Ray Anderson founded the company that makes covetable Flor carpeting. But behind the fresh design is a decades-deep commitment to sustainable ways of doing business -- culminating in the Mission Zero plan.
Ray Anderson founded Interface, the company that makes those adorable Flor carpet tiles (as well as lots of less whizzy but equally useful flooring and fabric). He was a serious carpet guy, focused on building his company and making great products. Then he read Paul Hawken's book The Ecology of Commerce. Something clicked: with his company's global reach and manufacturing footprint, he was in a position to do something very real, very important, in building a sustainable world.
Anderson focused the company's attention on sustainable decisionmaking, taking a hard look at suppliers, manufacturing processes, and the beginning-to-end life cycle of all its products. (For example: If you can't find a place to recycle a worn or damaged Flor tile, Interface invites you to send it back to them and they'll do it for you.) They call this drive Mission Zero: "our promise to eliminate any negative impact our company may have on the environment by the year 2020."
Anderson, who died in August 2011, estimated that since 2001 he'd given more than 1,000 speeches making the business case for sustainability. He often ended his talks with the poem "Tomorrow's Child," written by an Interface employee, Glenn Thomas.