100% renewable energy (both electricity and gas). It also uses virtually no water in its manufacturing processes and sends zero waste to landfill in Europe.

The way in which Interface develops its products is inspired by its Mission Zero goal and the desire to create a truly restorative loop in carpet tile production. The Net-Works partnership, which was pioneered in 2012 with conservation charity, the Zoological Society London (ZSL) and global yarn manufacturer, Aquafil, works with local communities in the Philippines to clear up oceans and beaches of discarded fishing nets that litter beaches and threaten marine life. Since the project began, the quantity of fishing nets collected has exceeded 80 tonnes up to April 2016.

Interface sees sustainability as an on-going journey and is continuously working towards Mission Zero as well as looking beyond at how the business can make a positive impact. 

To find out more about Interface’s sustainable products and services visit

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