In 1994 Interface’s late founder, Ray Anderson, recognised that the way the carpet industry worked was fundamentally unsustainable, as it used up and threw away the earth’s vulnerable natural resources with little regard for the future.
Ray’s observation revolutionised Interface’s business strategy and has shaped the company‘s development ever since. He stated at this point that it was vital for Interface to ‘cut the umbilical cord to oil’. Ray’s ‘Mission Zero’ was born: Interface’s commitment to become the first company to be fully sustainable by the year 2020 – which means having zero negative impact on the environment. Ultimately it is the aim to become a restorative organisation – giving back more that is taken away.
Since 1994, Interface has used radical innovation to continually raise the bar and set standards within the flooring industry: in 1995 Interface launched its Re-Entry programme, taking back used carpet tile; in 2000 the first non-directional tile was introduced drastically cutting installation and replacement waste; in 2011 the first 100% recycled nylon carpet tile was produced; and in 2013 Interface’s inclusive business model, the Net-Works programme was launched. In 2015 the achievements continue to go from strength to strength as Interface launched Microsfera, the most sustainable commercial carpet tile ever produced.
In a climate where sustainability is constantly climbing the agenda within university leadership teams, Interface’s continued innovation in both products and services can assist in improving environmental credentials.