| ||organisation: Interface Flooring Systems, Inc.,|
type of biz: flooring systems
what: Interface, founded in 1973 and headquartered in Atlanta, USA, is the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet. Interface produces in 33 manufacturing sites all over the world and sells products in more than 110 countries. Nearly 4 out of 10 carpet tiles sold worldwide for commercial and institutional use carry the Interface Flooring Systems (IFS) name.
Interface’s fame for sustainability is recognised worldwide and its vision is to become a leader in industrial ecology by first becoming a sustainable corporation and eventually a restorative enterprise. It has developed a model for corporate sustainability, a process begun in 1994 and led by Chairman and CEO Ray Anderson.
products: under the Interface, Heuga, Bentley and Prince Street brands, and through its Bentley Mills and Prince Street trademarks, the company enjoys a leading position in the high quality, designer-oriented segment of the broadloom carpet market. The company provides specialised carpet replacement, installation, maintenance and reclamation services through its Re:Source Americas service network.
no waste product: from design to functionality, Interface’s new Entropy® loop-pile carpet is inspired by nature. Based on biomimicry, Entropy carpet tiles are infinitely adaptable, with the capability to be installed and replaced randomly. Its natural patterning provides near-zero installation waste and makes Entropy easier to repair, adapt and reuse.
harmful emissions-free: Solenium®, Interface’s prototype resilient textile flooring, uses less raw materials than carpet. In addition, all Solenium flooring produced in 1999 and 2000 was certified as the first ‘climate neutral’ product in the world, meaning that, with carbon-offsets, its manufacture had no net effect on the global climate.
the Interface model: communicated to the public through its corporate website, its strategy includes: reduce, reuse, reclaim, recycle and redesign; adopt best business practices and then advance and share them; develop sustainable technologies and invest in them when it makes economic sense; and challenge suppliers to follow this lead.
Interface is conscious of the importance of its marketing strategy and communicates openly with its customers about the known environmental impacts of the company and its products. Customers are openly invited to audit and critique efforts as Interface is aware of the damage green-washing accusations can do to a genuine effort.
In order to become a leader in industrial ecology by first becoming a sustainable corporation and eventually a restorative enterprise, the company has asked some of the world's leading thinkers on sustainability to guide it. The brain trust of advisors is called the Eco Dream Team. Amongst its members are: Paul Hawken, Bill McDonough, Amory Lovins, Daniel Quinn, John Picard, David Brower, Bill Browning, Jonathon Porritt, Hunter Lovins, Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt and Walter Stahel.
interfacing sustainability: the company has developed a quite unique and exemplary code of conduct. Here are some of the main points of the Interface’s policy…
- customers: provide honest information about the known environmental impacts of the company and products.
- employees: create an atmosphere that encourages employees to question status quo and take risks. Create an environment that encourages life-long learning. Engage the creativity of all employees and associates. Educate all employees on the corporate sustainability vision.
- suppliers: share the corporate vision and internal framework for sustainability with suppliers. Involve suppliers in educational opportunities to learn more about sustainability.
- community, environmental organisations and government programs: partner with environmental organisations that work on issues important to the corporate philosophy. Commit a percentage of profits to environmental research. Participate in voluntary government programs with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) such as: Green Lights, Energy Star Buildings and Climate Wise.
- networking: contact other companies with a similar vision, share ideas. Work with local universities to learn about latest environmental technologies and understanding.
- design: redesign products to use less raw materials while delivering the same or greater value. Replace non-renewable materials with more sustainable materials, such as: organic materials, organically grown and sustainable harvested materials, locally produced and abundant materials.
Recycle and reclaim post-consumer or post-industrial waste materials. Use materials consuming lower embodied energy. Eliminate use of hazardous chemicals. Design products to minimise consumption of energy and auxiliary materials in use. Design products to last longer, make products more durable.
Design products to be repaired or selectively replaced when only a portion wears out.
Develop products made out of easily separated components, or out of one material to facilitate recycling.
Consider the entire life cycle of the product, including how it will be recovered and made into another useful product.
- packaging: design out all product packaging, e.g. taco shell. Develop returnable packaging. Deliver products in bulk. Develop reusable packaging for work-in-process materials. Use recycled materials. Design packaging to be more easily recycled. Design packaging to be safe and/or biodegradable if accidentally released into the environment.
- transportation: ship by rail whenever possible. Reduce weight of products to consume less energy in transport. Favour locally produced products. Create transportation consortiums to maximise loading of trucks with other local businesses. Locate facilities to minimise shipping distances to major market centres.